Friday, October 11, 2013

Verdi's Requiem with The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

On Verdi's birthday, we had a very nice treat: a video stream, captured live from Chicago's Symphony Hall, of a thrilling performance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, led by conductor Riccardo Muti in a performance of Verdi's incredible Requiem, featuring soprano Tatiana Serjan, mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona, tenor Mario Zeffiri and bass Ildar Abdrazakov.

A mammoth piece of music, this Requiem was written in the aftermath of the death of one of the composer's closest friends, the poet, novelist and Italian cultural icon Alessandro Manzoni. But along with memorializing Manzoni, Verdi achieved an amazing feat. As conductor Marin Alsop tells it, Verdi created a work with "the drama of opera and the thrill of wonderful symphonic writing combined with stellar, virtuosic solo moments" (not to mention the tremendous choral writing, spectacular trumpet fanfares and whomping bass drum he wove in for good measure).

The passion and dramatic verve that Muti masterfully elicited in this performance is simply magnificent. The chorus and orchestra, with its famous Chicago brass sound, summoned both massive power and a heavenly stillness as the score called for. The soloists — particularly Abdrazakov and Serjan — delivered intense and deeply felt performances. Big occasions don't necessarily equal extraordinary performances, but this performance of Verdi's Requiem is one for the ages.

Please note that this is now available on YouTube.  Disregard the clock
ticking at the beginning....disappears after a couple of minutes.

CSO Verdi Requiem - October 10, 2013

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