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Date(s) - Thursday, March 30, 2023
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Lillian S. Wells Hall at The Parker


Verdi’s Requiem is one of the most dramatic, and undoubtedly the most operatic work of its type ever composed. Any performance of the Verdi Requiem is always a monumental occasion. To help you enjoy the concert even more, here’s background info and a listening guide compliments of Brett.

The Verdi Requiem is a monumental work of art that is rarely performed in South Florida and has to be experienced live. I hope you’ll join me and the Master Chorale for this remarkable concert.

March 30, 2023 at 8:00 pm
The Parker
707 NE 8th St (in Holiday Park) | Fort Lauderdale

April 1, 2023 at 8:00 pm & April 2, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Wold Performing Arts Center
Lynn University
3601 N. Military Trail | Boca Raton

Tickets and additional information available HERE.

The Genesis of Verdi’s Requiem
The story of Verdi’s Requiem begins with the death of Gioachino Rossini (famed composer of The Barber of Seville and William Tell). Verdi sent a letter to his publisher proposing that a Requiem be composed by “the most distinguished Italian composers” and performed on the anniversary of Rossini’s death. Dividing the sections of the Requiem between 13 composers, Verdi chose to compose the final movement Libera me (Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal).

Plans for this consortium-composition fell apart, and the ‘Messa per Rossini’ was eventually scrapped. A few years later the Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni died in 1873. Verdi was so affected by his passing that he decided to compose a full Requiem Mass in his honor, using the previously composed Libera me movement. The full work ‘Messa da Requiem per l’anniversario della morte di Manzoni 22 maggio 1874’ premiered on May 22, 1874 — the one-year anniversary of Manzoni’s passing.

The Music
The cellos begin with a hushed, sorrowful groan like someone’s last breath. It’s a sound so quiet, you’re not sure if the performance has started. The violins and violas join the cellos in a whisper as the chorus chants “Requiem aeternam” (Grant them eternal rest). Then, like a beam of light, the soloists and full orchestra enter triumphantly and with operatic grandeur. That’s the beginning of Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.

Although Verdi composed one of the most famous settings of the Catholic Requiem, he wasn’t actually religious. In fact, he was generally anti-clerical and agnostic throughout his life — but that doesn’t mean his Requiem isn’t spiritual. On the contrary, this work deals with the most profound questions of mortality amid a persistent plea for rest and mercy.

Well known for its intensity and massive performing forces, the Requiem opens with a musical atmosphere more similar to Gregorian chant than Verdi’s hallmark operatic style. The second movement, Dies irae (literally, “Day of Wrath”), creates a stark contrast in comparison. This iconic movement opens with four dramatic thunderclaps played by the entire orchestra while soloists and chorus describing the terror and awe of Judgment Day. The following three movements provide relief from this dramatic intensity with a pensive piece written for solo quartet (Offertorio), a bright and playful double fugue for chorus (Sanctus), and the most intimate and lyrical Agnus Dei ever composed.

The last 15 minutes of the Requiem encompass the most dramatic music, including a full reprise of the inescapable Dies irae, as well as a restatement of the opening Requiem aeternam, now scored for a cappella choir and soprano soloist. The entire work culminates in an extraordinary fugue with chorus, orchestra, and soprano soloist desperately pleading for salvation.