The Southeast Missouri Symphony, University Choir and Choral Union, in collaboration with the Southern Illinois Symphony and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIU-C) University Choir, will perform Verdi’s majestic “Requiem” April 23 at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.
Heralded as one of the great choral and orchestral masterpieces, “Requiem” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall with more than 200 musicians on stage for this performance.
Vocal soloists will include American opera singer and Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer, along with the esteemed Debra Hillabrand (mezzo-soprano), the rising star Scott Ramsay (tenor), and David Dillard (baritone, and professor of voice at SIU-C). Edward Benyas, professor and conductor with SUI-C, will conduct the performance of the “Requiem.”
The concert is part of a proud tradition between Southeast and SIU-C to present special masterpieces and unique experiences at the River Campus.
“This concert will definitely be one of the highlights of the season,” said Dr. Sara Edgerton, conductor of the Southeast Missouri Symphony. “This work will definitely thrill the audience with its huge range of emotion and energy. This will certainly will be the first time that this amazing masterpiece has been performed live in Cape Girardeau.”
Giuseppe Verdi was the most important and beloved composer of Italian opera in the 19th century. His many famous operas, such as “La Traviata,” “Rigoletto” and “Aida,” continue to dominate in opera today. “La Traviata,” for instance, was the most frequently performed opera throughout the world in the 2017-2018 season.
In 1873, the important Italian poet Alessandro Manzoni died, and Verdi was inspired to write the “Requiem” in honor of this great Italian literary figure and friend. “Requiem” premiered in 1874 with a large chorus and orchestra, and was an immediate success. It has remained one of the most popular and moving choral and orchestral works of all time.
Verdi’s “Requiem” is scored for a large choir and orchestra, with four vocal soloists. It is a setting of the traditional “Requiem” text which was used for funeral services. Verdi’s music is very dramatic and evocative, from the opening phrases (“Grant them eternal rest…”), to the massive scoring and energy of the famous “Dies Irae” movement, to the final, quiet “Libera me” (“Deliver me…”).
Along with such works as Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and Handel’s “Messiah,” Verdi’s “Requiem” has captured the imagination of concert goers throughout its history, and it remains one of the most important and beloved of all choral and symphonic works.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or online at RiverCampus.org.