In the wake of Aida, at the pinnacle of his glory, Verdi was deeply affected by the death of the poet A. Manzoni in 1873. A hero of the Italian unification, the Messa da Requiem (Requiem Mass) is dedicated to him. Verdi proposed it to the city of Milan and it was performed for the first time in the San Marco church for the anniversary of Manzoni’s death. It is a monumental piece of music that met with much enthusiasm and immediately joined the ranks of absolute masterpieces.
Verdi was criticised for having written an “opera in a clergyman’s robes”! But whilst a Requiem may well be sacred text – it is the sole libretto that Verdi did not go on to modify – it is also a reflection on death… like his operas! It is hardly surprising that certain scenes can be fearsome (Dies Irae), others may be contemplative (Requiem aeternam), whilst some express sadness tinted with hope (Lacrymosa) or implore (Libera me)! Verdi’s religious style is not different from that of opera, but is no less sincere. It bears witness to the existential questions of a man who speaks from the heart. The text of Requiem offers all the possibilities of expression and allows this agnostic to convey his vision of human destiny.
Under the baton of their official chief conductor, Speranza Scappucci, the Choir – reinforced by the IMEP Choir – and the Orchestra of our house will join forces with high-flying soloists to make this concert an exceptional moment.