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Verdi Messa da
requiem
2 November 2023 Choral concert
Conductor Kazuki Yamada
Choirmaster Stefano Visconti

Verdi Messa da requiem

Choral concert
Thursday 02 November 2023 - 20 h
Grimaldi Forum
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Music by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Composed for the anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni
Creation : San Marco church, Milan, 22 may 1874

In 1868 Verdi agreed to collaborate on a requiem in honour of Gioachino Rossini and composed the concluding movement, the Libera me. Although this mass was never performed, it inspired him to write an entire requiem of his own. The death of the highly admired poet Alessandro Manzoni, a fervent advocate, like Verdi, of the unification of Italy, provided the opportunity for Verdi to attempt this plan. To celebrate the death of such a great man demanded an exceptional piece. Verdi set to work and just one year after Manzoni’s death he conducted his Requiem in the church of San Marco in Milan. It was hugely successful. However, when the German conductor von Bülow heard it, he compared this magnificent work to “an opera in ecclesiastic robes”. This strong visual image reflects the rejection by some believers with a certain view of Christianism, which was prevalent at the time.. Their opinion was not shared by others, however, who saw in this requiem the passionate homage of a genius to the Creator. 

Like Don Carlo or Aida, Verdi's Requiem, a colossal, powerful work, demands exceptional performers. The Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo join forces to take up this challenge for a memorable performance.

Artists
Conductor | Kazuki Yamada
Choirmaster | Stefano Visconti
Soprano | Marina Rebeka
Mezzosoprano | Ekaterina Semenchuk
Tenor | Michael Spyres
Bass-baritone | Erwin Schrott
MONTE CARLO OPERA CHOIR

MONTE CARLO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Artists' biographies
Artistic teams

Conductor
kazuki yamada

Choirmaster
stefano visconti

soloists

Soprano
Marina rebeka

Mezzosoprano
ekaterina semenchuk

Tenor
michael spyres

Bass-baritone
erwin schrott

CHŒUR DE L’OPÉRA DE MONTE-CARLO

Sopranos I
Galia BAKALOV
Antonella CESARIO
Chiara IAIA
MARIKO IIZUKA*
Giovanna MINNITI
MARNIE MIGLIORE*
Felicity MURPHY
BIAGIA PUCCIO*
ERICA RONDINI*
ILENIA TOSATTO*
Paola VIARA-VALLE
YUE WU*

Sopranos II
DAMIANA AVOGADRO*
Rossella ANTONACCI
ELISABETTA DAMBRUOSO*
Valérie MARRET
Letizia PIANIGIANI
Laura Maria ROMO CONTRERAS
VITTORIA GIACOBAZZI
VITTORIA VITALI*

Mezzo-sopranos
FRANCESCA BARGELLINI*
CECILIA BERNINI*
Teresa BRAMWELL-DAVIES
TINA CHIKVINIDZE*
FRANCESCA COPERTINO*
MATILDE LAZZARONI*
Géraldine MELAC
Suma MELLANO
Federica SPATOLA

VIKTORIIA TKACHUK*

Altos
ORNELLA CORVI
Maria-Elisabetta DE GIORGI
CHIARA LA PORTA*
CARLA MATTIOLI*
TANIA PACILIO*
Catia PIZZI
JANETA SAPOUNDJIEVA*
Paola SCALTRITI
LEONORA SOFIA*
Rosa TORTORA
 

Ténors I
Walter BARBARIA
Lorenzo CALTAGIRONE
Domenico CAPPUCCIO
ANDREA CIVETTA*
Vincenzo DI NOCERA
Thierry DIMEO
Nicolo LA FARCIOLA
MANFREDO MENEGHETTI*
JAIME ANDRES CANTO NAVARRO*
mICHELE PINTO*
DAVIDE URBANI*

Ténors II
HALIL UFUK ASLAN*
ARTURO ALBERTO CAPRARO*
Gianni COSSU
Pasquale FERRARO
BENOIT GUNALONS*
Fabio MARZI
EDER SANDOVAL GUEVARA*
Adolfo SCOTTO DI LUZIO
Salvatore TAIELLO

Barytons
JEAN-FRANCOIS BARON*
GABRIELE BARRIA*
Fabio BONAVITA
HYUNMO CHO*
Vincenzo CRISTOFOLI
Daniele DEL BUE
ROSARIO GRAUSO*
DEVIS LONGO*
KYLE PATRICK SULLIVAN*
Luca VIANELLO

Basses
Andrea ALBERTOLLI
STEFANO ARNAUDO*
Przemyslaw BARANEK
HUGUES GEORGES*
Paolo MARCHINI
MAX MEDERO*
FILIPPO QUARTI*
Edgardo RINALDI
Matthew THISTLETON
GIUSEPPE ZEMA*

*choristes supplémentaires pour ce concert

ORCHESTRE PHILHARMONIQUE DE MONTE-CARLO

Artistic and musical director
KAZUKI YAMADA

Violins I
David Lefèvre
Liza Kerob
Sibylle Duchesne
Ilyoung Chae
Diana Mykhalevych
Gabriel Milito
Sorin Turc
Mitchell Huang
Thierry Bautz
Zhang Zhang
Isabelle Josso
Morgan Bodinaud
Milena Legourska
Jae-Eun Lee
Adela Urcan
NN

Violins II
Peter Szüts
Nicolas Delclaud
Camille Ameriguian-Musco
Frédéric Gheorghiu
Nicolas Slusznis
Alexandre Guerchovitch
Gian Battista Ermacora
Laetitia Abraham
Katalin Szüts-Lukacs
Eric Thoreux
Raluca Hood-Marinescu
Andriy Ostapchuk
Sofija Radic
Hubert Touzery

Altos
François Méreaux
Federico Andres Hood
François Duchesne
Charles Lockie
Richard Chauvel
Mireille Wojciechowski
Sofia Timofeeva
Tristan Dely
Raphaël Chazal
Ying Xiong
Thomas Bouzy
Ruggero Mastrolorenzi

Cellos
Thierry Amadi
Delphine Perrone
Alexandre Fougeroux
Florence Riquet
Bruno Posadas
Thomas Ducloy
Patrick Bautz
Florence Leblond
Thibault Leroy
Caroline Roeland

Double basses
Matthias Bensmana
Tarik Bahous
Mariana Vouytcheva
Jenny Boulanger
Sylvain Rastoul
Eric Chapelle
Dorian Marcel
NN

Flutes
ANNE MAUGUE 
RAPHAËLLE TRUCHOT BARRAYA
DELPHINE HUEBER

Piccolo
MALCY GOUGET

Oboe
MATTHIEU BLOCH
MATTHIEU PETITJEAN 
MARTIN LEFÈVRE

English horn
Mathilde Rampelberg

Clarinets
MARIE-B. BARRIÈRE-BILOTE 
nn

E-flat clarinet
DIANA SAMPAIO

Bass clarinet
Véronique Audard

Bassoons
FRANCK LAVOGEZ 
ARTHUR MENRATH 
MICHEL MUGOT

Contreabassoon 
FRÉDÉRIC CHASLINE

Horns
PATRICK PEIGNIER 
ANDREA CESARI 
DIDIER FAVRE 
BERTRAND RAQUET 
LAURENT BETH 
DAVID PAUVERT

Trumpets 
MATTHIAS PERSSON 
GÉRALD ROLLAND 
SAMUEL TUPIN 
RÉMY LABARTHE

Trombones
JEAN-YVES MONIER 
GILLES GONNEAU 
LUDOVIC MILHIET

Tuba
FLORIAN WIELGOSIK

Timpani & Percussions 
Julien Bourgeois
Mathieu Draux
Antoine Lardeau
Noé Ferro

Harp
SOPHIA STECKELER

A few words with Didier de Cottignies

Artistic manager of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo

Could you tell us about the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and its collaboration with the Opera? 

The OPMC was created in 1856 under the reign of Charles III. Over the years, it became the cen-trepiece of the Principality’s musical life, performing not only in symphony concerts but also in opera and ballet productions. The orchestra very quickly attained a leading position in the European musical scene because its regular engagements in all repertoires equipped it with an undeniably superior faculty to listen to one another carefully, and a great capacity to play flexibly. The collaboration between the Orchestra and the Opera is an essential component of the Principality’s artistic activities. Personally, I think that harmony between our two entities is indispensable and that any differences in opinion must remain purely practical, because what counts most is always the artistic result.

 

Verdi’s Requiem is not universally regarded as a sacred work, but rather as a concert piece. Does this make it a regular part of the repertoire of a symphony orchestra? 


We are particularly pleased to be involved in a new production by the Opera of Verdi’s Requiem, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Verdi’s Requiem, like those of Mozart, Berlioz, Brahms, Fauré and many others, is a work of sacred music that is part of the usual repertoire of symphony orchestras, which can be performed in a sacred place, but more often in concert halls, and sometimes in certain opera theatres that offer symphony concerts as part of their seasons, like La Scala. Thus, it is quite legitimate that for such an event in Monaco, we should unite all our orchestral, choral and solo forces to present this piece to the Monegasque public. 


In your opinion, what are the qualities of this work? 

For me, this Requiem is one of the most spectacular pieces in the history of music. It is also a work with many facets. Some conductors have approached it in an extremely theatrical way, seeing it as directly connected with the principal œuvre of one of the greatest opera composers of all times. Others have interpreted it in a deeply mystical and religious way. Each of these visions is entirely consistent.

From the Messa per Rossini to the Messa da requiem

Deeply affected by the death of Gioachino Rossini on 13 November 1868, Verdi proposed to his editor, Tito Ricordi, that a requiem be composed in honour of the composer of The Barber of Seville. The requiem would be written by ten leading Italian composers and performed in Bologna on the first anniversary of his death. Verdi reserved for himself the final movement, the Libera me. The Messa per Rossini was duly composed, but for various reasons its performance was abandoned. It would live on, however, when Verdi included his abandoned Libera me in his Messa da Requiem.

In fact, as soon as the project for a Messa per Rossini was abandoned Verdi decided to compose an entire requiem and in April 1873, with this aim in mind, he retrieved the manuscript of Libera me. The death on 22 May 1873 of the author Alessandro Manzoni was the decisive impulse. Verdi was too upset to attend the funeral, but the very next day he wrote to Ricordi: “I shall visit his grave soon, alone and without being seen, and perhaps (after deeper reflexion and weighing my forces) propose something to honour his memory.” On 2nd June he fulfilled his promise and visited the Monumental Cemetery in Milan. The next day, through Ricordi, he proposed to the mayor of the Lombardy capital to perform a requiem at the official ceremonies in commemoration of the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death. The idea was approved.

Although Verdi completed the score in time, organizing the concert posed many technical, political and liturgical problems. On 22 May 1874 Verdi conducted the premiere himself at the church of San Marco in Milan. The Requiem was repeated three times at La Scala, followed by performances in Paris, New York, London and Vienna. For the English premiere, on 15 May 1875, Verdi presented a new version of the “Liber scriptus” (Sequence): instead of a fugue for choir and orchestra, the London public discovered the solo for mezzo-soprano which we know today.

 

The score

Although Verdi did not use the exact same version of the Libera me he wrote for Rossini, he retained its essence. Moreover, thanks to the textual repetitions, the music of this movement provides the core of the music of the other two pieces: the Introit (the “Requiem” section) and the Sequence (the “Dies irae” section). In the “Lacrymosa”, also taken from the Sequence, Verdi reprised the music of a beautiful duet from the fourth act of Don Carlos (1867), which he had been forced to cut to comply with the timeline requirements of the Opéra de Paris public: here Philippe II mourned with his son the death of the Marquis of Posa, murdered by the Inquisition (“Who will bring him home…”).

The work begins in profound contemplation and ends on the terrified murmur of the soprano solo, poised over the abyss, on the brink of annihilation. Meanwhile, the score has journeyed through the most contrasting emotions, from an almost sensual lyricism, from the humble plea to the staggering violence of the “Dies irae”, a terrifying portrait of the Last Judgement.

Is this Requiem theatrical or religious? Verdi was not bothered by such a question; his attitude toward religion was ambiguous, based on respect, conservatism and incredulity. “Death is oblivion. Heaven is an old fable”, cries Iago at the end of his Credo in Otello. Unconvinced of the existence of an afterlife, Verdi wrote his Requiem for the living, not for the dead or for God. And the work is not theatrical, it is just profoundly human.

 

Claire Delamarche, translated by Mary McCabe