Messa da Requiem (1874)
Introduction 50 minutes before the start of the concert in the concert hall
For centuries it was a matter of course for composers that some—if not the better part—of their own creativity would serve religious purposes. The requiem by opera specialist Giuseppe Verdi, however, would go beyond the scope of any liturgical setting: in terms of length, number of singers, and, not least, emotionally.
The thundering trumpets of the Day of Judgment, unsettling visions of death, abrupt changes of atmosphere and a choir that calls out in desperation, that whispers and implores—in the text of the Catholic requiem, Verdi finds the perfect springboard for his speciality: forming the abysses of human existence as a happening in sound suitable for the stage. It’s no wonder that some call the Messa da Requiem Verdi’s best opera.
Despite all the darkness near death, the final request for salvation seems to lead into the internal light, into redemption, also musically.