Free Concerts, Outdoor Concerts

Grand Opening Concert: Verdi’s Great Requiem

Verdi’s Great Requiem

Grand Opening Concert:
Presented at the Esplanade at the Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Under the direction of Kent Nagano, a massed chorus and orchestra joined by four soloists including Leslie Ann Bradley and Mario Bahg will launch the eighth edition of the Classical Spree with a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. A great master of the opera, Verdi gave this work a truly theatrical dimension: profound vocal lyricism, powerful choral and orchestral forces and the famous Dies Irae with its striking effect. Join the OSM and more than 300 choristers at the Olympic Park to experience this special, highly charged and powerfully emotional moment.


Kent Nagano, conductor

Andrew Megill, chorus master

With soprano Leslie Ann Bradley and tenor Mario Bahg, among others

The OSM Chorus

Canadian soprano Leslie Ann Bradley “brings the stage to life whenever she sets foot into the spotlight”

The Toronto Star



WEDNESDAY, August 7 2019

8 P.M.


Join maestro Kent Nagano, four soloists, and a massed chorus and orchestra in order to launch the 8th edition of the Classical Spree with a performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Esplanade of the Olympic Park. Come live this special, highly charged and powerfully emotional moment!

Deadline for registration: July 1st, 2019


Verdi’s Great Requiem

“With Him ends the purest, the most holy, the highest of our glories.” Verdi penned these words shortly after the death of novelist, dramatist, and poet Alessandro Manzoni, whose writing helped establish Italian Romanticism and, for many, embodied the ideals of Italian nationhood. Verdi was agnostic but firmly patriotic, and thus he composed the Requiem for the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death in 1874. The Milan premiere featured 120 choristers and four soloists, employed in unique and operatic fashion: sometimes narrators and sometimes individual supplicants, they sing alone, with chorus, and in duets, trios, and quartets.

To the core texts of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead, Verdi added the final Libera me—revised from an earlier, failed attempt to assemble a Requiem for Rossini—in addition to expanding the unforgettable Dies irae. This section of the mass goes to terrifying extremes of emotion, beginning with blaring orchestral hammer-blows and stormy, whirling strings, and perpetually returning to the whispered refrain “Dies irae.” Especially memorable are the trumpets stationed apart from the orchestra, calling to those onstage as if with an otherworldly summons. The tearful Lacrymosa comes from a duet originally intended for Don Carlos; indeed, in the words of opera specialist Julian Budden, Verdi poured into this work “all the purely musical resources that he had developed in the course of twenty-six operas.”

© Ariadne Lih


Kent Nagano