Monday, May 10, 2010

Grand Rapids Symphony - 5/8/10

The closing concert of the season presented us with one title: Verdi’s Requiem. When I hear “Verdi,” I think opera (e.g., Aida, Rigoletto) (and the soprano soloist in particular was quite dramatic). But this was an impressive non-opera production. Orchestra, two choirs, and four soloists performed this glorious version of the Latin mass. The chorus was a combination of the Grand Rapid Symphony Chorus and the Calvin Capella Choir, and the soloists and choirs were in fine voice.

The program notes described each part of this Requiem beautifully. Roman Catholics would be familiar with the text; all others should have been impressed by the powerful music. The soloists frequently sang with each other in duets or trios, and their harmonies, along with the backing orchestra and chorus, put one in awe of the composition.

The program stated there would be no intermission; the 8 ½ x 11 libretto handout indicated there would be a 15-minute intermission, and there was, after the dramatic “Dies Irae.” Before resuming, David Lockington did his end-of-year acknowledgments for symphony members celebrating anniversaries: 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years.
Following along with the libretto was helpful at times but at other times detracted from being fully immersed in the music (it was also a bit noisy as people fiddled with the paper). The conclusion was compelling, with the soprano and the chorus begging God for deliverance on Judgment Day.
The four seats behind us were vacant so no Ritz cracker eaters tonight, and the sleepers to our left were also absent - nice. Looking forward to next season...

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