La Jolla, Calif. (February 23, 2017) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents the concert event of the season. Music Director Steven Schick conducts orchestra and chorus, four operatic soloists, and two guest choruses in Giuseppe Verdi’s magnificent Requiem. There will be three performances of this concert: March 17-19.
Verdi composed his Requiem Mass in 1874, when he was in his sixties and thought that he had retired. The work came about as a result of the death of two quite different men. The first was composer Gioachino Rossini who died in November 1868. Verdi suggested that several Italian composers collaborate on a Requiem in Rossini’s memory. Verdi began the effort by submitting the concluding movement, Libera me. The project, however, collapsed due to bickering among the participants and sponsors, and the disillusioned Verdi put his manuscript on the shelf.
In May 1873, the celebrated Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni died. Verdi had admired him all of his adult life and, upon hearing of his death, resolved to complete a requiem—this time entirely of his own writing—for Manzoni. Verdi completed the work in Paris over the next several months and conducted its triumphant premiere in Milan, one year to the day, after Manzoni’s death.
There had never been a setting of the requiem mass like it. Verdi used the musical language that had made his operas so effective: gripping and memorable melodies, solo and ensemble writing, a large chorus often employed in dramatic ways, and a virtuoso orchestra. Today, it is regarded as perhaps the greatest of all settings of this solemn text.
LJS∓C is joined for the performances by the San Diego Master Chorale, San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus Chamber Chorale, and four vocal soloists. Irish-American soprano Ariana Strahl most recently made her American debut as Blanche Dubois in Andre Previn’s “Streetcar Named Desire” with Opera San Jose, and has been celebrated as a singer with “fearless, accurate vocalism” (Opera Now). Mezzo-soprano Victoria Vargas has performed over fifteen roles for the Minnesota Opera, as well as performances with Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Chautauqua Opera, Sarasota Opera, and more. Tenor Robert Breault enjoys an international career that features an extraordinary breadth of repertoire. His warm, flexible voice and superb artistic sensibilities combine to make him a consummate singing actor. Bass-baritone Colin Ramsey’s voice has been described as “a foundation you could build a castle on.” (Seattle Times) His body of work includes performances with Seattle Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Wolf Trap Opera Company.
The performances take place March 17, 18, 19, 2017 in Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Individual tickets are $39 general, $37 senior, and $18 student. Group discounts are available. A parking fee is required on Friday. Saturday and Sunday parking is free. A pre-concert lecture by Steven Schick is offered one hour prior to concert times. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the LJS&C office at (858) 534-4637.
The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, San Diego’s oldest and largest community orchestra and chorus, is a non-profit musical performing group dedicated to inspiring San Diego with the joy of music. Its 90-person orchestra and 100-person chorus perform groundbreaking orchestral and choral music along with traditional favorites from the classical repertoire. During the 62nd season, maestro Steven Schick shares the podium with David Chase, LJS&C choral director, in his final season, and guest conductor Michael Gerdes, performing works by Barber, Berlioz, Schoenberg, Nielsen, Verdi, Beethoven, Berio, Stravinsky, and more.