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Verdi's Massa di Requiem - October 24, 2013, 8 pm - San Francisco War Memorial Opera House



I admit it!  I was a virgin.  This was my first exposure to Verdi's Messa da Requiem and what better than the co-production of San Francisco Opera and Teatro di San Carlo. Both provided choruses and orchestra and the entire opera stage was filled with over 325 individuals.

The mayor of San Francisco and the mayor of Naples both addressed the audience.  The performance was part of the Worldwide Verdi Bicentennial Celebration in recognition of 2013: The Year of Italian Culture in the United States.  The conductor, Luisotti, is music director of San Francisco Opera and the Teatro di San Carlo.

Leah Crocetto, Soprano; Margaret Mezzacappa, Mezzo-Soprano; Michael Fabiano, Tenor and  Vitaliz Kowaljow, Bass were outstanding. I previously heard Fabiano in Lucrezia  Borgia in San Francisco. The power of the huge chorus and the orchestra were amazing.  This was a single night performance and I'm really pleased I got to see this production.  The audience was pretty much blown away and gave a prolonged standing ovation.

The mass had its start, according to the program notes, as part of a tribute to Rossini.  It was suggested that the home city of Rossini, Bologna sponsor a mass composed by the nation’s 13 greatest composers on the one year anniversary of his death.  Verdi wrote the last section, Libera me.  However, the Bologna opera refused to conduct it since they would not be paid for the performance.  

Another idol of Verdi, Alessandro Manzoni died in 1873, and the Massa di Requieum came from his sorrow of the death of Manzoni.  The first composition was conducted in Milan in 1874.  In 1875, Verdi revised the composition and the final version was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1875. 

Image of Nicola Luisotti from the San Francisco Opera web site.

© Fred Searcy 2017