Performing the Verdi Requiem with the Chicago Symphony and Chorus at Orchestra Hall, Muti will also take it on tour with the CSO to Tokyo in early 2019. (Photos by Todd Rosenberg)
Review: Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Riccardo Muti conducting, in Verdi’s Requiem Mass, through Nov. 10.
By Nancy Malitz
When communities seek to bring people together after violent conflict or catastrophe, Verdi’s cathartic Requiem Mass is often given.
The Verdi Requiem was already scheduled for performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus when 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue were gunned down on Oct. 27. And the work had been further rehearsed by music director Riccardo Muti and cued up for Nov. 8-10 concerts when sudden disaster struck Nov. 7 at California’s Borderline Bar & Grill, a lone gunman’s rampage on a college kids’ country music night that left 13 dead and many more injured.
“As a citizen of the world and a father and grandfather,” Muti asked for the audience to acknowledge recent tragedies in a moment of silence.
Muti’s first act at the opening performance was to acknowledge that he and his musicians and singers could not present this mass for the dead “without thinking of the young people and old people who were killed in such a tragic way.” Brahms’ Requiem offers consolation for the living, but Verdi’s purpose is “to ask for peace,” Muti added, expressing his own concern, “as a citizen of the world and a father and grandfather,” that the lack of cultural and spiritual values in today’s world is one of the causes of such upheaval. He then invited the audience to stand for a moment of silence before the onset of Verdi’s own deeply felt – and startlingly direct – appeal for deliverance from the wrath, misery and ruin the Bible foretells.
What followed was heart-stirring performance, resplendent with awe and penitence, delicately threaded with human doubt, by the world’s finest living interpreter of this work. Read the full story »