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Bringing an oratorio to the opera or ballet stage is a daunting task, calling for an assured vision and a deep musical understanding—but it can be done, as the widely lauded productions of Bach’s Passions by Peter Sellars and Simon Rattle demonstrated not long ago. Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, the most “operatic” of masses and perhaps the composer’s crowning achievement, leapt to the stage for the first time in this extraordinary setting out of Zurich, meeting with universal acclaim from audiences and critics—with Bachtrack describing it as “a true pioneer, one highly deserving of the thunderous applause and standing ovation it received.”
The soul-stirring spectacle, masterfully choreographed by Christian Spuck, brings together the Philharmonia Zurich under Fabio Luisi, the Zurich Ballet and Opera Chorus, and four jaw-dropping soloists (Krassimira Stoyanova, Veronica Simeoni, Francesco Meli, and Georg Zeppenfeld) who play, sing, and dance new life into Verdi’s masterpiece. Maestro Luisi is, as ever, keenly attuned to the precise dynamic shifts that help imbue Verdi’s masterpiece with its indelible power; and the soloists’ astonishing voices beautifully meld with those of the choir while the world-class dancers give shape to Spuck’s exquisite choreography.