On 22 May 1874, the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni—celebrated author of the novel I Promessi Sposi (‘The Betrothed’)—the premiere of Verdi’s Requiem took place in the church of San Marco in Milan. What happens when an opera composer sets out to write the most moving form of religious music? The result is irresistible! This “opera in clerical dress,” as the composer Hans von Bülow somewhat sarcastically defined it, won over the public of La Scala, the Opéra-Comique, then of London and Vienna, and of Cologne and Munich within a year! Indeed, Verdi used operatic techniques move the public: from the pianissimo of the Introït to the power of the Dies irae, from the anixety of the Tuba mirum to the happiness of the luminous Sanctus, from vocal quartets to the solo of the Kyrie! Success is guaranteed, and as the musicologist David Rosen reminds us: "[Verdi's Requiem] is probably the most performed work for choir since the creation of Mozart's Requiem.”
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medici.tv is the best online platform for streaming Verdi’s Requiem live, on replay or VOD, offering you a virtual ticket to the most exciting concerts with the world’s best artists and orchestras captured in HD video. Verdi began writing his Requiem in memory of Gioacchino Rossini, the celebrated Italian composer. It was adapted and premiered for the centenary of Alessandro Manzoni, Senator of the Kingdom of Italy and author of the novel The Betrothed. Showcasing an operatic approach that is characteristic of his writing, Verdi defies the boundaries of musical genres with his Requiem: this work has been defined as “a kind of religious opera!”
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"Ei fu. Siccome immobile" ("He is no more. As reft of breath"). This is the first line of a poem by Alessandro Manzoni written in memory of Napoleon. On the centenary of his dath, Manzoni was celebrated with the creation of Verdi’s Requiem. His memory is brought to lyrical life alongside typical values of Italian unification, the Risorgimento: justice and freedom! In fact, Verdi’s Requiem, with its atypical structure, is conceived as a celebration of a Romantic vision of death rather than a mass for a soul at peace. It is perhaps the operatic spirit of this work that made it so successful that it “is probably the most performed choral work since the premiere of Mozart’s Requiem” (David Rosen). However, it is also in part due to its surprisingly avant-garde nature. Indeed, at a time when female singers were not allowed to take part in church concerts, Verdi wrote: “If I were in the Holy Father’s grace, I would beg him—even just once—to allow women to have their place in this music.” At medici.tv, you can enjoy this privilege: relive some of the best performances of Verdi’s Requiem, whenever and wherever you want!