Inauguration Sunday 8 January
The Messa da Requiem, a masterpiece by Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by Andrea Battistoni, will inaugurate the concert season of the Teatro Regio in Turin on Sunday 8 January next, with the participation of the Choir, a fundamental element of the score, instructed by Andrea Secchi. The solo parts will be entrusted to a prestigious cast, composed of Angela Meade as soprano, Silvia Beltrami as mezzo-soprano, Enea Scala as tenor and Gianluca Buratto as bass.
The Requiem was performed for the first time on 22 May 1874 in the Basilica of San Marco in Milan, where Verdi himself conducted. Composed by the great opera composer to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni, the Requiem immediately emerged as a universal message of peace and consolation addressed to humanity. It was an immediate success with audiences and critics. The score began to travel to Rome, Venice, Paris, London and has remained in the repertoire ever since.
More than sacred music one could speak of spiritual music, created by a man for other men, in an attempt to offer a little comfort, certainly not a definitive answer to the mystery of life as that of death.
In the Requiem we hear the cry of pain in the “Dies Irae”, repentance and remorse in the Ingeminisco, compassion in the “Lacrymosa” and, finally, peace, the true dimension of man, in the “Libera me”.
The Requiem is a score of extreme compositional finesse; Verdi hadn’t composed for two years, after the peaks he reached with the works of Don Carlo and Aida. With the Requiem he would have opened the last phase of his creative genius, which would have given very innovative fruits, such as to mark the history of music forever.
The concert season of the Teatro Regio will continue on Friday 27 January at 20.30 with the Concerto della Memoria, in which the Orchestra of the Teatro Regio will be directed by Riccardo Frizza, regular guest of the most illustrious European theatres, with a rich program that invites reflection, including Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s The Hebrides, Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 9 by Shostakovich.
With his Requiem Verdi has addressed not only the theme of music, but also that of spirituality, the search for faith, the fear of death or, better, what awaits us next and, above all, the terror that in this “after” there is nothing but nothingness.
The years of composition are the most turbulent of Verdi’s life and correspond to the period in which he distanced himself from the faith but, at the same time, numerous bereavements led him to reflect more deeply on death and the transcendent. Verdi’s most important sacred work is the response to two opposing impulses, on the one hand a growing search for spirituality, on the other his equally growing skepticism on the problem of faith, in years in which the composer would have touched atheism, as confirmed by the words of his wife Giuseppina Strepponi.
The Mass for the dead thus became the highest message of a lay position, very common in 19th century Europe, of the man who perceives his weakness before the mystery of death. The man without transcendent certainties, before the philosophies of life and the existentialisms of Nietzsche and Heidegger manifest themselves. With Verdi the image of man is asserted with courage