Sunday, 20th November, 2016 at 7:30pm, Artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, North Finchley, London N12 0GA

Introduction from Murray Hipkin, Musical Director.

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I am delighted to invite you to our next concert on Sunday 20 November 2016 at Artsdepot in North Finchley.

Verdi’s Requiem is thought to be the most frequently performed choral work of all time (with the possible exception of Mozart’s Requiem), yet it is interesting to consider how close the piece came to never being written! Verdi first proposed it as a memorial to Rossini, who died in 1868, with one movement contributed by each of a number of leading Italian composers of the time. Unfortunately, most of the music failed to satisfy the organising committee and the performance never took place. Verdi was left with his Libera me and it wasn’t until 1874 on the death of the Italian writer Manzoni that he revised it and completed the remaining movements of what would prove to be one of his greatest masterpieces. The Messa per Rossini remained buried in the archives of the music publisher Ricordi in Milan and was not exhumed and performed until 1988.

Best known for his operas, Verdi clearly saw no reason to change his style just because he was writing a sacred piece. In ninety minutes he takes us from the whispered prayers for the dead, via a truly terrifying depiction of the day of judgement to a triumphant hymn of praise in what is surely the most theatrical setting of the Latin Requiem Mass ever composed. Variously described as too Catholic (early London performances were not particularly well supported) and not Catholic enough (because of the use of female voices) the Requiem fluctuated in popularity during the early years, but by about 1930 it had become an irreplaceable component of the amateur choral singer’s staple diet.

Primarily because of its huge scale, NLC have never before attempted it but although we have become used to seeing it performed by choirs of 300, Verdi only had 120 voices for the Milan premiere, so we won’t be far behind. In the Artsdepot we have found a hall with a large enough stage but with a real feeling of intimacy, and I hope that you will be prepared to forego the familiar surroundings of Muswell Hill and join us at this exciting local venue.

We are joined by an outstanding line-up of opera singers, all of whom have appeared with us before. Soprano Sally Silver, whom many will remember, particularly for her contribution to our 2006 Matthew King commission The Season of Singing, is partnered by mezzo-soprano Yvonne Howard who sang a number of concerts with us when I first came to NLC and who has enjoyed a starry career with the ROH, Opera North (most recently in the Ring Cycle), ENO and Holland Park as well as many international appearances. Two other singers who have made a big impression with our audiences more recently are tenor Christopher Turner (Elijah 2016) and Edward Grint (Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea 2015) and I am delighted to welcome them back. The choir will once again be accompanied by the Meridian Sinfonia.

This is sure to be a very popular event so please book early to secure your tickets which are now on sale - the link for on-line tickets can be found here. Please note tickets will not be available via the Artsdepot's box office.

Premium Tickets

For the first time we are offering a very limited number of Premium tickets. These are literally the best seats in the house (front row of the circle) and the price includes a programme, an exclusive drinks reception after the concert (there is no interval) and an opportunity to meet some of the soloists and myself. Choosing a Premium ticket will also mean that you are choosing to help us even more with the huge costs of putting on this concert, and for that we thank you in advance.

With best wishes,

Murray Hipkin

Musical Director - North London Chorus