Leading Soloists to Join LA Master Chorale for Verdi's REQUIEM, 1/30-31
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, presents two performances of Verdi's towering Requiem, a work National Public Radio calls a "thrilling opera in disguise," with acclaimed guest soloists Amber Wagner, soprano, Michelle DeYoung, mezzo soprano, Issachah Savage, tenor, and Morris Robinson, bass, on Saturday, January 30, 2 pm, and Sunday, January 31, 2016, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. A stunningly theatrical staple of the choral repertoire, Verdi's work is a tumultuous, tortured, terrifying spectacle that has thrilled audiences since its debut in 1874.
Written in memory of Verdi's close friend, author and cultural icon Alessandro Manzoni, the Requiem combines virtuosic and deeply personal vocal solos, transcendent chorus parts and exhilarating symphonic writing, covering every operatic emotional range conceivable, from brittle tenderness and profound terror to bleak uncertainty. The great composer Johannes Brahms called the Verdi Requiem "a work of genius," a sentiment that continues to hold true.
Gershon, who considers the Verdi Requiem to be one of the top three greatest choral works ever written, says, "There is nothing like hearing this extraordinary work in Disney Hall." He notes that the Chorale's presentation includes surround-sound antiphonal trumpets and a custom-built double bass drum designed to literally shake the auditorium (and the audience) during the dramatic Dies Irae section reflecting Judgment Day.
Wagner, acclaimed by the Chicago Tribune for her "remarkable voice," is a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals and was featured in the 2009 documentary film "The Audition." She was chosen by Opera News as one of 25 artists poised to break out and become a major force in classical music in the coming decade. Featured engagements this season include her debut at Minnesota Opera in the title role of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos conducted by Michael Christie, a role she will reprise later in the season for her company debut with Palm Beach Opera. She also performs Verdi's Requiem with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Asher Fisch.
Multi-Grammy winner DeYoung, considered one of the world's most exciting mezzo sopranos, has been called by the London Times "the Jessye Norman of our day." She has appeared with such leading opera companies as the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, La Scala, Berliner Staatsoper, Hamburg State Opera, Opera National de Paris and the Tokyo Opera, and was named the 2015 Artist in Residence at Wolf Trap Opera. Her recording of Kindertotenlieder and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS Media) was awarded the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. DeYoung received the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for Les Troyens with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live).
Savage, who has garnered tremendous critical praise for his voice, has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for "a combination of power and finesse that is rare to observe." He is the winner of the 2014 Seattle International Wagner Competition earning the main prize, audience favorite prize, orchestra favorite prize, and a special honor by Speight Jenkins. Savage made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Don Riccardo in Verdi's Ernani under James Levine last season. Other recent performances for the dramatic tenor include the world premiere of Wynton Marsalis's All Rise with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, the world premiere of Leslie Savoy Burr's Egypt's Night with Philadelphia's Opera North, with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, and his role debut as Radames in Aida at North Carolina Opera.
Robinson, a former All-American offensive lineman, rounds out the quartet with what the New York Times describes as "a big, sonorous bass voice." He is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in a production of Fidelio. He has since appeared there as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the King in Aida, and in roles in Nabucco, Tannhäuser, and the new productions of Les Troyens and Salome. He has also appeared at the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Vancouver Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Australia and the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
Tickets range from $29 - $129. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org. Tickets can also be purchased in person in advance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office (Mon-Sat, 10 am-6 pm) and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office on concert days starting 2 hours prior to the performance. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue at First Street in downtown Los Angeles.