Meryl Streep to Serve as Narrator for Rufus Wainwright's Dream Requiem

The work will receive its world premiere on 14th June in Paris.

By: Jun. 06, 2024
Meryl Streep to Serve as Narrator for Rufus Wainwright's Dream Requiem
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The iconic American screen actress and recipient of the Palme d’Or d’honneur at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is the narrator in Rufus Wainwright’s Dream Requiem, which receives its world premiere on 14th June in Paris. The Chœur de Radio France, Maîtrise de Radio France and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France are conducted by Mikko Franck.

The three-­time Oscar winner and nine-­time Golden Globe winner will perform in Rufus Wainwright’s new work in Paris on Friday 14th June. The premiere takes place at 20:00 at the Auditorium de Radio France with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Maîtrise de Radio France and the Choeur de Radio France, conducted by the orchestra’s music director Mikko Franck. Streep will read Lord Byron’s poem ‘Darkness’, written in July 1816.

Introducing the Dream Requiem, Rufus Wainwright writes: “The music speaks of death, but I wanted it to be inspiring and full of hope at the same time. The work combines two soundworlds: The Latin Requiem text is sung by a large mixed choir, children's choir and soprano soloist while the Byron text ‘Darkness’, which describes an environmental catastrophe, is spoken by a narrator. Dream Requiem was conceived during the COVID­19 pandemic and is also about the people we have lost during that crisis, for the loss of human connection that we all experienced.

"Like probably the rest of the world, I have admired Meryl Streep ever since I saw the first movie with her. I have had the pleasure of getting to know her personally over the last few years and apart from being the most incredible actress, she is also one of the most warm­ hearted human beings I know. To have her be part of the world creation of the Dream Requiem is an honour beyond anything I could have hoped for. Thank you, Meryl, for trusting me and giving your incomparable voice, heart and spirit to this piece."

Dream Requiem stems from two creative and musical ideas which matured in parallel in Rufus Wainwright’s mind and which were brought together in 2020 by two events of dramatic consequence: the COVID­19 pandemic and the California wildfires.

Rufus Wainwright’s fascination for the Requiem as a form goes back to his early teenage years, when he first heard Giuseppe Verdi’s setting of the Mass for the dead. The experience transformed him as a human being and pointed the way for him as an artist. Opera became his ‘secret weapon’ as a singer­songwriter and he has composed two operas of his own: Prima Donna and Hadrian.

For Wainwright, writing a Requiem at the time of COVID was both highly stimulating and strikingly relevant: “A Requiem for the people we have lost in this crisis, for the past from which we are cut off and for the future which we do not yet know how to connect to, a Requiem for the human touch, togetherness and the human voice which all had become dangerous and contagious during the pandemic.”

Recognising the recent rise in the incidence of natural catastrophes, he combines the Latin text of the Mass with Lord Byron’s apocalyptic poem ‘Darkness’, written after the 1815 eruption of the volcano Mount Tambora, located in what is now Indonesia. The subsequent global dispersion of ash gave rise to the so­called Year Without a Summer.

The event will be broadcast live on France Musique and on the France Musique website and ARTE Concert. The concert will be recorded for release in Autumn 2024 by Warner Classics/Erato.

For more information, visit HERE 

Photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe


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