Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem is not only a musical prayer, but also a vision of the afterlife and the drama of Judgement Day that is rich in imagery. The musical requiem mass was created in two stages. Initially, Verdi wrote a Libera me as part of a collaborative composition in memory of Gioachino Rossini, who had died in 1868. Due to the death of Italy’s national poet, Alessandro Manzoni, in 1874 Verdi expanded his section of the Rossini requiem, which had not been performed, into a full-scale requiem.
The piece became a permanent feature in the concert repertoire as soon as it was premiered. What continues to fascinate audiences about the Requiem to this day? Verdi provides a human answer to the Latin liturgy by capturing the hidden drama of these texts and exploring the greatest secret of human existence: death. With the propensity for musical drama with which we are familiar from his operas, he conjures up terrifying images of death, the end of time and damnation, and creates gigantic emotional tableaux: of fear, anger, pain, sorrow, and the yearning for redemption. Even if Verdi simply follows the text of the Catholic liturgy, the musical structure goes beyond the basic, Christian idea of death and resurrection to include other interpretations. The powerful imagery of Dies irae in particular inspires Verdi to unsettling visions of death.
In a large-scale collaborative ballet and opera production, Christian Spuck brings a theatrically choreographical interpretation of Verdi’s Requiem to the stage. With Fabio Luisi at the rostrum and the soloists Krassimira Stoyanova, Veronica Simeoni, Francesco Meli and Georg Zeppenfeld, Spuck will have a top-class Verdi ensemble at his side.