Verdi’s Requiem, by Matthew Salisbury

VERDI’s REQUIEM

ST DAVID’s HALL CARDIFF 

The conductor, Owain Arwel Hughes’s gesture at the beginning, dedicating the performance of this requiem to those who had died in the Nice atrocity was well received by the audience. It was a fitting and gentle reminder about what a requiem is about.

There is no doubting that this performance of Verdi’s Requiem ticked all the boxes for magnificence and grandeur. The orchestra of Welsh National Opera, the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir, Cardiff Ardwyn Singers and the Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society, superbly conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes, performed with immense energy and gusto.

There was no doubting too that the soloists, soprano Rebecca Evans, bass Jason Howard and the tenor who replaced Dennis O’Neill, were resplendent in their roles, with contralto Kate Woolveridge out doing the others in the expression of the majesty of the music.

Kate, when she is rehearsing the Forget Me Not Choir, is forever telling its members to show the meaning of the words in their expressions. She led the way in this performance, seeming to put that little bit extra into her singing.

Comparisons one imagines are odious, but it was interesting to listen to Faure’s Requiem, performed by Kings College Choir in the Albert Hall the following day. In St David’s Hall the choir and orchestra often drowned the soloists. Also it was difficult to follow. The Kyrie and Agnus Dei were identifiable, but the succession of ‘’ operatic overtures’’ were not requiem like, full of grandeur though they were. Faure’s Requiem is more my idea of a requiem, with more of a religious character. Verdi interspersed magnificence with some gentle passages, and this did in some way convey the sense of launching somebody across the Styx.

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4 stars

Event:              The Welsh Proms – Verdi’s Requiem

At:                    St. David’s Hall, Cardiff

Seen:               8pm, 16th July, 2016

Reviewer:     Matthew Salisbury for 3rd Act Critics

Running:          16th July, 2016

Links:              http://www.welshproms.com/verdi-requiem.html

Orchestra:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra

Chorus:       Welsh Proms Cymru Festival Chorus
Cardiff Ardwyn Singers
Cardiff Polyphonic Choir
Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society

Soprano:    Rebecca Evans

Mezzo-soprano:   Kate Woolveridge,

Tenor:            Robyn Lyn
Bass:               Jason Howard

Conductor: Owain Arwel Hughes CBE

 

 

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