The Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra continues its 39th season on Nov. 16 and 17. As part of the worldwide bicentennial celebration of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, the sole work on the program is his choral masterpiece, “Messa da Requiem (The Requiem Mass).”
Verdi was known almost exclusively as a composer of operas. “Requiem” premiered in 1874 in Milan to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni, much admired by Verdi. Contemporary critics accused the work of being an opera dressed in church attire. The music explores the complex relationship between humanity and God, depicting a wide spectrum of human emotions from anger to mourning to serenity. But Verdi, who was not devout, wrote it for concert performance and not as part of a church service.
Four vocal soloists and the University Singers will join forces with the orchestra. Michael Slon, director of the University Singers and the Oratorio Society of Virginia and assistant professor in U.Va.’s McIntire Department of Music, will conduct.
Soprano soloist Christina Pier is a Grand Finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Opera News has hailed her for her “big, gleaming soprano and impressive coloratura. … She is a young singer with great potential.”
Mezzo-soprano soloist Lucille Beer, another Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions winner, has enjoyed a distinguished international career in opera houses and on concert stages. She has sung many supporting roles at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera, and most recently made her Seattle Opera debut as Erda in its 50th anniversary production of Wagner’s “Ring.”
Tenor Scott Six has appeared with Portland Opera, West Bay Opera, Stockton Opera and Winter Opera St. Louis. He has also performed as a featured soloist with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.
Baritone Mark Owen Davis now specializes in the Verdi repertoire after a 30-year career performing a wide range of music in recital, opera and oratorio. Most recently, he has been seen in the title role of “Rigoletto” with the Asheville Lyric Opera and as Germont in “La Traviata” with the Symphony of the Mountains.
Aesthetic Dentistry of Charlottesville sponsors the Nov. 16 performance, and the Eleanor Shea Music Trust has provided additional support for both concerts.
“Know the Score” pre-concert lectures will be presented 45 minutes before each concert. Free of charge, these informative and entertaining lectures by Richard Will, associate professor and chair of U.Va.’s music department, offer both novice and experienced patrons a deeper appreciation of the performances.
Friday’s lecture will take place in Minor Hall; Sunday’s lecture will be held in the Forum at Monticello High School.
Free parking for the Nov. 16 performance is available in the U.Va Central Grounds Parking Garage, located on Emmet Street, and at the high school Nov. 17. Both venues are wheelchair accessible.
Tickets range from $10 to $40 ($10 for students; U.Va students may request one complimentary ticket in advance). Tickets may be purchased at U.Va. Arts Box Office (434-924-3376) weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Road, or online at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu.
University of Virginia employees receive a 20 percent discount on tickets to individual performances. This offer does not apply to subscriptions, the December Family Holiday concerts or previously purchased tickets.
The remaining dates in the “Musical Kaleidoscope” season are:
- December 7-8: Family Holiday Concerts with the U.Va University Singers
- February 15-16: All-orchestral program with works by Copland, Ravel, Vaughan Williams and Paulus. (Sponsored by McGuireWoods)
- March 22-23: Works by Brahms, Haydn and Grondahl, featuring trombonist Nathan Dishman; also, the world premiere of “London Town Fantasy” by Virginia composer Antonio Garcia.
- April 26-27: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 for Piano and Orchestra with world-renowned pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. (Sponsored by Katherine and Richard Douglas)
Pro-rated subscription tickets for the entire season are available at the orchestra office or by calling 434-924-3139. Subscription orders are also being accepted in person weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the orchestra’s office, located at 801 West Main St., Suite 201, in Charlottesville.