Tag Archives: Requiem

Triumphant Verdi Requiem

From the infinite mystery of the opening bars to the dramatically hushed close, Saturday’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem by the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra for this year’s Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert was full of high drama.

Verdi_morning_crew
The morning shift crew

Standing in as a last-minute replacement for the billed soprano soloist, Rachel Nicholls took time out from her current ENO run of Die Meistersingers to step up alongside mezzo Carolyn Dobbins, tenor Gerard Schneider and bass Simon Thorpe, and together all four singers delivered Verdi’s demanding solo parts with consummate skill. Under the baton of Susan Wanless, the Chorus and Orchestra both rose to the occasion superbly. From the off-stage trumpets ranged high above in the organ-loft to the bass-drum positioned down the side-aisle, the combined forces filled the majestic Cathedral with Verdi’s profound meditation on death and redemption, rich in operatic detail crammed into oratorio form.

Rachel Nicholls, Carolyn Dobbins, Gerard Schneider, Simon Thorpe
Rachel Nicholls, Carolyn Dobbins, Gerard Schneider, Simon Thorpe

It’s a long day that starts at 9am with the heroic crew who pitched up on campus to load two vans with all the equipment to take down to the Cathedral, and ends with that same equipment delivered back to campus at 10.30pm, with rehearsal and performance in between. It was lovely to see many alumni come back to sing in the Chorus, with the concert a major highlight of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations throughout this year.

Alumnus & percussionist, Carina Evans and tuba-player Chris Gray
Alumnus & percussionist, Carina Evans and tuba-player Chris Gray

(Much excitement was caused by the arrival of the 66-inch bass drum from Bell Percussion, which was mobbed by many people eager to be photographed with the monster-drum, you’d have thought it was a Hollywood Celebrity…)

Very many thanks to everyone involved; a triumphant conclusion to all the hard work put it by students, staff, alumni and members of the local community, who came together in the splendour of Canterbury Cathedral for a memorable performance.

Quantus tremor est futurus: getting ready for Saturday

A big week this week, as we continue our preparations ahead of the annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert on Saturday, for which the combined might of the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra will come together in Verdi’s Requiem.

Here’s the Chorus in fine form yesterday afternoon, rehearsing old-skool style in Grimond, where for many years the Chorus used to meet each Monday night. Although we don’t recall its ever having been quite so green before…

Dies irae: Chorus rehearsing in Grimond
Dies irae: Chorus rehearsing in Grimond

Yesterday’s all-day rehearsal is followed by rehearsals tonight, Thursday and on Saturday morning. It all culminates on Saturday evening; how much tremor there shall be…

 

A drum, a drum: Verdi doth come…

The annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert next week forms part of the University’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations, and does so in grandiose fashion with Verdi’s epic Requiem on Saturday 14 March.

50th-ribbon-smlConducted by the Director of Music, Susan Wanless, the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra will unite to set the Nave’s soaring, vaulted ceiling echoing, joined by four acclaimed soloists, together with The Verdi Drum of the South-East, in what promises to be a highlight of this year’s performing calendar.

Here is the University Chorus at a recent rehearsal, looking and sounding in fine form:

Chorus

The Director of Music is very excited at the prospect: ”the concert will provide the perfect setting to capture the Requiem’s operatic power and drama and the event will showcase the University’s many talented musicians.” Darn right!

Verdi RequiemJoin us (and the Verdi Drum) for high drama on March 14th – details and tickets here.