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2013: Giuseppe Verdi -- Messa da Requiem

posted 18 May 2013, 19:54 by Karsten Benz   [ updated 17 Jun 2015, 03:18 by Cantando Choir ]
Sunday, 24th November 2013 at 4pm at Founders Theatre in Hamilton

Verdi's Requiem - what a great performance!

Some voices from the audience:

  • An excellent performance by both the Choir & the TWSO.  
  • It was my third Requiem, the previous ones under Lorin Maazel and Sir David Wilcox, but for pure passion and intensity yesterday beat them both. 

  • My husband was stunned and said it was wonderful, and the choir was " remarkable and really very good

  • I felt the over-all impact was quite stunning, and although the Verdi is not at the top of my list of favourites, you managed to draw from both orchestra and choir a level of presentation which was quite outstanding.  - Max Stewart

  • Congratulations are in order, an excellent performance, and a near capacity house

  • From my source it was heard from one of the patrons to be "a world class performance"    - News reaches South Island

  • I hadn’t heard the Requiem before and found it quite stirring – at the very end there was a deep sigh from the audience around me – as though all the pent up emotions have finally been let free. congratulations on a wonderful collaboration  

  • What a wonderful, moving afternoon you gave us all.  Thank you. 

  • Your combination of high standards, precision, patience, determination, realism, humour and hard work have created something very special for the community in Hamilton. 

Requiem Mass – Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass, completed in April 1874 during the composer’s sixty-first year, has been described as “his latest opera, though in ecclesiastical robes”, and is without doubt a deeply religious work. However, Verdi was not a man of great spirituality, or even for most of his life a churchgoer. His wife Giuseppina even described him as a “very doubtful believer”.

Whilst religion may not have been a significant part of his life, two creative personalities were especially important to Verdi, and indeed proved to be the central inspiration for his major sacred composition. They were firstly Gioachino Rossini, his predecessor as a leading composer of Italian opera, and secondly Alessandro Manzoni the writer and ardent supporter of the struggle for national independence and the unification of Italy. Verdi himself was also highly patriotic, and the culture of his homeland - in all its many forms - was a sacred cause for him.

Without doubt Verdi is amongst the greatest opera composers who have ever lived, and his Requiem is as dramatic and powerful as any of his operas. It is an honest, spiritual testament from a man of few words, who naturally conceived and described the full range of human feeling and emotion in powerful, direct and theatrical terms.

Following its successful premiere, the Requiem has proved highly popular in concert halls around the world, glorifying the musical language of Italian Romantic opera and the nation for which such music was a prime cultural emblem. Bernard Shaw suggested that none of Verdi’s operas would prove as enduring as the Requiem and Brahms noted that “Only a genius could have written such a work”.

This performance today, like many others this year, is in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. It also presents an excellent opportunity for two of our city’s major musical groups – Cantando Choir and the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra – to join together to present this profound and moving work.

Rupert D’Cruze

Music Director – Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra

Musical Director - Cantando Choir

Amanda AtlasSoprano (stepped in for indisposed Emma Sloman)
Kate SpenceContralto
Derek Hill – Tenor
Chalium PoppyBass
Katie MayesConcert Master
Rupert D’CruzeConductor

More about our soloists:

Emma Sarita Sloman -- Soprano

Emma Sloman’s singing and performance experience has spanned 20 years, including studying in New Zealand (BA, Music), London (Morley Opera) and New York.

Emma is a former Emerging Artist and now Resident Artist with NBR New Zealand Opera and has sung with a variety of other groups around New Zealand.

Her performances include dramatic and comic works, oratorios, concerts, corporate and public events but she is most at home on the operatic stage. Her most recent role was the Mother, in NZ Opera’s production of Madam Butterfly, and at the same time she understudied the title role of Cio Cio San.

Other roles include Rosalinda in Opera Factory’s season of Die Fledermaus; Mimi: La Bohéme (Opera Hawkes Bay, Opera Factory); Adele: Le Comte Ory (Canterbury Opera); Governess: The Turn of the Screw, Magda: The Consul, Angelica & Genevieve: Suor Angelica, Hansel: Hansel & Gretel, Miss Pinkerton: The Old Maid and the Thief, Madame Silverklang: The Impressario, Monica: The Medium, Suor Angelica, The Countess: The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Factory); Sister Genevieve, Suor Angelica and Nedda; Pagliacci (Canterbury Opera). She has also understudied Marjenka: The Bartered Bride, Santuzza: Cavalleria Rusticana, Countess: Le Nozze di Figaro, Madame Larina: Eugene Onegin, and Barbarina: The Marriage of Figaro for NZ Opera.

Emma has had a variety of competition successes including finalist in the North Shore Aria (2000) and the Rotorua Lockwood Aria (1999, 2002). 

Her concert engagements have included solo performances with the Auckland Philharmonia concerts in 2012 (Kiwi Kapers and Open Day), Auckland Chamber Orchestra, guest soloist for Last Night of the Proms with Auckland Symphony Orchestra; Auckland Choral Society (Bach Magnificat); Pakuranga Choral Society, guest soprano for Rob Guest in his Auckland concerts, Kiri te Kanawa Foundation concert, Rotorua Lakeside concert with Helen Medlyn, Black Barn Hawkes Bay concert; Handel Consort & Quire (Armida: Rinaldo), and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Concert Spirituel.

Kate Spence --  Contralto

Kate Spence was educated at Auckland University and the Queensland Conservatorium, Australia. She graduated with a Master of Music (Dist.) and Post Graduate Diplomas in Opera and Vocal Studies. Kate holds an FTCL in Voice from the Trinity College of Music and was fortunate to undertake private study in the United Kingdom under the late Enid Hartle.

Kate made her professional operatic debut for the Brisbane Festival and has since sung with companies such as Opera Queensland, OzOpera, English National Opera and NBR New Zealand Opera.

Kate performs regularly in recital and on the concert platform with repertoire including Bach’s Magnificat, St John Passion, Christmas Oratorio & B Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Mass in the time of War, Harmonie Mass & Nelson Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and song cycle, Sea Pictures.

In 2000 and 2002 Kate was a prize-winner in the Mobil Song Quest and in 2010 was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship to study in Austria investigating Elemental Music and Dance Pedagogy at the Orff Institut, Salzburg. During this time she also studied with renowned Mezzo-soprano, Marjana Lipovšek.

In 2012, Kate was fortunate to be a part of Wagner's “Die Walküre” tour with the NZSO and Tippett's "A Child of our time" with the NZ Youth Orchestra & NZ Youth Choir. Kate also performed in the APO's concert of Bach's B Minor Mass, conducted by Stephen Layton. Later this year she sings Verdi's Requiem with Cantando Choir and the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra.

Alongside singing engagements, Kate is employed as a Music Specialist in the Primary Sector.

Derek Hill -- Tenor

Derek Hill
Derek completed his university studies at McGill University in Montréal Canada graduating with high distinction in voice. He returned to New Zealand in 2004 making his debut in 2005 in La Traviata with New Zealand Opera.
Since then he has performed in productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Die Zauberflöte, Jenufa, Macbeth, Rigoletto, La nozze di Figaro and has covered various roles included Pong, Lensky, Jenik and Arturo.
For Southern Opera he performed Gonzalve in L’heure Espagnole on their inaugural tour. With Canterbury Opera he covered the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. With The Hamilton Garden Opera he performed Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. With Opera Unleashed he performed the role of Count Belfiore in Mozart’s La Finta Giardinere and with Opera Otago he sang Mr. Ford in Salieri’s Falstaff.
On the concert platform Derek has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Manakau Symphony Orchestra as well as the Auckland Choral Society. In 2011 he was invited to sing for the late king George Tupou V of Tonga in a concert in the royal palace. He has recently performed Verdi’s Requiem in New Plymouth
Upcoming performances of note include Verdi’s Requiem with the Cantando Choir and Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra in Hamilton as well as Beethoven’s 9th with the Manakau Symphony Orchestra.

Chalium S. P. Poppy -- Bass

Chalium began his earliest musical training as a cathedral chorister. Chalium's musical
Chalium Poppy
studies in Europe culminated in a Masterstudium in Protestant Church Music with Honours.

His unique education and experience allows him to enjoy an extremely lucrative career as a professional church musician, conductor, oratorio soloist, occasional operatic singer, music commentator, clincian and teacher. He has performed as an oratorio soloist extensively throughout Europe and North America appearing alongside some of the world’s finest orchestras including the Fretwork Ensemble, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, The Freiburger Barockorchester, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and Tafelmusik. He has worked with famed early music interpreters Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman and Christopher Hogwood.

In 2009, Chalium relocated to Mt. Maunganui where he works as a full-time musician dividing his time between engagements in New Zealand and overseas. During his short time in New Zealand, Chalium has already appeared as a guest soloist with the Tauranga Civic Choir, Hamilton’s Cantando and Civic Choirs, City of Dunedin Choir, and Auckland’s Handel Consort & Quire, Viva Voce, Graduate Choir, The South Auckland Choral Society, as well as the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Southern Symphonia of Dunedin. He has performed in several New Zealand premieres of works by Handel, Rameau, Charpentier and others. In 2011, Chalium recorded the bass solos in New Zealand's first recordings of Handel's "Messiah" and Bach's "Easter Oratorio" to feature baroque period instruments. He has also recorded two of Bach's cantatas for the Auckland Philhamonia Orchestra. He currently has seven operatic roles within his repertoire.

Future engagements include performances with the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, Baroque Voices New Zealand, and producing a recording with NZ Barok - New Zealand's only professional baroque orchestra. He is currently the Church-Musician-In-Residence for the Anglican Parish of Mt. Maunganui. And Artistic & Musical Director of the Scholars Pro Musica – a chamber choir dedicated to informed performances of early music with an emphasis on stylistic excellence. With the Scholars, Chalium has conducted the New Zealand premiers of works by Jean-Phillipe Rameau and Michael Haydn to critical acclaim. Chalium has made plans to commence his PhD studies in 2014.

Chalium has received national accolades and recognition of his commitment and dedication to musical excellence and in particular for his exploration of lesser-known choral works. In 2010, Chalium received a commendation from the French Consulate to New Zealand in gratitude for his efforts to preserve the music of the French Baroque; and in 2011, Chalium was honoured as the first recipient of the Carterwall Award for service to excellence in community choral music.