A Weekend with Verdi’s Requiem

This weekend, the Choirs of Bowling Green State University and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra performed Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem under the direction of guest conductor Giordano Bellincampi. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the choir, and had an experience this weekend that is definitely worth talking about.

Having worked on the piece for two months prior to this made the actual performances that much more rewarding. This past week, especially, has been wonderful. Being able to finally work with the director, orchestra, and soloists is always an experience like no other. Being able to bring the piece to fruition like that is eye-opening and exciting! By Friday’s performance, we practically had the piece memorized (However, we would never perform it like that!).

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A grand piece like Verdi’s Requiem runs about an hour and thirty minutes. However, from the audience comments I heard the piece was interesting and exciting throughout, and made the performance feel much shorter. Overall, it was a fantastic experience! My favorite part of the piece has always been the ending. The soft chant and sustained sounds echo the beginning of the work. It’s as if everything comes full circle. It feels like this idea itself reflects upon the cycle of life. To me, it’s such a powerful way to end the piece with the single phrase “Libera me” (“Deliver me”). It completes the work.

As I sang the final phrase on Saturday, I could not help but thinking of that. I am very grateful to have been able to perform such a work.

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