Opera Scotland

Messa da Requiem 1991Dundee Choral Union

Read more about the opera Messa da Requiem

1991 was the year during which the City of Dundee celebrated the 800th anniversary of its foundation. As a community it was clearly rather older, but 1191 was believed to br the year of the receipt of a Royal Charter, and celebrations were deemed to be in order. These included some more concerts by the RSNO, in addition to the usual winter season. Local musicians also contributed. The Dundee Choral Union is not quite that old, having operated only since 1858, but this performance of the Verdi was an appropriate gift to the city during its celebrations.

When booking soloists for their larger-scale works, Dundee Choral Union has always had a good track record for finding interesting performers, and this Verdi Requiem shows a typically enterprising mix.

Donald Maxwell was a native of Perth, just along the road, and came home whenever a busy international schedule allowed. Though normally billed as a baritone, and comfortable with the high baritone roles of his standard Verdian repertoire, he did occasionaly sing bass parts with no apparent difficulty.

The other Scot, Linda Finnie, was a rarer visitor. She only worked with Scottish Opera right at the start of her career, and was quickly picked up for major roles at ENO, Covent Garden and Bayreuth. Her Wagnerian credentials can be heard on the Harry Kupfer Ring cycle recorded at Bayreuth, conducted by Daniel Barenboim and with Dame Anne Evans as Brünnhillde. It was therefore particularly rewarding to hear her in Dundee.

The Armenian soprano Maria Abajan had been singing Tosca with Scottish Opera and clearly had the right voice for this music. Whether through lack of rehearsal or some other cause she did, on this occasion, have some unusual issues with the conductor, resulting in late entries at crucial phrases early on, but she soon settled.

Bonaventura Bottone had previously visited the Caird Hall for an SNO Prom conducted by Peter Maxwell Davies, when he sang the Defendant in Trial By Jury. Best known perhaps for his Nanki-Poo in Jonathan Miller's famous Mikado at ENO, he had a fuller-toned tenor than is suggested by that operetta repertoire, His roles with Scottish Opera included Loge in Das Rheingold and, like the other soloists, he filled the vast spaces of the Caird Hall with ease.

An excellent performance of a popular classic.

Performance DatesMessa da Requiem 1991

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Caird Hall | Dundee

10 Mar, 19.30

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