Opera Scotland

Messa da Requiem 2023Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Read more about the opera Messa da Requiem

The Verdi Requiem is always an exciting way to end the season, and it is surely the nearest Thomas Søndergård has yet got to conducting opera here. The contrasts of contemplation with frenetic excitement suited him ideally.

This work was originally scheduled to close the 2019/20 season.  However, in common with many other items programmed by our major arts bodies, those performances fell victim to the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the soloists announced previously, the tenor and bass were initially still available, not so the ladies. On the day there were further changes, with another unfamiliar soprano arriving, along with a well-known and welcome tenor.

The Usher Hall choir stalls were packed - 190 voices made up not just of the RSNO Chorus, but also the Garleton Singers, also trained by Stephen Doughty, and a group of students from the Conservatoire in Glasgow.  They sounded every bit as impressive as they looked.  The orchestra section was also well filled.  The performance was superb, with the whole work excitingly projected.  Much of it was quite fleet-footed, but some sections, noticeably the thumping chords of the 'Dies Irae' were perhaps more spacious than usual.

Given that the soprano and alto had only come together at the last minute, the lack of an ideal blend in the 'Agnus Dei' was hardly surprising. Reports suggest that this was all in order by the time of the Glasgow performance.  Peter Auty took took a while to settle, becoming entirely comfortable at the top only at his 'Ingemisco'.  The bass displayed a classic dark quality.


The steady 'mission creep' of the Operascotland website has long included concert and music theatre works that stretch the definition of the term 'opera' beyond its original bounds.  Other works that are certainly dramatic, and employ singers of classical training, have thus far been excluded, perhaps unreasonably.  We have now acceded to requests to include, for example, some works appearing in the recent seasons of the RSNO.  These include Mahler's glorious Lied von der Erde and Verdi's uniquely dramatic Messa da Requiem.  If we include those, and other choral or vocal masterworks by Brahms, Elgar and others, then how can we exclude Messiah?  The number of performances that must have occurred in Scotland over the decades is a daunting prospect for research, and we will take our time! 

Performance DatesMessa da Requiem 2023

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

9 Jun, 19.30

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow | Glasgow

10 Jun, 19.30

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