Verdi’s famous funeral mass will come to life when five Ohio State music ensembles come together to perform “Requiem” this Sunday at Mershon Auditorium.
“‘Requiem’ is full of fire and beauty,” said Kristina Caswell-MacMullen, conductor of Women’s Glee Club and the Symphonic Choir. Those groups will be accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra, Chorale, and Men’s Glee Club.
“One moment, we’re experiencing tour de force dramatic presentation, and then in the next movement, it might be much more introspective and much more pious as this composer weds music and text to help us understand what happens at death’s doorstep,” said Robert Ward, director of chorale activities at Ohio State who conducts the Men’s Glee Club.
Ward described the piece as walking the line between a sacred work and a dramatic opera with a sacred theme.
For Ryan Jenkins, a fourth-year in music, the opportunity to perform Verdi’s Requiem is a rare opportunity.
“It’s definitely something that I’ll remember for a long time. Ohio State has been very good at giving those music majors and people in the ensembles great opportunities to sing major works. A piece like Verdi — you’re not gonna be able to sing that everywhere, and with the caliber of people that we’re singing with,” Jenkins said.
Elena Maietta, a member of Symphonic Choir pursuing a doctorate in choral conducting, said that ‘Requiem’ is intended to be performed continuously.
“It’s really designed on a massive scale … You not only need a large number of singers, but they are singing with a nearly operatic tone,” said Maietta.
Ward said there are 167 singers, four vocal soloists and about 65 orchestra players involved in the performance.
“It’s gonna be a treat just to be able to sing with (the soloists) and sing behind them,” Jenkins said.
And that “treat” isn’t reserved for music majors, as the performance will pool the talent from various departments around campus.
“This is a School of Music production, but the people on the stage represent virtually every academic discipline from across the campus and it is a major statement that, even if you’re not a music major, music and the arts in general can have a place in your life,” Ward said.
The performance begins at 3 p.m. in Mershon Auditorium and tickets are $20 for the general public, and $10 for senior citizens, children, the Alumni Association, faculty, staff and students.
The doors open at 1:30 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m James Naumann, a doctoral candidate in musicology, will give a pre-concert talk about the work.