Verdi’s Requiem review

A review of ‘Verdi’s Requiem’ by in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 4th May 2019

by Rosemary Westwell

It is no wonder that this was a popular event and that this Requiem is performed so often. This night’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem given by Ely Sinfonia, the King’s Lynn Festival Chorus and soloists was magnificent. We were treated to all the emotionally-packed aria-like melodic material that we know and love from Verdi’s operas, while at the same time, these amazing musicians drew every ounce of religious fervour, excitement and reverence from the score.
Conducted by Steve Bingham, this fine choir and orchestra were able to present incredible contrasts in expression and volume. The extremely soft moments, especially in the strings, were amazing. Contrasting this, were phenomenal moments of great excitement and climax with the cathedral vaults positively resounding with fantastic voluminous sounds.
There were some particularly effective instants and these included thoughtful reverence in the Introit, spine-chilling, frenetic agony in the recurring Dies Irae (Day of wrath), eerie mystery with the words ‘Liber scriptus proferetur’ and a delightful sense of light permeating ‘Lux aeterna’.
The soloists were Aoife O’Connell (soprano), Freya Jacklin (mezzo soprano), Michael Solomon Williams (tenor) and Laurence Williams (bass). They were wonderful and balanced perfectly, enhancing the score with passionate depth and beauty.
This was a wonderful evening’s concert that brought home how important such heightened music is in our lives and how it creates episodes that reach far beyond reality. Sounds such as these take us away from ordinary humdrum problems that plague our lives at ground level. Everyone should be able to experience such sublime realms of musical genius.
The next event to look forward to is on Saturday 21st September in Ely Cathedral at 7.30 p.m. which will be Ely Sinfonia’s Twentieth Anniversary Concert featuring Martin Roscoe playing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 2, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 78 and Mozart’s Symphony no. 29. For more information contact www.elysinfonia.co.uk or box.office@elycathedral.org.