OPERA PHILADELPHIA presents
REQUIEM FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL J A N U A R Y 3 0 , 2 0 2 0 | 7 : 0 0 P. M . ACADEMY OF MUSIC 1
WELCOME Welcome to Opera Philadelphia. We are so glad that you will soon be joining us at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music for the final dress rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem. Whether this is your first time attending a classical music performance or your hundredth, we are so excited to have you. Seeing a work like the Requiem can be a thrilling experience as it tells its story through the power of music. We hope this guide will allow you to connect with classical music and the Requiem. Although there are no "Characters", nor a plot, you should be able to sense the emotions and feelings expressed through the music. Has music ever helped you express your emotions? Can you feel the emotion from the singers? How are you connecting to this piece of classical music? Your unique experience is important. How great is it that we can all have different feelings and opinions about the same musical composition? When you return to school, consider starting conversations with your classmates about the work. Classical music can be dynamic and engaging but also complex and confusing. Unpacking what you’ve just seen as well as hearing from others is a great way to appreciate the arts even more. As you find your seat in the Academy of Music, remember that this historic theater is a part of your community and there for you. Enjoy the rehearsal and take in all it has to offer. In the end, we’ll know that we have done our job if you leave feeling both inspired and full of self-discovery. Welcome and enjoy your experience completely.
G O A L S A N D O B J E C T I V E S of Sounds of Learning D ress Rehearsal P rog ram Connect with the themes
Connect something from your exploration of classical music to your own personal stories
Draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the Requiem
Experience the concert with an open mind
Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate what you have learned or experienced during the challenge
Use the Sounds of Learning blog to reflect on your experience and provide insights about your journey
Best Practices in Arts Education is sponsored by Pennsylvania Alliance for Arts Education, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education
TA B L E O F Contents O P E R A 101 Defining Opera Throughout History 2 Philadelphia's Academy of Music 4 Opera Etiquette 5 Operatic Voice Types 6
HISTORICAL CONTEXT Giuseppe Verdi: The Voice of Opera 8 Alessandro Manzoni: Hero and Inspiration 11 What in the World?: Events During Verdi's Life 12 History of the Verdi Requiem 14 Italy Unites as a Nation During Verdi's Lifetime 16
M U S I C A L A N D T E X T I N F O R M AT I O N Requiem Aeternam: A Story in Music 18 The Architecture of the Requiem 20 Requiem: Artists and Text 24 Meet the Maestro: Corrado Rovaris 28 Verdi Requiem: The Chorus 29 Meet the Artists: The Men of the Requiem 30 Timpanist Martha Hitchins: Standing Out from the Crowd 31 The Opera Orchestra 32 Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound 36 Eight Trumpets for Tuba Mirum 38
CL ASSROOM ACTIVITIES Etymology: The Study of Words 39 Write a Review 40
N OT E: Much of the art we learn about, see in museums, or, in this case, hear performed today, has roots in religion. The Catholic Church has a long history of patronage, or commissioning works of art and music. That financial support of artists is what historically allowed the arts to thrive, particularly during the Renaissance, a period of great artistic growth and progress. Just as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Renaissance master Michelangelo, can be admired by millions of non-religious tourists, so can Verdi’s Requiem be enjoyed for its musical mastery. In an increasingly secular world, the words may not have the same significance for everyone in the audience, and that’s O.K. Opera Philadelphia projects supertitles, or translations, above the stage at performances so the audience can more easily follow along with the text and understand what is happening. That’s also why the text, or words to the music, are printed in English in this study guide. The words aren’t there to advocate for any particular religious view, but to offer you a better understanding of the music and its history.
DEFINING OPERA Throughout Histor y Opera has been called the greatest of all art forms. Why? Opera brings all the arts together to tell stories in incredibly moving ways—stories that reflect the time and the people during which they were written. Verdi’s Requiem, while not a staged opera, draws on opera's legacy that dates back to the 17th century. The oldest opera still performed today is Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, written in 1607. During the Baroque period from 1600-1750, Italian aristocracy wanted to recreate what the Greek and Roman plays were like. Those ancient plays frequently told familiar tales from mythology. When Monteverdi was asked to write an opera for Grand Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga of Mantua, he thought a tale from mythology would be perfect for his audience. Monteverdi chose the story of Orpheus, the Greek hero of music, who descended into the underworld to save his wife, Euridice. The premiere of L'Orfeo was a great success, and Monteverdi became a master of this new art form, opera which used music to help tell a story and deeply move an audience. The 18th century, known as the Age of Enlightenment, was the next great period of political and cultural change in Europe. People were talking about new forms of government and organization in society, especially the developing middle class. As society changed, so did opera. Composers felt the need to reform opera and move away from the complexity of the Baroque style and wanted to write music that was simpler and more focused on pure, raw emotion. Christoph Willibald Gluck was one of the first to achieve this with his opera Orfeo and Euridice (1762). Gluck’s music had a freedom that evoked the unaffected expression of human feelings. While Gluck's opera told the same story as Monteverdi's L’Orfeo, his music brought new
Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro shocked 18th century audiences when the servants Figaro and Susanna (pictured above) turn the tables on the aristocracy. Photo: Kelly & Massa Photography
life to the narrative that better reflected audiences’ tastes at the time. The later part of the 18th century marked a period of great revolt. In 1776, the American Revolution changed the world. A few years later, the French had their own revolution (1789) and the first modern democracies were born. Reflecting this new way of thinking, audiences wanted to see characters like themselves on stage. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786) did just that. It told a story about aristocratic class struggle that had both servants and nobility in leading roles. With the characters of Figaro and Susanna, Mozart gave opera relatable human beings. Mozart’s operas embody the tenets of the Enlightenment such as equality, freedom, and the importance of the lower classes. In the 1800s, Italian opera developed further with the bel canto movement, which means “beautiful singing.” Opera continued to be about real stories and achieving honesty in expression. The most famous bel canto composers were Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868), Gaetano Donizetti
The Marriage of Figaro
The Barber of Seville
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1797–1848), and Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835). The success of these composers can be measured in their ability to withstand the test of time. Rossini’s popular comedies, The Barber of Seville (1816) and Cinderella (1817), are still some of the most popular operas performed today. By the middle of the 19th century, the Romantic Movement led many composers to champion their own national identities. Composers and librettists created operas for the audiences they knew best. German operas like Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (1821), Russian operas like Mikhail Glinka's A Life for the Tsar (1836), and French operas like Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots (1836) were performed frequently in their native countries.
Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1935) which included the musical styles of jazz and blues. Today opera continues to grow and expand. Opera Philadelphia helps to shape the future of opera by producing important new works like Daniel Bernard Roumain and Marc Bamuthi Joseph's 2017 opera, We Shall Not Be Moved, a story about Philadelphia youth and many of the issues facing society today. In October 2017, the opera went on to be performed at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. In September of 2018, it also took to the big screen for Opera Philadelphia's biggest yearly civic event, Opera on the Mall, and was broadcast across Independence Mall.
In Italy, the birthplace of opera, composer Giuseppe Verdi continued to develop the bel canto style of his predecessors and became one of the most important Italian opera composers. Verdi became a national hero by using nationalism in his operas like Nabucco (1842) to promote the cause of Italian unification. In Germany, Richard Wagner brought the Romantic period to its peak by exploiting the grand potential of opera. How could all of the elements - orchestra, set, chorus, soloists, and more - be elevated to transform a story and deeply affect an audience? In The Ring of the Nibelung (1876), a series of four operas taking more than 15 hours to perform, Wagner created one of opera’s greatest masterpieces.
Five Philadelphia youth are portrayed in Daniel Bernard Roumain's 2017 opera We Shall Not Be Moved. Photo: Dave DiRentis
Opera in the 20th century emerged as a period of great experimentation. Composers like Giacomo Puccini (La bohème, 1896), Richard Strauss (Salome, 1905) and Benjamin Britten (Peter Grimes, 1945) continued to evolve their national styles. Others, horrified by the destruction of World War I (1914-1918) and other aspects of modern life, created music that was new and drastically inharmonious. Meanwhile, American opera had a huge hit with George and Ira Porgy and Bess
We Shall Not Be Moved
George and Ira Gershwin
Daniel Bernard Roumain
P H I L A D E L P H I A’S AC A D E M Y O F M U S I C A place for you
Photo: George Widman
Opera Philadelphia's home, the Academy of Music, opened in 1857. Opera is only one type of performance that takes place in the Academy. There are also ballets, concerts, and galas. The building is a historical monument and the oldest grand opera house in America still used for its original purpose. The Academy of Music is sometimes called "The Grand Old Lady of Locust Street." The opera house was initially built with a plain white exterior because the architects wanted the beauty to be on the interior, as it was at the famous opera house, La Scala, in Italy. Later, the exterior was revised to look as it does today. Unlike other performance houses, the Academy of Music's seating has a 'U' shape. This was done for the audience to have the best view from every angle possible. The first opera presented in the brand new opera house was Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore on February 25, 1857. The basement of the Academy of Music has a history, too. It was used as a dining hall because of its beautiful interior decoration. During World War II the hall was transformed into the Stage Door Canteen, serving refreshments and featuring appearances by entertainers performing 4
at the Academy of Music, such as Abbott and Costello, Duke Ellington, and Frank Sinatra. Today, the Academy of Music continues to entertain people through concerts, operas, ballets, and more. The wondrous hall dedicated to the arts has blossomed into the perfect place for a performance of any kind.
ACADEMY OF MUSIC FACTS:
• The auditorium seats 2,509 • 14 columns support the Academy’s tiers. • The red and gold pattern on the
Academy’s stage curtain simulates a pineapple, a Victorian-era symbol for “welcome.” The first-ever indoor football game was held on the Academy’s Parquet level on March 7, 1889, between the University of Pennsylvania and Riverton Club of Princeton. 1,600 people attended the first-ever public motion picture screening on February 5, 1870.
OPERA Etiquette AT T E N D I N G T H E O P E R A
There’s nothing as exciting as seeing a performance in Philadelphia’s beautiful Academy of Music. If this is your first time at the opera, there are a few things for which you should prepare: You are attending the opera’s final dress rehearsal, the last chance for performers to run through the show before opening night. The goal is to treat this rehearsal exactly like a performance and perform the opera straight through without a pause. O P E R A E T I Q U E T T E 101
Opera singers are unique because they are trained to sing without microphones. As a result, it is important to remain quiet, listen carefully, and not interfere with the music. With this in mind, remember that at the heart of opera is a story rooted in deep emotion. So, when the time is right, don't be afraid to laugh or extend your appreciation through applause! Performers need to know that their work is being appreciated. In addition to showing respect to the people around you, it is important to appreciate the physical theater. Many opera houses or theaters are designated as historic monuments. So that we can continue to use these cherished spaces, we must remember to leave them the way they were found. This means keeping your feet on the f loor as opposed to on the back of the seat in front of you. In addition, any food or beverage must remain outside of the theater. Finally, you may be asking yourself what to wear to an opera. This answer can vary from person to person. Ultimately, you should not feel as if you will be turned away because of your attire. However, dressing up for the opera is a classic tradition, so don't hesitate to show off your best new tie or your favorite dress. The way you dress and carry yourself can only add to the opera experience.
Students from the Penn Alexander School prepare to see the f inal dress rehearsal of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Photo: Kelly & Massa Photography
PLEASE DO. . . • Applaud after the arias; you can shout “Bravo!” for men and “Brava!” for the women. • Use the bathrooms before the rehearsal begins or at intermission. • Be careful in the auditorium! Theaters can sometimes be old and difficult to navigate. • Turn off your cell phones and all electronic devices. • Obey all directions given by theater ushers and staff. P L E AS E D O N ' T. . . • No food, gum, or beverages are permitted inside the theater. • No photographs or videos may be taken during the performance. • No talking or whispering during the performance.
O P E R AT I C Vo i c e Ty p e s Have you ever wondered why every person's voice sounds slightly different? The human voice is a fascinating and complex instrument with many factors that make each one of us sound unique. The length, strength, and thickness of the vocal chords, the shape of the nasal passages, mouth, and throat all help to determine whether a voice will be high or low, bright or warm. In opera, voices are classified into seven main categories (from highest to lowest): soprano, mezzosoprano, contralto, countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass. It is important to know that a person can only know their true voice type when they become an adult. The following people have distinguished themselves as past and present leaders of their voice type. Choose one opera singer to research and share your discoveries with your friends. Use the QR Codes and social media tags to hear each voice type and learn more about a few of these artists.
S O P R A N O is the highest female voice type, with a traditional range of A below middle C to the C two octaves above that. The soprano usually plays the heroine of the story and is often the center of the romantic storyline. @LeahCrocetto
Leah Crocetto soprano
Ying Fang soprano
M E Z Z O - S O P R A N O is slightly lower than
soprano, with a range usually G below middle C to the Bb two octaves above. Mezzos are often supporting roles, playing motherly types or villains. They also often sing "trouser roles" in which they portray boys or young men. Daniela Mack mezzo-soprano
Marietta Simpson mezzo-soprano
C O N T R A L T O is the lowest female voice, with
a range of the F below middle C to the second G above middle C. It is a rare voice type, so the roles can often be sung by mezzo-sopranos. It is the darkest in timbre and is reserved for specialty roles, such as grandmothers, noble witches, and goddesses. 6
Marian Anderson contralto
Meredith Arwady contralto
C O U N T E R T E N O R is the highest male voice,
Tim Mead countertenor
John Holiday countertenor
with a range that is similar to the contralto: a below middle C to the F an octave and a half above middle C. Frequently these men achieve their high range through bridging their chest voice with their head voice (falsetto). While this voice type was less popular from 18001940, composers today utilize countertenors more often.
T E N O R is considered the highest “natural”
male voice, with a range of D below middle C to the C above middle C. Beginning in the Classical era (1775-1825), the tenor has been assigned the role of the hero or the love interest of the story. @brownleetenor
Lawrence Brownlee tenor
Troy Cook baritone
Will Liverman baritone
Michael Spyres tenor
B A R I T O N E is the most common male voice type, with a range midway between tenor and bass, from A an octave below middle C to the G above middle C. The baritone is often the comical leader, but can also be the villain who stands in the way of the soprano and tenor’s love.
B A S S is the lowest and darkest of the male
voices, with a range of E almost two octaves below middle C to the F above middle C. Basses can portray characters who convey wisdom or nobility, but also comedic characters. @mdrbass
Christian Van Horn bass
Photo Credit: Leah Crocetto - Jiyang Chen, Ying Fang; Daniela Mack - Simon Pauly; Marietta Simpson - JR Simpson Photography; John Holiday - Fay Fox; Lawrence Brownlee - Ken Howard; Troy Cook - Arielle Doneson; Will Liverman - Larrynx Photography; Christian Van Horn, Morris Robinson - Ron Cadiz
Morris Robinson bass
GIUSEPPE VERDI T h e Vo i c e o f O p e r a Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (18131901) was born on October 10, 1813 in the small village of Roncole in Italy. At that time, the country of Italy did not yet exist, but was made up of several small states, most under the domination of foreign powers. When Verdi was born, Roncole and its surrounding province of Parma was under the control of the French. In fact, Verdi's original birth certificate is French, with his name registered as Joseph Fortunin FranĂ§ois. Despite his later claims of an illiterate peasant upbringing, Verdi came from a family of traders and small landowners. His mother, Luigia Uttini, was a spinner and his father, Carlo, was an innkeeper. They were determined to provide their son with a good education. The young child showed early musical talent and his parents, though not musicians, encouraged him. His father gave him a spinet (an instrument of the harpsichord family). Young Verdiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s progress was dazzling and at nine years old he became the fulltime organist of the village, earning a small salary. In 1823, when Verdi was ten years old, his father recognized the need to give him more serious training. He entrusted him to Antonio Barezzi, a local merchant, devoted amateur musician and the director of the local Philharmonic association in the nearby larger town of Busseto. Verdi became heavily involved in Bussetoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s musical life, both as a composer and as a performer. He eventually moved into the house of Antonio Barezzi, where Verdi gave singing and piano lessons to Barezzi's daughter Margherita, whom he would later marry. He continued to take lessons on musical composition and instrumental playing from Ferdinando Provesi, Maestro of the local Philharmonic society. By sixteen, his reputation had already spread throughout Busseto.
An historic photograph of Giuseppe Verdi taken in 1870.
At the age of 18, with Barezzi's financial support and Provesi's glowing references, Verdi traveled to Milan and applied to the conservatory. His application was rejected, firstly because he was too old and, secondly, because of his rudimentary piano technique. Verdi remembered this all his life and he fought against that conservatory being named after him after he had become successful. Instead, he began studying with Vincenzo Lavigna, a composer and Maestro at the Teatro alla Scala , the most important opera house in Europe at the time. Verdi bounced back and forth between Milan and Busseto until 1836. In 1836, Giuseppe Verdi returned to Busseto, where he remained for three years. He was denied the position of cathedral organist because of his atheism. However, he obtained a professorship at the Busseto music school. With this position
he was able to marry Margherita, the daughter of Barezzi, in 1836. He held the position for nearly three years, during which time he and Margherita had two children, before the young family moved back to Milan.
After the premiere of Nabucco, Verdi wrote 16 operas in 11 years (among them I lombardi, 1843; Ernani, 1844 and Luisa Miller, 1849). His reputation expanded throughout Italy and he became a prominent figure in Milan.
In November of 1839, Verdi's first opera, Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio, was accepted at La Scala. It ran for multiple performances and was well received, winning him a contract for three additional operas. Shortly thereafter, in 1840, Verdi experienced a tragedy when he lost his two young children as well as his wife, Margherita, while he was working on his second opera and first comedy Un giorno di regno (King for a Day). To make matters worse, the opera's premiere was a fiasco. It is removed quickly from the stage, mainly due to the weakness of the libretto and the music. How can one write a comedy when such a catastrophe happens in one’s life? This opera, which was commissioned before the death of his wife, was a complete failure due partly to the extreme grief with which Verdi struggled while composing it, and was deeply affected by this bitter failure. He sought refuge back in his beloved Busseto. The rejected Verdi resolved never to compose again. Deeply depressed and finding it hard to concentrate on his work, Verdi became impoverished. He could only afford to eat one meal a day.
From 1849, he lived in both Busseto and Paris, with Giuseppina Strepponi, a former opera singer who exercised a good influence on him. There he composed the very successful Les Vêpres Siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers), a work that won him the praise of esteemed French composer Hector Berlioz, who was usually very stingy with compliments. Nevertheless, the relationship he had with the singer shocked people in his home province, mainly because of the birth of two illegitimate children. He and Giuseppina would be married ten years later in 1859.
Not long afterward, while leaving a tavern, he bumped into Bartolomeo Merelli, the opera house director who had supported Verdi’s earlier work. He asked him to compose another opera. From this accidental meeting, the great opera Nabucco was born. The night the opera was premiered, March 9, 1842, at La Scala, the audience cheered the composer. Nabucco enjoyed glorious success and carried Verdi's reputation across Italy, Europe, and the New World. The Italians identified with the captivity of the Israelites' situation in the opera with their own dominance by foreigners. The opera’s patriotic chorus 'Va, pensiero' quickly became a national anthem of sorts and Verdi involuntarily became a leading figure in the movement toward a free, united Italy.
In 1847, Verdi composed Macbeth, a Shakespeareinspired opera. He dedicated the score to Barezzi, his first teacher. This opera is generally considered his first great masterpiece. Suffering from nervous tension and various ailments, Verdi was at that time very demanding and frequently quarreled with the management of La Scala. Although his fame had spread far beyond Italy, he hated public life. He continued to live near Busseto and was nicknamed "the bear". The pinnacle of these busy years came between 1851 and 1853 with three of Verdi's most popular operas, the first of which, Rigoletto, was produced in Venice to huge success. In 1853, Il trovatore (The Troubador) premiered in Rome, earning great accolades and just six weeks later La traviata opened in Venice. La traviata's initial success was nothing compared to the previous two but after some revisions, it gained a great deal of support. By the time he was 40, Verdi was the most famous and most frequently performed Italian opera composer in Europe. In 1859, Verdi returned to Rome for the premiere of Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball), which became his biggest success since Il trovatore six years earlier. During this time, it became apparent that war with Austria was just around the corner and Verdi again became not only a 9
symbol of the desire for freedom but a battle cry as well. His name happened to be an acronym for Vittorio Emmanuele, Re d'Italia, the king of Piedmont who would soon become the first king of a united Italy. "Viva V.E.R.D.I." became the most revolutionary and patriotic exclamation in Italy. With his imposed political standing, Verdi was elected to an Assembly in Parma, dedicated to joining with the neighboring province of Piedmont, and by 1861 the unification of Italy was well underway. Verdi was elected to the first Italian parliament where Vittorio Emmanuele II, King of Piedmont, was proclaimed King of Italy. He was not, however, an especially active member and his formal political career was short. After a three-year hiatus from composing, he traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1862 to compose La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny). After that, Verdi devoted most of his time until 1870 to work for the Paris Opera and traveled extensively to Russia, Paris, Madrid and London, supervising productions of his operas. At that time two names stand out on European stages: the German composer Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. Tired from his hectic life, Verdi became absorbed in the agricultural activities on his farm in Sant'Agata. In 1871, he created Aida in Cairo for
the opening of the Suez Canal. This opera was a triumph when it opened two months later at La Scala. In 1872, after the death of the great Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni, he composed a requiem in his memory. It is an immediate triumph across Europe. At over 70 years of age, he wrote two great operas (Otello, 1887 and Falstaff, 1893). At the end of his life, he devoted himself to various charities. In 1897, Giuseppina died; their union lasted for more than fifty years. The composer was very affected by the loss of his beloved wife and his health started to decline. In all, he wrote 26 operas, several in different versions, and lived to the age of 87. In 1901, during a stay in Milan, he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died on January, 17, 1901. The whole country of Italy went into mourning. The composer, who is buried in Milan, asked for a funeral with no music and no singing but, as two hundred thousand people lined the streets for his funeral, it is said that someone in the crowd started to sing "Va, pensiero," the touching air from Nabucco, and soon everyone joined softly in the famous melody. Verdi always remembered and loved his simple country heritage. He never forgot those less fortunate than himself. He supported other struggling artists financially, and upon his death gave all the royalties of his operas to support a home in Milan for elderly opera singers, an accomplishment he hailed as his â&#x20AC;&#x153;most beautiful work.â&#x20AC;? This nursing home exists to this day. Giuseppe Verdi was more than an artist, he embodied the heart and soul of Italy, and Italy loved him! Heir to the lyrical tradition of Italian composers Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Vincenzo Bellini, Verdi was able to adapt to the requirements of modern drama by bringing dramatic power to the qualities of melody and by exploiting the possibilities of the human voice. Like Wagner, another giant of the opera of the time, Verdiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operas were modern and they gave voice to the nineteenth century and beyond.
ALESSANDRO MANZONI Hero and Inspiration by Stephen Trygar
Giuseppe Verdi dedicated the Requiem to Italian writer and playwright Alessandro Manzoni, who is as legendary in the world of language as Verdi is in the world of music. Alessandro Manzoni was born in Milan, Italy on March 7, 1785. His father, Pietro, belonged to a powerful family from northern Italy. His mother, Giulia, was the daughter of the famous writer Cesare Beccaria, who would influence his young grandson to write. Although Manzoni’s family was wealthy and highly successful, his childhood was difficult. At the age of seven, his parents divorced — scandalous at the time because of the deeply religious community. His mother began a relationship with Count Carlo Imbonati, an Italian nobleman. Manzoni continued to live with his father in Milan. Manzoni’s schoolboy days were no easier than his life at home. His teachers and fellow classmates thought he had a learning disability because he was such a poor student, but by the time he turned fifteen, he developed a passion for words and poetry. After his father died, Manzoni joined his mother’s freethinking household in Paris, meeting the writers and philosophers she often hosted. Shortly after his arrival in his mother’s home, he published his first two poems, one of which was an elegy on the death of his mother's lover, Count Imbonati. As part of the inheritance from the Count’s death, Manzoni received a considerable amount of money and his own villa. Manzoni’s life brightened up slightly when he married Henriette Blondel. He dedicated most of his time to writing, and quickly became one of the most prestigious writers. Although Manzoni faced many hardships, his generous and kind personality was never tainted. An example of his selflessness can be found after he was cheated out of his money by a dishonest agent. Even without getting that well-earned money, he canceled the debts of the many peasants who owed him money. In his
writing, he would give many of his characters similar traits in the hopes of passing along positivity throughout the world. Manzoni’s international fame skyrocketed after the publication of his novel The Betrothed (I Manzoni's portrait (1841) by Francesco Hayez promesi sposi). The novel is reminiscent of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but Manzoni’s religious beliefs take an important place in the plot. Later in life, Manzoni edited The Betrothed to fit the political climate of the Risorgimento, a political and social movement to consolidate the many different states into a unified Italy. Manzoni joined the movement, forging a newer Italian language that was more accessible to all Italians people. The Betrothed was Manzoni’s first true attempt at this new version of the Italian language. It was so successful and influential that it started the modern Italian language. Like Verdi, Manzoni found himself to be a national hero, with their works of art inspiring all of Italy. Manzoni’s final years were be some of his most tragic. Within a short period of time, his wife, mother, and several of his children passed away. He would marry again, but several children from this second marriage died as well. The death of his eldest son was the final blow that hastened his own death. Manzoni died of cerebral meningitis after hitting his head on the steps of his church. His funeral was marked with a procession fit for a king, and his death devastated the world, including Giuseppe Verdi, who viewed Manzoni as a hero. 11
W H AT I N T H E W O R L D ? E v e n t s d u r i n g Ve r d i ' s L i f e Listed below are some historic and cultural events that took place during Giuseppe Verdi's lifetime. Events in boldface type are things that happened to Verdi; an asterisk (*) indicates events of local interest.
1813 Giuseppe Verdi was born on October 10 in Le Roncole, a small village near Busseto, Italy. 1816
* The first savings bank in the United States opened in Philadelphia.
1818 Former slave and renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass (d.1895) was born. 1830 Mary Had a Little Lamb was first published by Sarah Josepha Hale. 1832 Verdi failed his Milan Conservatory audition; he began to study independently.
1836 Verdi married Margherita Barezzi, the daughter of his benefactor. 1839 Verdi met famous singer Giuseppina Strepponi in Milan, Italy.
First recorded use of “OK” [oll korrect] in Boston’s Morning Post.
184 0 Verdi’s wife Margherita died shortly after the death of his two small children. 1842 Verdi's Nabucco premiered at La Scala on March 9th. 1845 * Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” was first published. 1847 The first doughnut with a hole in it was created. 1848 Verdi bought the Sant’Agata estate near Busseto, a vast property rich in woods, vineyards and
water, which became his refuge, source of inspiration.
California’s Gold Rush began.
1850 * The Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, the first medical school for women, opened. 1851 Verdi’s mother died. 1852- Verdi composed some of his most successful operas including Rigoletto, Il trovatore, 62 La traviata, and A Masked Ball. 1853 Levi Strauss began selling tough pants to California gold miners for $13.50 a dozen. 1857 * Philadelphia’s Academy of Music opens with a concert conducted by Tchaikovsky. 1859 Verdi married soprano Giuseppina Strepponi. 1861 Verdi elected to Parliament under the Liberal Party and Italy unites as a republic.
American Civil War began. It ended in 1865.
1862 First United States paper money was issued in
denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000.
1865 The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes
slavery throughout the United States.
Here's what the f irst dollar bill looked like.
1869 * Charles Elmer Hires sold his first root beer in Philadelphia. 12
1870 * The first section of the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ, opened to the public. 1871 Verdi’s opera Aïda premiered triumphantly in Cairo, Egypt. 1872 * The Republican National Convention, the first major political party convention to include African
Americans, was held in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music.
1874 First performance of the Verdi Requiem, written in tribute to Alessandro Manzoni.
* The first United States zoo opened in Philadelphia.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call. 1877 * The first department store opened in Philadelphia by John Wanamaker. 1878 United States Supreme court ruled that race separation on trains was unconstitutional.
1880 * Rodin created his sculpture The Thinker, a version of which is in Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum.
1881 The Tuskegee Institute was founded in Alabama by former slave Booker T.
Booker T. Washington
1882 The first string of Christmas tree lights was created by Thomas Edison. 1884 America’s first roller coaster began operating at Coney Island, NYC. It hit a top speed of 6 mph. 1887 Verdi’s opera Otello, based on the play by Shakespeare, premiered at La Scala. 1893 Verdi’s Falstaff was presented at Milan’s La Scala theater. * Philadelphia observed the first Flag Day.
The Ferris Wheel was introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago by George Ferris.
The San Andreas Fault in California was detected.
1894 * Milton Hershey (1857-1945) founded Hershey Foods in Pennsylvania. 1895 Frederick E. Blaisdell patented the pencil. 1896 The United States Supreme Court ruled 7 to 1 to give states the authority to segregate people racially.
1897 Verdi’s second wife Giuseppina Strepponi died on November 14. * World-renowned singer and civil rights pioneer Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia.
1898 * Paul Robeson (d.1976), athlete, actor, and singer, was born in Princeton, NJ.
1901 * The first annual Mummers parade was held in Philadelphia.
Verdi died at the Grand Hotel in Milan, Italy, at age 87, after spending Christmas with his dear friends.
H I STO RY O F T H E Ve r d i R e q u i e m by Dr. Lily Kass
Before Verdi composed a requiem in 1874 to honor poet Alessandro Manzoni, he organized a requiem to honor composer Gioachino Rossini, who died in 1868 at 76. This Messa per Rossini would influence portion's of Verdi's own Messa da Requiem for Manzoni. Rossini had been a major figure in the opera world, writing such popular comic operas as The Barber of Seville (1816) along with serious works like William Tell (1829). Rossini virtually stopped composing forty years before he died, and he did not compose any operas during that period. Many people around the world had been hoping he would start to compose again, and they mourned his death. Giuseppe Verdi, who, like Rossini, had also based his career on writing operas, wanted to pay his respects to Rossini and to honor his memory. Since writing music was the main way he expressed himself, Verdi decided to write a piece of music for Rossini: a requiem mass. A requiem is a Christian religious ceremony to remember the dead and ask for the souls of the dead to be put to rest. The text of the requiem is often set to music, and Verdi decided that a musical setting of the requiem should be written in honor of Rossini. Verdi did not want to write this requiem by himself. He knew that other Italian composers were also sad to hear about the death of their predecessor and role model, and he wanted them all to be able to write the requiem together. Each composer would write one section of the requiem. Italy had recently been unified, and it was an especially patriotic time for Italy. Verdi therefore didn’t want any foreign composers to participate, even if he liked their music. He thought it was important that the life of Rossini, a quintessentially Italian composer, would be celebrated in music by Italians. Thirteen composers ended up participating: Antonio Buzzolla, Antonio Bazzini, Carlo Pedrotti, Antonio Cagnoni, Federico Ricci, Alessandro 14
Verdi organized several composers to write a requiem in honor of composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) in 1874.
Nini, Raimondo Boucheron, Carlo Coccia, Gaetano Gaspari, Pietro Platania, Lauro Rossi, Teodulo Mabellini, and of course Verdi, who wrote the section “Libera Me,” the final movement of a requiem's text. Although the Requiem written in honor of Rossini was completed, it was never performed. Verdi had a lot of ideas about how to make the performance of the Requiem perfect, and he set up so many rules and regulations around exactly how the work should be composed and performed that he accidentally made the performance impossible! Verdi wanted the Requiem to be performed in a particular church in Bologna, and only on the anniversary of Rossini’s death. He didn’t want anyone to be able to make any money from the work, so he insisted that the composers and performers donate their time, and he suggested that they and others should also donate the money to fund other aspects of the work’s performance and publication. Verdi even said that after the work was performed it should be sealed up and put away, only to be brought out for
other anniversaries of Rossini’s death. This was a Requiem that was supposed to be only for Rossini, and for no one else. The mass was thought to be lost, but Messa per Rossini, as it was called, was rediscovered in the mid-20th century and performed for the first time in 1988. Since then, it has been performed and recorded a few times, but is not very popular because, as Verdi predicted when he first envisioned the project, it didn’t hold together as a single piece of music. Thirteen composers working separately on their own movements and not talking to each other or collaborating at all meant that each movement sounds different from every other movement. It is a kind of musical Frankenstein! Verdi never really wanted to write a full requiem himself. In fact, when someone commented on how beautiful his “Libera Me” was for the Messa per Rossini, Verdi confessed that he felt tempted to expand it into a full requiem of his own, but concluded: “I do not like useless things. There are so many, many Requiem Masses!!! It is useless to add one more.” Why were there so many requiems? Masses to celebrate the dead began to be sung as early as the 2nd century. At first, they were chants that were relatively simple, that a group of men could sing all together at the same time. In the beginning of the 15th century, composers decided that although requiems were solemn, they could be made more beautiful with more complex choral writing. requiems eventually became very grand and beautiful pieces of music in which composers showed off all of their skill using instrumental music and vocal music (a choir and also sometimes solo singers). There are many different movements in a requiem (See the article “The Structure of Verdi’s Requiem.”), and so composers had room to demonstrate various different musical techniques and styles. The text of the Requiem is very evocative, meaning that it talks about many things that readers or listeners can picture vividly in their minds. In the midst of asking for eternal rest for
the souls of the dead and asking God for mercy, it talks about trumpets being sounded, (See the article “Tuba Mirum.”), judges seated on high thrones, fire and ashes, sheep and goats, praying and groaning and silence. This text calls out to be illustrated using music, and many composers over the centuries have answered. Some of the most famous requiems that were written before Verdi wrote his were by Ockeghem, Mozart (who died before he could finish the work), Cherubini, Berlioz, Bruckner, and Brahms. Requiems are still being composed today. Despite the overabundance of requiems, which Verdi very much acknowledged, the composer finally did decide to write one himself. One of his favorite authors, Alessandro Manzoni, the author of I promessi sposi (The Betrothed) had died, and he wanted to honor his memory. Verdi had seen Manzoni and Rossini as two outstanding examples of the glory of Italy at a time in which he thought Italian politics was too tumultuous and that Italian art was the country’s greatest triumph. The death of both figures in just a few years was a crushing blow. In addition, Verdi was in the middle of a self-imposed break from writing operas. Verdi wrote Aida in 1871, but he didn’t write another opera until Otello in 1887. Why should we be glad that Verdi broke down and decided to write a requiem? Verdi was an experienced opera composer, and as such he knew how to create big effects with an orchestra and voices. Verdi’s Requiem is therefore very exciting and dramatic. Hans van Bülow, a German composer, conductor, and pianist, called Verdi’s Requiem “[Verdi’s] latest opera in ecclesiastical garb.” Or in other words, it is an opera that should be performed in a theater pretending to be a piece of sacred music performed in a church. The Requiem pulls us in and then holds our attention even without any staging, costumes or even characters. Verdi used his experience writing opera and his strong, patriotic feelings about honoring the legacies of the Italian artists Rossini and Manzoni to create a work that is at times frightening, at times peaceful, but always engaging. 15
I TA LY U N I T E S A S A N AT I O N D u r i n g Ve r d i ' s L i f e t i m e Giuseppe Verdi was born in 1813 in a small village in what is now northern Italy. The peninsula was not the Italy we know today. The area where Verdi was born was under French rule during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. Verdi's birth certificate was written in French, but he died in Milan in a unified Italy in 1901. The Risorgimento (the Resurgence) was a movement for the liberation and political unification of Italy, beginning about 1750 and lasting until 1870. In 1796, France under Napoleon Bonaparte ended the Austrian presence in Italy and divided the peninsula into three principal parts. Napoleon carved out his own personal “kingdom of Italy” from much of northern and central Italy. Essentially, Italy existed as a foreign colony of the French empire. In 1815, after Napoleon fell from power, the country of Italy found itself divided by the powers that defeated Napoleon (Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria) into little states by the peace settlement of Vienna. While each state was under a different conquering country’s rule, Austria controlled the largest number of states. Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria wanted to restore Europe to the way it was before Napoleon came into power. They rejected the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, fraternity, and equality, and instead re-instituted the Restoration ideals of absolutism, tradition, and authority, which suppressed all revolutionary movements. The Restoration came at a difficult time for Italy. It was a period of economic depression with food shortages and high unemployment. The revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini realized that in order for Italy to become a republic, it had to bridge the gaps of the lower class
and the intellectuals who were a part of the Enlightenment. However inspiring his ideas were, Mazzini was not a military strategist. This role was filled by Count Camilio Cavour (1810-1861) and Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). Cavour is generally regarded as the chief political architect of Italian unification, while Garibaldi’s successes on the battlefield earned him a high regard in Italian military records. Working separately, they carried out the political and military work that led to a unified Italy. Piedmont, also known as the kingdom of Sardinia, was the only Italian state with a free press, an elected parliament, and a liberal constitution. Under the leadership of Cavour, Piedmont initiated diplomatic negotiations with the French, which led to a series of Austrian defeats on the battlefield. To motivate the country to unite, the people of Italy named Victor Emmanuel II as king. Giuseppe Verdi's name just happened to match the letters of the revolutionary cry, "Viva V.E.R.D.I.," (for Victor Emmanuel Re d'Italia). So Verdi became a national hero and the chorus from his opera Nabucco, “Va, pensiero, ” became the revolutionary song. It wasn’t until 1861 that Italy became a republic. In May 1860, Garibaldi and a thousand volunteers (all wearing red shirts) sailed from Genoa, landed in Sicily, and claimed the island in the name of Victor Emmanuel. In September, moving to the mainland, Garibaldi entered and claimed Naples. His forces merged with the army of Victor Emmanuel, but his intention of taking Rome had to be postponed. Cavour then summoned Italy’s first national parliament. On March 17, 1861, Victor Emmanuel, the king of Piedmont, was proclaimed the new king of Italy. Verdi was elected to the first Italian parliament for the Liberal party. In 1866, Austria gave up Venice and in 1870 the Republic of Italy was formed with Rome as its capital.
To see an animated map outlining Italy's unif ication, visit: https://tinyurl.com/unif ied-italy.
REQUIEM AETERNAM A Stor y in Music by Michael Bolton
The cellos exhale a hushed, sorrowful groan like someone’s last breath. It’s a sound so quiet, you’re not sure if the performance has started. The full orchestra begins to whisper as the chorus chants “Requiem aeternam” (Grant them eternal rest) devoutly. Then, like a beam of light, the soloists enter, one by one, triumphant, astonished, and in adoration. The music is filled with grandeur as the chorus joins the soloists excitedly, as all continue their prayer, “Kyrie eleison” (Have mercy upon us). That’s the beginning of Giuseppe Verdi's Messa da Requiem, a concert work for four soloists, double chorus, and orchestra written in memory of the Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni (see page 11). While he was not a religious man, Verdi filled this work with an emotional impact that even the written description above makes the work sound dramatic. The Requiem’s text comes from the Roman Catholic liturgy and is a mass to honor those who have died. This mass has inspired countless musical settings as far back as the 1300s. The oldest surviving complete requiem was composed in 1461 by Johannes Ockeghem. The Mass inspires composers today, too. One of the most recent requiems is by British composer Cecilia McDowall, whose Da Vinci Requiem, honoring the quincentennial of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death, premiered at Royal Festival Hall in London, England, on May 7, 2019. It’s no wonder that the requiem’s dramatic text has been popular choice for composers to set to music. There are limitless possibilities to explore both the heights of salvation and depths of damnation. Yet, unlike an opera which has various characters and a plot, sets and costumes, Verdi's Requiem is almost the opposite of an opera. There are no characters and there’s no conflict needing Verdi Requiem
Opening Moment https://tinyurl.com/OP-requiem
resolution. There are no sets or costumes, either (performers are dressed in concert attire: suits and gowns). Still, Verdi examines various stages of mourning as our “protagonists”, consisting of soloists, chorus, and orchestra, move through various emotional states — solemnity, grief, fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, denial, desire for salvation, and acceptance. Verdi’s drama unfolds musically and keeps attendees engaged through the very end. Before penning his own full Requiem, Verdi organized the composition of a musical death mass in 1869 in honor of Gioachino Rossini. Twelve other now-obscure Italian composers each set a section of the text to honor the master. Due to logistical challenges the Messa per Rossini was not premiered and feared lost until it was discovered in 1970 by musicologist David Rosen. The premiere of this requiem waited until 1988. For Giuseppe Verdi, it was an opportunity to honor a personal hero in Manzoni and to create his own “story” with some of the most “operatic” music ever written. Verdi’s drama unfolds musically and keeps attendees engaged through the very end; the audience wants to hear how this story ends. What are some of the tools that Verdi uses to create his story? First and foremost, he uses a large orchestra of over 80 players, alternating the quietest of music with the biggest, most terrifying sounds imaginable. The orchestra adds to the terror and fear inherent in the text at dramatic moments. Two instruments in particular play an important role in creating the drama: the trumpet and the timpani, also known as kettledrums. The timpani Verdi Requiem
Sed signifer sanctus https://tinyurl.com/OP-sed-requiem
provide plenty of drama when they sound like a thunderclap during the terrifying "Dies Irae" (Day of Wrath, pronounced DEE-es EE-ray) section which appears several times throughout the work. The abrupt striking of the kettledrums catches the audience by surprise, particularly after quieter orchestral passages. The trumpet can announce the oncoming glory or a fanfare of doom, depending on the moment. To learn more about the trumpet and timpani, visit pages 36 and 31. Inasmuch as Verdi’s orchestra can be terrifying, it can be serene as well. One peaceful moment comes in the Offertorio section, the third part of the Requiem. Over the span of almost 20 seconds, the soprano soloists holds a note that floats in the air on the word sed, which means “and” or “but”. The violins underneath her play a soaring, ethereal melody that, much like the thundering of the timpani, surprises the audience unexpectedly in its gracefulness. The Requiem has multiple moments of serenity like that throughout the work. Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the work comes in the last 15 minutes when the soprano has a full operatic scene, "Libera Me." The audience can hear her internal conflict as she works through her emotions, almost in conversation with a heavenly choir and full orchestra. What’s fascinating is that Verdi brilliantly examines just two lines of text through various emotions.
- Deliver me, Lord from the eternal death on that dreadful day in the heavens and the earth; when you judge the world by fire.
- I am seized with fear and trembling until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come, when the heavens and the earth are moved.
A copy of the f irst printing of the Verdi Requiem score.
The soprano begins rather angrily, demanding that she be rescued from eternal death and by the very end, she has resigned herself to her own fate. Throughout this final movement of the Requiem, we see the gamut of emotions from anger, fear, penitence, and piousness. In the end, she almost welcomes her own death with a hushed serenity. The scene is as emotionally exhausting for the singers as it is for the audience. Verdi uses his orchestra, chorus, and singers, to tell a story filled with whirlwind emotions. The story begins and ends in the same hush. Yet, if we begin with a sense of profound loss, move through terror and anger, we end with the sense of eternal peace. While it’s not a typical operatic plot with conflict and resolution, we still have been part of a story all told through music.
THE ARCHITECTURE of the Requiem by Dr. Lily Kass
INTRODUCTION: THE REQUIEM’S TEXT
A requiem is a Christian ceremony for remembering someone who has died. It is normally recited or sung in a church. Over the years, many composers have set the text of the requiem to music in such a grand way that these pieces are equally at home in a concert hall as in a church service. Verdi’s Requiem is one of these pieces, and although it was premiered at the Church of San Marco in Milan, it went on to be performed in concert halls all over the world. However, the Requiem still contains all of the main sections of the requiem text that would have been necessary for the church ceremony. There are seven main sections, or movements, in Verdi’s Requiem, and they all have different purposes. The text doesn’t exactly tell a story, but it does have a clear progression. SECTION
Dies irae (Repeat)
Quid sum miser
Yes (Soprano, Mezzosoprano, Tenor)
Yes (Soprano, Mezzosoprano)
Dies irae (repeat)
Domine, Jesu Christe
Yes (Split into two choirs)
Yes (Split into two choirs)
Yes (Soprano, Mezzosoprano)
Yes (Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Bass)
Dies irae (repeat)
Requiem aeternam (repeat)
Introit Dies Irae
M O V E M E N T 1:
The first movement contains the Introit, or “Introduction” to the Requiem, which contains the main idea and purpose of the piece: to ask God to give eternal rest to the souls of the dead. It also includes the "Kyrie," the only part of the Requiem text that is not in Latin. This Greek text asks God for mercy.
M O V E M E N T 7:
The final movement is the Libera Me, which means “Deliver me (from eternal death)” It refers back to the "Dies Irae," imagining again the horror of the day of wrath, before ending where the whole Requiem began, asking for eternal rest to be granted to the souls of the dead. Like the "Dies Irae", it is written in the first person.
MOVEME NT 2:
REPETITION AND CONTRAST
The next movement of the Requiem is the Dies Irae, which means “day of wrath.” This movement has the longest text, and it focuses on Judgment Day, a day when Christians believe all people will come before God to be judged on how they have behaved throughout their lives. The text describes in great detail exactly what Judgment Day will be like: God will be sitting on a throne with a book containing information about everything everyone has ever done, and people will tremble before Him as a trumpet sounds (See the article about the section “Tuba Mirum” on page 38). The text then goes into a first-person narrative, with the author imagining how they will feel in that moment and begging for God to remember them, forgive them, and grant them peace.
The Requiem text comes full circle, but along the way there are descriptions of terrifying experiences, heartfelt requests for forgiveness, praise of God, and images of the souls of the dead in a happy, light-filled place. Verdi took the structure of this text and built his music around it, highlighting the contrasts in the text and tying similar ideas together with musical repetition.
MOVEME NT 3:
The third movement is the Offertory, a prayer that asks God to save the souls of the dead from Hell, which is described as “the bottomless pit,” “the lion’s mouth,” and “darkness,” and bring them to the “holy light.” MOVEME NT 4:
The fourth movement is the Sanctus, which quotes angels singing the praises of God. MOVEME NT 5:
The fifth movement is the Agnus Dei, which is addressed to the “Lamb of God,” another name for Jesus, asking Him to grant rest to the souls of the dead. MOVEME NT 6:
The sixth movement is the Lux Aeterna, which asks God to shine an “eternal light” on the souls of the dead, and for them to be at rest with the saints, who are particularly holy people.
The central contrast in the Requiem is between the idea of peaceful, eternal rest and the idea of a terrifying day of judgment. How are these two ideas different? First of all, rest is quiet and does not involve much movement, and the day of judgment is loud with a lot of different things going on all at once — complete with a trumpet call! Rest is private, but the day of judgment is public. Rest is pleasant and relaxing, while the day of judgment is terrifying. If we look at Verdi’s "Introit" to his Requiem, which talks about eternal rest, we see that Verdi indeed chooses to set this text as softly as possible. String instruments play, but all with mutes on. (Mutes are special additions to the instruments that prevent them from getting too loud.) Then the lower voices in the choir, tenors and basses, sing the first two words, but Verdi instructs them to sing sotto voce, which means “in a whisper.” Next, the higher voices sing the same words on the same notes, also whispered. When all of the voice parts sing “requiem aeternam” together, Verdi writes “as soft as possible.” Then, even that is not soft enough for him so he cuts down the choir to just four soprano voices, who sing “dona eis domine,”or “give to us, God,” in a way that sounds like sighing or sobbing, with pauses between each word and a downward gesture in 21
the notes. The strings in the orchestra play long notes, supporting the voices, and the orchestra even stops playing entirely for a few moments, leaving the voices to sing by themselves. If we compare this to the opening of the “Dies Irae,” we see that there couldn’t be a bigger contrast. The entire orchestra enters at the dynamic fortissimo, or very loud. The tempo, or speed of the music, is also faster than it has been so far in the Requiem. Again, the lower voices of the choir enter first, but they are soon joined by the higher voices, which sound like they are wailing or even screaming. The string and woodwind instruments play very fast downward scales, which create a scared and frantic feeling like falling into the dark. We read in the description of Movement 7 that the "Dies Irae" text repeats in the final movement, "Libera Me." Verdi also brings back these words and the music he associates with them at a few other points in the Requiem. In fact, it is as if the idea of a day of judgment haunts the Requiem, bursting through at unexpected moments, and never far from the surface. CO N T R A S T S T H RO U G H C H O R A L MUS I C
In order to talk more in depth about how Verdi creates contrasts in the Requiem, like the one we have noticed between the "Introit" and the "Dies Irae," we need to take a step back and remember what resources Verdi had at his disposal. Verdi had a very big orchestra, of about one hundred players. (See page 32 for more details about the orchestra.) He also had a very large chorus, of more than one hundred singers. The choir needed to be bigger than the orchestra so that the voices could be heard on top of all of the loud orchestra, since engineers were still working on inventing an effective technology for amplifying voices. Verdi can do a lot of different things with so many singers, even without the use of technology. One thing he can have them do is to all sing the same notes at the same time all together, so that it almost sounds like one voice. This texture is called monophony. It is the texture that you hear if all of your friends sing you “Happy Birthday” 22
all together as a group. This might seem like the easiest kind of music for Verdi to write, but he doesn’t use monophony all that much in the Requiem, so when he does it sounds special. You can listen for a monophonic texture when the chorus sings the words “Libera animas omnium fidelium…,” a line which means “Deliver the souls of all the faithful departed…” in Movement 3, the Offertory. In having the chorus sing all together as one voice here, Verdi makes this moment of prayer very direct and persuasive.
Verdi uses homophonic writing more often. This is where the different voice parts in the chorus (sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses) sing the same words in the same rhythm at the same time, but they sing different notes, creating harmonies. This is probably like a lot of music you might sing in your school’s chorus or that you might hear when a hymn is sung in a church service. Some parts of the "Dies Irae", Movement 2, are sung in homophony. The final choral texture Verdi uses is polyphonic writing. This means that the different sections of the chorus sing at different times from one another, with their notes overlapping but not lining up. This can be done in a very organized way. For example, try singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with one of your classmates. After you sing “stream,” keep singing while one of your friends starts the song from the beginning. This is a round, or a canon, just like the one that can be found in Movement 1, the "Introit" movement of Verdi’s Requiem. This is powerful because we hear different groups of people singing separately but ultimately coming together.
music that is this long, it creates an extremely surprising effect when it stops playing. It makes us as listeners do a double-take. We say, “Wait! What is happening? Where did the orchestra go?” Verdi does this for the first time in Movement 1, the "Introit," on the words “Te decet hymnus deus in Sion,” a phrase that means “You are praised, God, in Zion.” This is the same phrase you see pictured in our polyphony example at the bottom of the page. Verdi has the choir emphasize these CONTR ASTS THROUGH VOCAL SOLOISTS words by singing unaccompanied by the orchestra. In addition to the choir, Verdi’s Requiem has four In this way, we can imagine that the voices we vocal soloists: one soprano, one mezzo-soprano, hear are not the voices coming from the singers on one tenor, and one bass. With this group of people, the concert stage in front of us, but instead that Verdi was able to do many different things just by they are the voices of people in ancient, Biblical changing the combinations of who is performing times, singing in Zion — where one hundred at what point in the piece. For example, in some piece orchestras didn’t yet exist. Listen for other sections Verdi chooses to have only the chorus instances of a capella singing and think about why sing -- for example at the start of Movement 2, Verdi chose to have the singers sing alone at those the "Dies Irae." In some sections, Verdi chooses times. to have only the soloists sing — for example in Movement 3, the "Offertory" and in other sections, C O N C L U S I O N like the "Kyrie" in Movement 1, Verdi has the Verdi uses all these techniques so that he can orchestra and chorus sing together. He also make his music fit the text of the Requiem. When decides whether his soloists sing by themselves or the text changes mood or talks about something as a group. Listen for solos with only one singer new, his music changes along with it. The fact singing, but also different variations of duets (with that there are so many changes can contribute to a two singers) and trios (with three singers). How general feeling of uncertainty — we don’t always many combinations are possible with four soloists? know what is going to happen next in the music, Does Verdi use them all? just like we don’t always know what is going to CONTR ASTS THROUGH ORCHESTR AL ACCOM PA N I M E N T
An even bigger contrast that Verdi can create with these resources is having the singers sing a cappella, or without the orchestra. When the orchestra plays throughout most of a piece of
happen next in life. But with the few moments of repetition that Verdi does include, and with the overall feeling that everyone — chorus members, soloists, orchestral musicians, and audience members — are experiencing the same situations together, the Verdi Requiem feels whole and complete.
REQUIEM A r t i s t s a n d Te x t Final Dress Rehearsal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Thursday, January 30, 2020, 7:00 p.m. at the Academy of Music. Music by Giuseppe Verdi. Performed in Latin with English supertitles.
Leah Crocetto soprano
Daniela Mack mezzo-soprano
Evan LeRoy Johnson tenor
In-Sung Sim* bass
Corrado Rovaris conductor
Elizabeth Braden chorus master
S T A G E M A N A G E R 24
Lisa Anderson *Opera Philadelphia debut
I. REQUIEM AND KYRIE
I. REQUIEM AND KYRIE
Chorus: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis. Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. Exaudi orationem meam: ad te omnis caro veniet.
Chorus: Grant them eternal rest, O Lord; and may perpetual light shine upon them. A hymn in Zion befits you, O God, and a debt will be paid to you in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer: all earthly flesh will come to you.
Quartet and Chorus: Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
Quartet and Chorus: Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.
Chorus: Dies irae, dies illa, solvet saeclum in favilla, teste David cum Sibylla. Quantus tremor est futurus, quando judex est venturus, cuncta stricte discussurus!
Chorus: The day of wrath, that day will dissolve the world in ashes, as David and the Sibyl prophesied. How great will be the terror, when the Judge comes who will smash everything completely!
Tuba mirum spargens sonum, per sepulcra regionem, coget omnes ante thronum.
The trumpet, scattering a marvelous sound through the tombs of every land, will gather all before the throne.
Bass: Mors stupebit et natura, cum resurget creatura, judicanti responsura.
Bass: Death and Nature shall stand amazed, when all Creation rises again to answer to the Judge.
Mezzo-soprano and Chorus: Liber scriptus proferetur, Dies irae! in quo totum continetur, unde mundus judicetur. Dies irae! Judex ergo cum sedebit, quidquid latet apparebit: Dies irae! nil inultum remanebit. Dies irae, dies illa, solvet saeclum in favilla, teste David cum Sibylla.
Mezzo-soprano and Chorus: A written book will be brought forth, which contains everything for which the world will be judged. Therefore when the Judge takes His seat, whatever is hidden will be revealed: nothing shall remain unavenged. The day of wrath, that day will dissolve the world in ashes, as David and Sibyl prophesied.
Soprano, Mezzo-soprano and Tenor: Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus, cum vix justus sit securus?
Soprano, Mezzo-soprano and Tenor: What can a wretch like me say? Whom shall I ask to intercede for me, when even the just ones are unsafe?
Solo Quartet and Chorus: Rex tremendae majestatis, qui salvandos salvas gratis: salva me, fons pietas.
Solo Quartet and Chorus: King of dreadful majesty. who freely saves the redeemed ones, save me, O font of pity.
Soprano and Mezzo-soprano: Recordare, Jesu pie, quod sum causa tuae viae: ne me perdas illa die. Quaerens me, sedisti lassus;
Soprano and Mezzo-soprano: Recall, merciful Jesus, that I was the reason for your journey: do not destroy me on that day. In seeking me, you sat down wearily;
redemisti crucem pacem: tantus labor non sit causas. Juste judex ultionis: donum fac remissionis ante diem rationis.
enduring the Cross, you redeemed me: do not let these pains to have been in vain. Just Judge of punishment: give me the gift of redemption before the day of reckoning.
Tenor: Ingemisco tamquam reus, culpa rubet vultus meus; supplicanti parce, Deus. Qui Mariam absolvisti, et latronem exaudisti, mihi quoque spem dedisti. Preces meae non sunt digne, sed tu, bonus, fac benigne, ne perenni cremer igne. Inter oves locum praesta, et ab haedis me sequestra, statuens in parte dextra.
Tenor: I groan as a guilty one, and my face blushes with guilt; spare the supplicant, O God. You, who absolved Mary Magdalen, and heard the prayer of the thief, have given me hope, as well. My prayers are not worthy, but show mercy, O benevolent one, lest I burn forever in fire. Give me a place among the sheep, and separate me from the goats, placing me on your right hand.
Bass and Chorus: Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis, voca me cum benedictis. Oro supplex et acclinis, cor contritum quasi cinis: gere curam mei finis.
Bass and Chorus: When the damned are silenced, and given to the fierce flames, call me with the blessed ones. I pray, suppliant and kneeling, with a heart contrite as ashes: take my ending into your care.
Chorus: Dies irae, dies illa, solvet saeclum in favilla, teste David cum Sibylla.
Chorus: The day of wrath, that day will dissolve the world in ashes, as David and the Sibyl prophesied.
Solo Quartet and Chorus: Lacrymosa dies illa, qua resurget ex favilla, judicandus homo reus. Huic ergo parce, Deus. Pie Jesu Domine: dona eis requiem. Amen
Solo Quartet and Chorus: That day is one of weeping, on which shall rise from the ashes the guilty man, to be judged. Therefore, spare this one, O God. Merciful Lord Jesus: grant them peace. Amen.
Solo Quartet: Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae: libera animas omnium fidelum defunctorum de poenis inferni et profondo lacu; libera eas de ore leonis; ne absorbeat eas tartarus, ne cadant in obscurum. Sed signifer sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam. Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus.
Solo Quartet: O Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory: deliver the souls of all the faithful dead from the pains of hell and from the deep pit; deliver them from the mouth of the lion; that hell may not swallow them, and that they may not fall into darkness. But may the holy standard-bearer Michael show them the holy light; which you promised to Abraham and his descendants.
Hostias et preces tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus. Tu suscipe pro animabus illis, quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
We offer to you, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers. Receive them on behalf of those souls whom we commemorate today.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam, quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus. Libera animas omnium fidelum defunctorum de poenis inferni; fac eas de morte transire ad vitam.
Grant, O Lord, that they pass from death into that life you promised to Abraham and his descendants. Deliver the souls of all the faithful dead from the pains of hell; Grant that they might pass from death into that life.
I V. SA N C T U S
I V. SA N C T U S
Double Chorus: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis! Benedictus qui venit in nomini Domini. Hosanna in excelsis!
Double Chorus: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!
V. AG N U S D E I
V. AG N U S D E I
Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Chorus: Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.
Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Chorus: Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them rest. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them rest everlasting.
VI. LUX AETERNA
VI. LUX AETERNA
Mezzo-soprano, Tenor and Bass: Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternam; quia pius es. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis, cum sanctis tuis in aeternam; quia pius es.
Mezzo-soprano, Tenor and Bass: Let eternal light shine upon them, O Lord, with your saints forever; for you are merciful. Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them with your saints forever; for you are merciful.
VII. LIBERA ME
VII. LIBERA ME
Soprano and Chorus: Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda; quando coeli movendi sunt et terra: dum veneris judicare saeclum per ignem. Tremens factus sum ego et timeo, dum discussio venerit atque ventura irae, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
Soprano and Chorus: Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that awful day, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved: when you will come to judge the world by fire. I tremble, and I fear the judgment and the wrath to come, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
Dies irae, dies illa calamitatis et miseriae; dies magna et amara valde.
The day of wrath, that day of calamity and misery; a great and bitter day, indeed.
Requiem aeternam, dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda. Libera me, Domine, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra; dum veneris judicare saeclum per ignem. Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda. Libera me.
Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death on that awful day. Deliver me, O Lord, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved; when you will come to judge the world by fire. Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death on that awful day. Deliver me.
M E E T T H E M A E ST R O : Cor rado Rovaris by Dr. Karl Janowitz
Opera Philadelphia’s music director and conductor for the Requiem is Corrado Rovaris. Out of respect for the position, conductors are called "Maestro." Born in Bergamo, Italy, Maestro Rovaris studied organ and composition at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Milan, after which he served as assistant chorus master at the most famous opera house in Italy, Teatro alla Scala (Milan) from 1992 until 1996. He began conducting by accident! The scheduled conductor at La Scala had become sick and there was no substitute available, so Maestro Rovaris made his conducting debut. From this accidental beginning, the maestro soon began appearing at the important Italian opera houses in Milan, Venice, and Rome. His career began to grow outside of Italy and soon he was conducting in Lyon, France; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Tokyo, Japan. Maestro made his American debut with the Opera Philadelphia in 1999 with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. He quickly became a company regular. After appearing with Opera Philadelphia three times, Maestro Rovaris was invited to become the company’s music director. Although he initially refused, after the third invitation he accepted. And the rest, as they say, is history. This season marks Maestro Rovaris’ 20th anniversary with Opera Philadelphia, and his 15th year as music director. Since his debut with the Opera, he’s conducted 263 performances of 53 productions, including two world premieres: Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD and Elizabeth Cree. In preparing for the company’s annual opera festival he spoke to Opera Philadelphia about his early days here in the city: “after that first day, I started loving being here, and loving the people here…it was also a surprise to see such a beautiful opera house, the Academy of Music.” Most of the Maestro’s performances have taken place in the 2,509-seat Academy of Music, which he always thought “was a wonderful opera house, 28
but too big for introducing new repertoire.” He talked about the how Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, at 600 seats, is perfect for new works, especially American opera, which he feels help build a new audience. New works are incredibly important to Maestro Rovaris and Opera Philadelphia. Since 2011, the company has performed fifteen new operas, several of which have been conducted by the maestro. Many of these works have been performed in the Perelman Theater. Maestro Rovaris sees his work as building a link between the past repertoire of opera, to the present and the future. Verdi’s Requiem has special meaning to him because he was chorus master at La Scala and it was written for La Scala’s chorus. He recalled performing the piece in San Marco, the church in Milan where it was performed the first time. "To do it in Philadelphia, with my chorus and my orchestra, is very moving for me,” Maestro said, “and important for them — and an opportunity for the audience to hear something important in the history of music.” To him, a piece like the Requiem is to be respected because the music is “there forever.”
VERDI REQUIEM: The Chorus
by Elizabeth Braden, Opera Philadelphia Chorus Master
The chorus for the Verdi Requiem is made up of 100 singers. This will be the largest chorus Opera Philadelphia has had on the Academy of Music stage in many years — perhaps one of the largest ever. A large chorus is very exciting but putting together that many singers also had its challenges. A “big” chorus show for Opera Philadelphia is normally between 60-70 people. You might have seen one of our large-chorus operas in the past few years like Carmen (60 choristers); Turandot (68 choristers); and Nabucco (72 choristers). Even our largest on that list — Nabucco with 72 choristers — is still 28 fewer people than we will have onstage for the Verdi Requiem. That’s like adding another chorus to an already large chorus! To find so many singers who were up to our standards and who were available for this time period, I had to hold several auditions. Between March and May of 2019, we heard almost 60 singers audition in person for the Opera Philadelphia Chorus. Between those auditions, our current roster of singers, as well as other extra singers we have used in the past, I was able to put together a final roster of 100 singers for this concert. Since this performance is a concert, and not a fully staged opera, there are some big differences in how the chorus prepared for it. For any opera or concert, the first step is always to learn the music, and then to work on the details: dynamics (how loud or soft we sing); the text (learning to pronounce the words correctly, especially when they aren’t in English); the meaning (translating the Latin into English so everyone knows what they are singing about); and the different sounds or colors for different sections of the piece (just like an artist uses different colors to paint, singers use different vocal colors to ‘paint’ the meanings of the music). For a concert, once we do this, our job is almost done — then we need to work with the orchestra to put it all together. For a staged opera, after
learning the music we also need to memorize it, and then we need to learn all the staging or blocking, which Opera Philadelphia Chorus Master Elizabeth Braden in rehearsal. includes where people stand on the stage, what movements or choreography they may do, how they interact with other characters, basically how they tell the story of the opera. For the Requiem concert, we are telling the "story" only with the music, since there is no staging or blocking, just the singers and instrumentalists working using the music to speak to the audience. While I have grown to love the entire Requiem, there are two parts for the chorus that are my favorites. The first is probably the most famous part of the Requiem, the “Dies Irae” — even people who don’t think they know the Verdi Requiem have probably heard this music in a movie or on TV. It is loud, and exciting, and a bit terrifying — which is as it should be, because what the chorus is singing about is a terrible day of wrath that is coming, in which the entire world will be dissolved into ashes. This music repeats several times throughout the piece, and every time it is a powerful moment. The other section which is one of my favorites is the “Sanctus.” This movement is for what we call double choir — which means the 100 singers are divided into two choirs of 50 people each, and both choirs sing different music. This music is almost the opposite of the “Dies Irae” — instead of being terrifying and dramatic, the “Sanctus” is dance-like and playful, with different vocal lines weaving in and out of each other to create a joyful movement in the midst of the more somber Requiem text and music.
M E E T T H E A R T I STS : The Men of the Requiem
Evan LeRoy Johnson tenor
In-Sung Sim bass
FA S T FAC T S
FA S T FAC T S
H O M E T O W N : Pine Island, Minnesota
H O M E T O W N : Yeo-Su Jeon-Nam, South Korea
F A V O R I T E M O V I E : Too hard to choose! The
F A V O R I T E M O V I E : Coco
F A V O R I T E F O O D : Coffee.. that counts, right?
Lord of the Rings movies are very special to me F A V O R I T E S I N G E R : Franco Corelli H O B B I E S : Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Photography DID YOU GROW UP IN A MUSICAL/ARTSY F A M I L Y ? Definitely! We had a family brass
ensemble. I grew up making music with my siblings and parents on the organ, piano, and trumpet. W H AT ' S I T L I K E TO S I N G I N F R O N T OF A N O R C H E S T R A ? The Requiem text takes on new
power with Verdi's operatic scoring of this mass. The "Dies Irae" is electrifying and makes me feel like I am in an Avengers movie! I must admit that some of my favorite moments of the Verdi Requiem are actually the ones where everything is so still and quiet that you could hear a pin drop!
F A V O R I T E F O O D : Korean Food
F A V O R I T E S I N G E R : Bonaldo Giaiotti H O B B I E S : Games
HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THIS P E R F O R M A N C E ? Basically by myself. First I learn the notes, rhythms, and language. Then I’ll work with a pianist and finally with a coach to make sure that everything is perfect. W H AT D O YO U D O F O R F U N W H E N YO U ' R E N O T S I N G I N G O P E R A ? I love to spend time with my family when I’m not performing. Unfortunately, I’m not home nearly as much as I would like to see them. IF YOU WERE NOT AN OPERA SINGER W H A T Y O U W O U L D B E ? I love cars. If I wasn’t
a singer, I’d be a car technician.
W H AT D O YO U D O F O R F U N W H E N YO U ' R E N O T S I N G I N G O P E R A I love the wilderness
and enjoying it in every way I can. I typically take my vacations backpacking into mountains out west and fishing for trout in the alpine lakes! W H AT A D V I C E D O YO U H AV E A BO U T COMING TO THE REQUIEM FOR A FIRST T I M E A T T E N D E E ? ? I always find that if I've
read the text a little bit and listen to it, I'm able to sit back enjoy the sound having done some research! That said, I think the Verdi Requiem will knock your socks off regardless of knowledge or prior experience. It always does for me!
W H AT I S T H E M O ST R E WA R D I N G PA R T O F Y O U R J O B ? There’s nothing more rewarding
about my job as a singer than standing on the stage and hearing the audiences’ applause and shouts of “Bravo!”
W H AT I S T H E M O ST D I F F I C U LT PA R T OF Y O U R J O B ? We singers travel a lot, which can
be very tedious, especially living out of a suitcase all the time. When I'm on the road, I miss my family and loved ones. Being in a city alone by yourself can be challenging.
T I M PA N I S T M A R T H A H I T C H I N S Standing Out f rom the Crowd Opera Philadelphia’s timpanist, Martha Hitchins, stands out from the crowd. Her stunning white hair and energetic playing technique draw the audience’s attention. Timpani are also known as kettledrums, or very large drums. Centuries ago, smaller timpani were carried on horseback in battle or during ceremonial occasions. Today they are suspended on frames with wheels and range in diameter from 20 inches to 32 inches. Their bowls are made of copper or fiberglass, and are covered by drumheads of calfskin or synthetic materials. There are rods connected to points around the head, and those rods connect to a tuning mechanism operated by a pedal at the base of the drum. That is how the pitch is changed. Martha is a valued member of Philadelphia’s musical community. Her history with Opera Philadelphia goes back many years and she even played Verdi’s Requiem in 1986 when Opera Philadelphia performed it with legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti at the Spectrum, a sports arena that was home to the Flyers and 76ers. In her youth she lived in western Colorado. Her mother made sure that she had musical training. Martha played percussion and loved it! When she was 14, her high school band director suggested she try timpani. She began traveling nearly 600 miles round-trip to Salt Lake City to study with Robert Lentz, a timpanist with the Utah Symphony. He introduced her to Rudolf Serkin, head of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. Getting into Curtis was a big deal, as the music conservatory offers free tuition to the select few who are invited to study there each year. Martha was accepted, came to Philadelphia, studied with Gerald Carlyss at Curtis, and the rest is history!
she needs to practice on a full set of five drums, she needs to go elsewhere. Orchestras either own their own timpani or rent instruments as needed. She’s particularly excited to play the Verdi Requiem with Opera Philadelphia Music Director and Conductor Corrado Rovaris, who brings the Italian tradition to the work. You will see Martha change sticks during the Requiem. The shafts and cores of the sticks are made of different kinds of wood. They are covered with different kinds and layers of felts. Generally the colored felts (red and green) are harder, and the white felts are softer. The music will dictate which sticks are used. So will the acoustics of the Academy of Music. When they need to be replaced, Martha re-covers all of her own sticks. When you’re in the Academy of Music at the final dress rehearsal of the Verdi Requiem, try to find Martha on the stage. Her beautiful copper drums and energetic style will help her stand out from the other orchestra members.
Opera Philadelphia timpanist, Martha Hitchins, with the instruments in her home in Philadelphia. Photo: Tara Gadomski
Given the size of timpani drums, you may guess that timpanists might not have instruments at home. While Martha has two drums at home, if 31
T H E O P E R A O R C H E ST R A While Verdi's Requiem is not an opera, he composes for the orchestra in a very operatic manner. The orchestra is very important to the opera, mainly because it provides the singers with a cushion of sound to sing over and crucially adds drama to the story, while at the same time being independent and equal in importance. The orchestra used for opera is a lot like a symphony orchestra, with four instrumental families and other various instruments. Each instrument family has instruments that sound in four different categories, much like the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voice parts. The conductor, or maestro, has many responsibilities. They stand in front of the orchestra, and ensures that the opera progresses musically as it should. The conductor is in charge of keeping the music in balance by making sure that the orchestra doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t drown out the singers. The orchestra must also have a certain blend, so that the right instrument is highlighted at the right time. The conductor is in charge of that as well. The conductor paces the tempo, or speed of the music, so that it does not rush or drag. They also cues the singers and instrumentalists before they make their musical entrance. In some opera houses, like the Academy of Music, video monitors are placed around the stage and in the stage wings, showing the conductor in the pit. Singers may look at the monitors so they don't have to look directly down at the pit so often. T H E S T R I N G FA M I LY
on the instrument used to vary depending on when the violin was made, but now all string instruments in the orchestra have four strings. The four instruments of the string family are the violin, viola, cello, and the double bass. The violin is the soprano of the string family. There are usually two violin sections in the orchestra, the first and second violins. These two groups have separate parts to play. First violins play higher than second violins, and all violins play the melody for a good portion of the time. The Concertmaster or Concertmistress is the chief first violinist. The viola is a little larger than the violin, and it is the alto voice of the strings. When it plays, its sound quality is dark and somber, not at all like the brighter sounding violin. The tenor or baritone voice of the strings is the cello. It is much larger than the viola or violin, so large that the player sits on a chair and plays the cello between their knees while a bottom peg rests on the floor. Its sound quality is beautiful and somber, like the viola.
The instruments in the string family are almost The double bass represents the bass of the string always played with a bow drawn across the strings, family. It typically has some sort of rhythmic but sometimes a composer will mark music as line, and is so much larger than the cello that the pizzicato, which is Italian for â&#x20AC;&#x153;pluckedâ&#x20AC;?, and player must stand up in order to play it. indicates to the musician that the passage should T H E W O O D W I N D FA M I LY be plucked with the fingers. The violin we know Woodwind instruments are played by blowing today has been around since the 1500s, but has air either across a hole or into a reed, making been around much longer than that in simpler vibrations that produce sound. forms, known as fiddles. The number of strings
The soprano of the woodwinds is called the flute. There are three main flute sizes, the smallest being the piccolo, the medium size called the C flute, and the larger size called the alto flute. Flutes are usually silver-plated or made of silver, while some are gold-plated or have gold-plated keys. The earliest flutes were made of wood, which is why they are in the woodwind family though they are now made of metal. The oboe is the alto of the woodwind family, and sometimes it can sound a little like a duck. Mostly, though, it carries the melody and has a sad sound. It is related to the English horn and bassoon, and all three instruments are known as double reeds. Unlike the clarinet or saxophone that has a reed strapped onto a mouthpiece, the oboe, English horn, and bassoon have two reeds tied together and no mouthpiece. The tenor voice of the woodwinds speaks through the clarinet, a single reed instrument, which means it has a reed strapped to a mouthpiece. The clarinet often accompanies the prima donna and has a wide range and a woody sound. The bassoonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name means big bass, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to guess what voice this instrument represents. It is related to the oboe, contrabassoon, and English horn. T H E B R A S S FA M I LY
The brass family instruments are played much like the woodwind family, except they are made out of metal, usually brass or silver or silverplated, and their mouthpieces are made of metal only, with no reeds.
Photo Credits: Clarinet: Yamaha_Clarinet_YCL_CSGIIIl French Horn - French Horn Besson - Lidl BE702; Wikipedia
The trumpet is the soprano voice of the brass family. It evolved from the cornet and other types of ancient horns, but the earlier horns did not have valves like the modern trumpet does to change notes. The players would have to use their air stream and lips to change the sound of the notes. To learn more about the trumpet, check out the article on page 36. French horns add an alto voice to the brass family. The player must keep his or her hand inside the bell of the instrument and bring the mouthpiece up to his or her lips. The French horn has so many bends of piping that if someone were to unravel the whole thing, it would measure over eleven feet in length! Tenor voices sound through the trombone section of the brass family. There are many types of trombones: slide trombone (which is most common), valve trombone, tenor trombone, and bass trombone. The typical trombone used is the tenor slide trombone. It has a nine-foot-long slide to change its notes. The tuba is the bass voice of the brass family. It usually plays the rhythm part along with the string familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s double bass. T H E P E R C U S S I O N FA M I LY
The family with the most instruments is the percussion family, with everything from cymbals, tambourines, and xylophones to gongs, triangles, drums and bells. Every percussion instrument has its own unique sound, and no two instruments sound alike. Believe it or not, percussion 33
instruments are actually melodic instruments, even though most of them are not tuned to a specific note. The snare drum is the smallest of the concert percussion. Underneath the drum is a belt of metal snares that, when the drum is struck, rattle against the bottom of the drum to produce its distinctive sound. The tenor drums, or tom-toms, are a set of two to four pitched drums and are used in conjunction with the snare drum to give the drum line a more melodic part. The timpani, or kettledrums, are very lowsounding drums, two to four or more in number. They look like big copper bowls, and have drum heads stretched across them for the percussionist to strike to make the sound. Timpani have pedals beneath them that stretch or slacken the drum head to make the sound lower or higher. They are used either to build suspense or announce triumphant moments. Learn more about timpani on page 31. The bass drum can be the loudest and lowest instrument, but it can also be used quietly to
build suspense. Unlike the other drums, the bass drum is positioned vertically in an upright manner. Sometimes this drum is used to give the effect of a cannon. SPECIAL VISITORS
There are some orchestra instruments that, while falling within the categories above, are unlike the instruments mentioned because they are infrequent visitors to the opera orchestra. The piano is considered a percussion instrument because hammers strike the strings that make its sound. The keyboard has 88 keys, and there are various sizes of piano, from upright pianos to concert pianos that range from 5 1/2 to 9 feet long. The harp is often associated with heaven or dreams, and the player plucks the strings with their fingers. The harp may have originated because of the sound from plucking a hunter's bow string. The oldest documented references to the harp are from 4000 BCE in Egypt. The standard harp has 46 or 47 strings producing a range of six and a half octaves.
We often think of the saxophone as being primarily a jazz instrument, but it is used in opera, too. The sax is a bit like a clarinet, because it has a reed strapped to a mouthpiece, but it is made of metal. It is also made in a variety of higher and lower registers, from the high soprano saxophone to the low bass saxophone. WHICH INSTRUMENTS GO WHERE?
Have you ever wondered why the instruments are positioned in the pit they way they are? One reason is practical; communication is of key importance. The conductor is placed front and center so he can see everything that is going on at all times both in the pit and onstage. Conductors stand on the podium so that all the musicians can see them. Not only is the conductor communicating with the musicians, but the musicians in the pit are communicating with each other. The section principal, or leader, sits in the first chair. It is the principal’s responsibility to work out specific ways to play musical phrases so that everyone in the section plays it the same way. They also play any solo for their instrument that is in the score. Section principals also have to communicate with each other and must be positioned in the pit so that they not only see the conductor well but can make eye contact with the other principals. Another reason is that softer instruments, like the violins and violas, are placed in the front so that their sound can travel into the house more freely. The louder instruments are placed more towards the back underneath the orchestra pit's overhang so that they balance better with the entire orchestra and with the singers onstage. You’ll also notice that there are twice as many string instruments as there are brass and woodwind instruments because they tend to be more powerful instruments than their string cousins.
their parts to rehearse at home. Music Director Corrado Rovaris likes to meet with the string section principals to rehearse the score with them when he is conducting an opera here. The principal reading is the perfect way for the maestro to get across his ideas to the section leaders, who can then help him communicate these to the members of their respective sections. Then the full orchestra meets three times to read through the score. The maestro will sometimes rehearse sections of the score rather than running the entire opera at each rehearsal. This enables him or her to fine tune the musical interpretation of the opera. The cast joins the orchestra for the Sitzprobe, a German word that means “sitting rehearsal.” The musicians will be in the pit while the soloists sit on the stage and sing through the entire opera without doing their blocking. This gives the conductor the chance to hear where the orchestra may be too loud, and gives the singers and orchestra their first chance to hear each other. The final two rehearsals are full dress rehearsals. The artists run through the entire opera as if it were a performance. These rehearsals are the final times that the cast and full orchestra will meet before opening night. The last dress rehearsal is also special as students enrolled in the Sounds of Learning program attend this rehearsal, free of charge. Portions of this article provided by the San Francisco Opera Guild.
THE REHEARSAL PROCESS
The full orchestra generally has six rehearsals before opening night. Before the first full orchestra practice or “reading” of the score, the orchestra musicians will have received copies of 35
AWA K E T H E T R U M P E T ' S Lofty Sound by Margaret Zhang and Stephen Trygar
The Incredibles has one of the most epic intros of all time. On top of a high-speed car chase and Mr. Incredible’s suave transformation into a superhero, the opening scene also incorporates a heroic fanfare with trumpets that brings the scene to life. How does that fanfare effectively immerse the viewers? What kind of mood does it create? The trumpet also plays an important part in Verdi’s Requiem, particularly in the “Tuba Mirum” portion, which you can read more about on page 38. But this esteemed instrument wasn’t always used in classical and jazz ensembles; in fact, at one point, it wasn’t even used as a musical instrument. From where, then, does the trumpet originate? WA R , RIT UA L , A N D S P O RT
The trumpet’s earliest ancestors have been documented in nearly every ancient civilization. Whether it was a hollowed-out bull’s horn or a straight pipe with a flared bell at the end, every culture had its own take on this primitive tool. During World War I, combatants could communicate using telephones, telegraphs, and radios. But how did people communicate during wartime before any of those technologies existed? Military culture in early civilizations used these horns to conduct and communicate during war; the sound consisted of one or two crude pitches that were used to maneuver soldiers, as well as announce victory or defeat. These ancient trumpets were also used for religious ceremonies, burials, magical rituals, and “sunset ceremonies” (a ritual that ensured that the disappearing sun would return the next day). Even today, American and European militaries use the various members of the trumpet family during military rituals. The U.S. Armed Forces play “Taps” at dusk, during flag ceremonies, and at military funerals, and the “Reveille” (pronounced The Incredibles
REV-el-ee) wakes up soldiers and young summer campers in the morning. If you’ve ever auditioned for something, you know that people—whether musicians, dancers, actors, or other performers—are usually evaluated on the quality, precision, or energy of their performance. Interestingly enough, contests involving the salpinx, a 62-inch long trumpet made of bronze or bone, were actually part of the original Olympic games! Instead of musicality, these competitors were judged based on their volume and endurance. Can you imagine a competition in which your objective is to make as loud a sound as you can? The trumpet also has roots in the Bible, which frequently mentions the shofar, a Hebrew term for “ram’s horn.” Supposedly, this instrument was used to blow down the protective walls of the city of Jericho. The shofar is still used today during Jewish holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. THE E VOLUTION INTO JA ZZ MUSIC
Precursors to the modern trumpet took larger strides in evolution around the 16th and 17th Centuries. During this time, the trumpet acquired a shape like today’s horn. The long, straight tubes were bent into circular and ovular shapes to create different pitches, and occasionally these different size tubes, called crooks, were interchangeable. Next, trumpets were designed with holes in them, much like a recorder, in order to change the pitch without constantly switching the crooks around. These designs were experimented with throughout the 18th century. By the early 19th century, valves, also known as pistons, were invented. No longer did the trumpet function like a megaphone; rather, it began to grow into a more virtuosic musical instrument. Video: How to Play the Trumpet for Beginners https://tinyurl.com/sol-trumpet
Some say jazz began with trumpet player Buddy Bolden—sometimes called the first great musician in jazz history. He adapted ragtime music, a synthesis of European classical music and African rhythm, by infusing it with blues. In early jazz history in New Orleans, ensembles of musicians played in street marches and for social occasions. The higher range, as well as its volume and carrying ability, made the trumpet a natural lead instrument. As jazz began to expand across the country and progress as a genre, the trumpet went along with it. Its occasional mellow sound was a perfect match for the blues, but with a little more effort, the bright and brassy sound helped artists like Frank Sinatra make toe-tapping music. IN CLOSING
Much like its ancestors, the modern trumpet comes in many different shapes and sizes. Although they are not the same, cornets, bugles, f lugelhorns, and f lumpets all share the same origins as the trumpet. From an instrument of war to a religious artifact, the trumpet has certainly come a long way. Now, as a musical instrument, the trumpet can be found virtually anywhere you look. Above all, the trumpet has revealed itself as a vessel for communication and for tenderness. In Verdi’s Requiem, right after the main theme— aggressive, fearful, and catastrophic—there is a momentary pause. In this pause, a single trumpet in the orchestra begins a simple fanfare,
a call answered by another trumpet hidden from view. The trumpet is powerful in its ability to create excitement, but it also exudes power in its restraint and the way it demands to be listened to. HOW DOES THE TRUMPET WORK?
If you’ve ever blown across the edge of a bottle, you have an idea of how flutes work. The air gets split by the edge, causing vibrations that make sound. Other instruments, such as the clarinet or the saxophone, create sound when air vibrates across a thin piece of wood, called the reed. All three of these instruments are examples of woodwind instruments. The trumpet also uses wind to create sound, but it actually belongs to the brass family, creating sound in a different way. The player applies nearly-closed lips to the mouthpiece and “buzzes,” releasing vibrations into the long brass tube. From there, the player can use lip formation (in conjunction with the valves, or buttons) to alter the pitch of the instrument. This “buzzing,” as well as the ability to alter the pitch through embouchure, or the shape of one’s lips, facial muscles, and tongue, is what sets the brass family apart. You might associate trumpets closely with orchestras, concert bands, and jazz ensembles. However, this versatile instrument appears in popular music too. Have you listened to music by Chance the Rapper, Radiohead, or Sufjan Stevens? All three of those artists have featured trumpets in their music.
EIGHT TRUMPETS Fo r T u b a M i r u m by Dr. Lily Kass
The “Tuba Mirum” movement of Verdi’s Requiem is a particularly exciting portion of the “Dies Irae” text for composers to set to music because it is about sound. It reads: “The trumpet, throwing its wondrous sound through the tombs of the earth will summon all before the throne.” The composer needs to demonstrate with music this “wondrous sound” that can only be imagined — this sound that fills all of space and summons all before God. Take a second to imagine this sound yourself. Is it loud or soft? Long or short? Does it move quickly or slowly? Does it change or stay constant? There are lots of different ways you could imagine this sound, but one thing that seems certain is that there would have to be at least one trumpet, since that is the instrument the text talks about. Verdi took the text literally and used the sound of the trumpet as described in the text. Verdi doesn’t just use one trumpet, though, and he doesn’t even stick to the four trumpets that play in the other parts of the Requiem. Verdi adds four more trumpets! These four extra trumpets are meant to be “far away and invisible.” In performance, this might mean that they are played from backstage or even from behind where the audience is sitting. The audience is meant to be surprised by these trumpets, and to be enveloped in sound. It creates the feeling that the whole world is filling with the sound of trumpets — much like the effect of surround sound in a movie theater. The resulting sound is like a combination of music and sound effect. The trumpets start the “Tuba mirum” by themselves. First the four regular trumpets play and then they are echoed by the extra ones. They all play the same rhythm: a long note (held for three beats) followed by a short pause (half a beat) and then two short notes (each lasting only a quarter of a beat). This rhythm sounds like a traditional military horn call, and it repeats over and over again getting gradually louder and 38
slightly faster every time. Harmonies are also added, making what at first sounds like a few solo trumpets sound like more of a choir of trumpets. French horns and tubas join them, playing the same rhythmic motive. The bassoon also adds to the sound, only playing long notes, and the timpani begins to rumble along as well. After that group plays all together as loud as they can, the same pattern of long and short notes is repeated but with the long notes played more quickly. The voices of the chorus enter into this chaos, with the bass voices leading the way. The whole chorus sings eventually, but the voices are always in danger of being drowned out. This gives the impression that there are forces in play that are beyond human control. Humans are swept up in them and don’t know what is going to happen. This section of the Requiem ends suddenly. The whole choir sings together, with the tenors singing the word “throne” and everyone else singing the word “everyone.” So we have the image of everyone before the throne. The sopranos and tenors sing high notes on a short syllable, and the effect is very surprising: almost like a scream stopped in its tracks. The next section of the sequence creates a big contrast. There is a moment of silence, and when the orchestra comes back in, there is no brass whatsoever, only soft strings, and a solo bass begins to sing quietly. “Tuba Mirum” in the Verdi Requiem is extremely short. It usually lasts only two minutes! But those two minutes are very powerful. The effect of the surround-sound trumpets combined with the insistent horn call rhythm gives us as listeners an immersive experience. We feel like we are there witnessing the events described in the text taking place around us. It is so loud and so repetitive and so chaotic that if it lasted any longer, we might feel overwhelmed. We are left impressed by the power of the trumpet’s call to judgment, but perhaps relieved that we are moving on.
ET YMOLOGY T h e S t u d y o f Wo r d s The Requiem has a text written in Latin, on which many languages, like English, Spanish, and French, are based. Below are some examples of words derived from Latin and Greek roots. Once you understand these basic elements, you will start to see them appearing all around you. Below is a brief list of some very common roots that will help you with the exercises. ROOTS, SUFFIXES, AND PREFIXES
anthropo — human
mania — obsession with
claustro — confined
meter — measuring device
contra — against
micro — small
cracy — rule
ology — the study of
demo — people
phobia — fear of
dict — speak/spoken
photo — light
ex — out
pyro — fire
graph — write/written
scope — examine
macro — large
thermo — heat COMBINING EXERCISE
Many commonly used words are made from combinations of Greek and Latin roots. Using the definitions above, complete each phrase by pairing an item from columns A and column B A MICRO DEMO ANTHROPO PHOTO CONTRA THERMO CLAUSTRO PYRO
B OLOGY SCOPE GRAPH MANIA METER CRACY DICT PHOBIA
1. The academic study of the origin and history of man is known as: 2 . A system of government in which the people rule themselves is: 3. The fear of tight spaces is called: 4. A device used to measure the temperature is called: 5. An obsession with fire is called: 6. An instrument used to examine very small objects is called: 7. To speak against something is to: 8. The physical representation of a captured image is called a: 39
WRITING A REVIEW A review is an opinionated piece of writing. It is an opportunity for someone to communicate their likes and dislikes about a particular event. A good performance review takes into consideration all of the things that happened on stage. Before writing a review, it is good to organize your thoughts. Use the following template to create a review of Verdi's Requiem. JOIN OUR BLOG! When you finish writing your review, consider submitting it online! Opera Philadelphia would love to hear your thoughts about the performance. Just remember to include your first name, school, and grade. Visit: operaphillysol.blogspot.com. THE M USIC A S STORY Did the music tell a story, and were you engaged in the it? While not a typical narrative story, what do you think the story was about?
M USIC & VOICES What was the most impaction part of the rehearsal? Were there particular voices, arias, or duets that added to your involvement in the concert?
EVENT How was the Requiem different than attending a fully staged opera or play?
Y O U R O P I N I O N (After the performance) Would you recommend this performance to your friends or family? Explain why or why not.
OPER A PHILADELPHIA David B. Devan General Director & President
Corrado Rovaris Jack Mulroney Music Director
Michael Bolton Vice President of Community Initiatives
Sounds of Learning was established by a
generous grant from The Annenberg Foundation. Dedicated funding for the Sounds of Learning program has been provided by:
THE WILLIAM PENN FOUNDATION
Special thanks to: Elizabeth Braden Martha Hitchins Lily Kass Leo Sarbanes Stephen Trygar Margaret Zhang Content Contributors
Written and produced by: Opera Philadelphia Community Initiatives Department ÂŠ 2020 1420 Locust Street, Suite 210 Philadelphia, PA, 19102 Tel: 215.893.5927 operaphila.org/learn
William Randolph Hearst Foundation
Michael Bolton Vice President of Community Initiatives email@example.com
The Hirsig Family Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation
Veronica Chapman-Smith Manager of Out of School Time Initiatives firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Bettie Joyner Kleckley Dr. Nanci Ritter Program Evaluators
The McLean Contributionship
Heather Goforth Director of Safety and Security, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Katie Kelley Design Manager email@example.com
William A. Loeb Hamilton Family Charitable Trust Universal Health Services Eugene Garfield Foundation
Frank Machos Executive Officer, Office of Arts & Academic Enrichment School District of Philadelphia The Office of Strategic Partnerships School District of Philadelphia
Frank Flood Venue Manager, Academy of Music Cornell Wood House Manager, Academy of Music Academy of Music Ushers
Opera Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The William Penn Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Additional support is provided by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. Opera Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.