The Epiphany Festival at the Novaya Opera
January 19 – 30, 2021
The Messa da Requiem is Giuseppe Verdi’s outstanding work that was written not for an opera house but at the same time is deeply associated with it. The composition was premiered in 1874, on the first anniversary of the death of the writer Alessandro Manzoni whom Verdi admired and revered. For the composer it was not the only loss in those years: one after another died his father Carlo, his patron and father-in-law Antonio Barezzi, composer Gioachino Rossini, and Verdi’s close friend and librettist Francesco Maria Piave. Verdi’s Requiem violates the canon of the funeral service: seven parts (instead of twelve) are filled with purely operatic musical images, vivid solo episodes, expanded ensembles and grandiose choruses.
Verdi’s Requiem will be performed on the 75th anniversary of the birth of Evgeny Kolobov, the founder of the Novaya Opera, and this, of course, is not accidental. The great conductor felt a deep love for this composition. In the Novaya Opera period of his work, Kolobov first performed Verdi’s Requiem in 1999. The CD produced in 2001 (recording of the concert held on May 26, 2001) became part of the sound history of the theatre. After Kolobov’s death, the composition was repeatedly included in the programme of the Epiphany Festival at the Novaya Opera (it was established in memory of the theatre’s founding father). In 2005, during the first Epiphany Week (this was the name of the festival in 2005–2014) the Requiem was conducted by Eri Klas, in 2007 by Gintaras Rinkevičius and in 2008 by Otto Tausk. At the Epiphany Festival 2013, the Requiem was performed under the baton of Jan Latham-Koenig. At the Novaya Opera the Requiem was also conducted by Sergey Lysenko. At the 2021 Festival, the Novaya Opera’s Chief Conductor Alexandru Samoilă will present his version of the composition.