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This article was prepared for the September 11, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Memorial Sounds of Verdi
A Requiem for September 11," a free outdoor performance
by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, takes place at Liberty State
Park on Wednesday, September 11, beginning at 7 p.m. The performance
of Giuseppe Verdi’s majestic "Requiem" also features the Westminster
Symphonic Choir and guest soloists Sylvie Valayre, Dolora Zajick,
Salvatore Licitra, and Samuel Ramey. NJSO’s music director emeritus
Zdenek Macal will conduct the powerful and poignant work of remembrance.
The performance, set in the park with lower Manhattan in the background,
is being produced for national telecast on PBS by Thirteen/WNET New
York and will be broadcast nationwide at 10 p.m.
"Although the September 11 attacks physically occurred in Manhattan,
the people of New Jersey and the nation were significantly impacted
by this tragedy. Many of the victims, survivors and rescue workers
were from New Jersey," says NJSO president Lawrence J. Tamburri.
"This particular tribute is intended, in part, to recognize both
the losses and the contributions made by the citizens of New Jersey."
Conducted in connection with observances being held throughout the
metropolitan area, the performance of one of the most moving musical
works ever composed is intended to create an opportunity for people
to remember, reflect, and seek comfort.
"As a naturalized American, I value and cherish my citizenship
greatly," says conductor Macal. "The tragedy of September
11th impacted me profoundly, and for a year I have wanted to appropriately
express my grief over those lost and left behind, as well as to honor
the selfless people whose valiant efforts following the attack provided
so much hope for the nation. For me, the Verdi Requiem is the ultimate
expression of both mourning and hope, and I am humbled to be able
to share this performance with the people of New Jersey, the metropolitan
New York area, and the United States."
The current season marks Zdenek Macal’s first as NJSO’s music director
emeritus. With the orchestra since 1993, his tenure is the longest
in the orchestra’s 80-year history. In addition to his continued association
with the NJSO, he assumes the position of chief conductor of the Czech
Philharmonic beginning next year.
The history of Verdi’s Requiem began in 1873, with the death of Alessandro
Manzoni, the great Italian poet and novelist, greatly admired by Verdi.
Within weeks, Verdi, already the most important opera composer of
the time, announced his intention of writing a requiem in memory of
the poet. The work, incorporating music written earlier by Verdi in
honor of Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini, was completed in April,
1874, and the premiere took place in May at the church of San Marco,
The Requiem was widely embraced. Many shared Brahms’ opinion that
"only a genius could have written such a work." Among Verdi’s
wealth of creation the Requiem is recognized as among his most complicated
and certainly his most beautiful compositions. One critic lauds its
"vivid tonal coloration and sumptuous melodic flow, powerful emotional
impact and unrelenting dramatic intensity" and praises Verdi for
voicing "the darkest fears and highest hopes of all mankind."
Italian native Salvatore Licitra — who gained fame for stepping
in on short notice to replace the ailing Luciano Pavarotti at the
Met last May — will sing the tenor role. In only three short years,
he has emerged as the most promising Italian tenor of his generation,
the latest in a long and illustrious tradition. His unscheduled New
York debut was warmly received by audience and critics.
Featured soprano Sylvie Valayre has received international acclaim
for her command of a wide repertoire which includes title roles in
"Madama Butterfly," "Tosca," and Verdi’s "Macbeth."
Dolora Zajick is a dramatic Verdi mezzo-soprano. She has sung the
major Verdi roles in "Trovatore," "Aida," and "Don
Carlo," with opera companies around the world, including the Met,
La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden, and Berlin’s Staatsoper.
Bass Samuel Ramey, now in the third decade of his career, currently
reigns as the foremost interpreter of bass and bass-baritone concert
Princeton’s 175-voice Westminster Symphonic Choir is composed of students
at Westminster Choir College is led by Joseph Flummerfelt. Recognized
as one of the world’s leading choral ensembles, the choir has collaborated
with the NJSO for many years.
Free tickets for "A Requiem for September 11" are available
at box offices of Westminster Choir College, 609-921-2663; Trenton
War Memorial, 609-984-8400; State Theater in New Brunswick, 732-246-7469;
and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Newark, 1-800-ALLEGRO.
Liberty State Park, 800-222-6459. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
presents an outdoor performance of Verdi’s "Requiem." Free
ticket required. The concert will be broadcast nationwide by PBS television
at 10 p.m. Wednesday, September 11, 7 p.m.
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