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Verdi's "Requiem"

More than 160 vocalists, four soloists and a large orchestra will join together to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, the dramatic funeral mass first performed in Italy in 1874, at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 8 in Ohio State’s Mershon Auditorium. Marshall Haddock will conduct the performance.

The Ohio State Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Haddock. Chorale is conducted by Robert Ward and Scott McCoy. Men’s Glee Club is directed by Ward. Symphonic Choir and Women’s Glee Club are directed by Kristina MacMullen. Accompanist is Casey Cook. Soloists are School of Music faculty members Katherine Rohrer and C. Andrew Blosser, and students Chelsea Hart and Jaman E. Dunn.

A pre-concert talk begins at 2:30 p.m., presented by James Naumann, PhD candidate in musicology.

Bringing together such a large number of vocalists and musicians to perform one major choral work is a massive undertaking. Said Ward, “With so many singers in four different choirs, we thought it best to start preparing the first week of autumn semester. We have rehearsed as separate ensembles, and every six weeks on a Friday evening, all 165 singers come together to rehearse for two hours.

“It’s a monumental work that’s been described as ‘an opera in ecclesiastical robes,’ and that is so true. It has drama and character and emotion. . . but unlike opera there are no costumes and no scenery. The singers have been loving it.”

The Catholic funeral mass, sung in Latin, is the only masterwork by Verdi that was not written for the stage as an opera. Requiem was composed in memory of poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni, a leading Italian literary figure who died in 1873. It was first performed a year later in the Cathedral of St. Mark in Milan. The following year, it toured Europe, with a pinnacle performance taking place in Albert Hall, with Verdi leading a chorus of more than 1,000 vocalists and a 140-piece orchestra.

Tickets to the March 8 performance are reserved seating, available through the Wexner Center ticket office, (614) 292-3535. Tickets are $20 public; $10 senior citizens, Alumni Association members, Ohio State faculty and staff, students and children.

Hosted by Christopher Purdy, WOSU's Classical 101 will broadcast the performance live from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on March 8. Listeners can experience it on-air at 101.1 FM, online through the live stream at and on-the-go thorugh the WOSU Public Media mobile app.

In advance of the broadcast, on Friday, March 6 at 9 a.m., Ohio State's director of choral activities, Robert Ward, and Scott McCoy, professor of voice, will join Classical 101's Boyce Lancaster for an in-studio talk about preparations for Verdi's Requiem.

For more details, see the Music website.