Messa da Requiem

Giuseppe Verdi
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Тривалість: 1 година 25 хвилин
People's Artist of the Republic of Moldova Alexandru Samoilă
Honored Artist of Ukraine Leonid Butenko


“Messa da Requiem” (Requiem) is Verdi’s only work, which is as popular as the best of his twenty-six operas.

“Requiem” is similar in style to Verdi’s later operas, primarily created at the same time as “Aida”. From the listener’s point of view, “Requiem” seems like a drama no less than the dramas that unfold in Aida or Don Carlos. Religious in form, in meaning and in spirit, “Verdi’s Requiem” – music, of course, secular. The large orchestra not only accompanies the singers, but also draws colorful paintings. In operas and in Requiem, the most important thing for Verdi is the strength and beauty of the human spirit, the brightness and tension of emotions. Thanks to this, “Requiem” took a strong place in the repertoire of theaters and went down in the history of music as the most theatrical embodiment of the traditional church memorial service.

Completed in the spring of 1874, a few years after the opera Aida, Requiem had a long history of creation.

“Requiem” immortalized the memory of Verdi’s great compatriots: composer Gioacchino Rossini and writer Alessandro Manzoni.

On November 13, 1868, Rossini died. “Although I did not have a very close friendship with him, I mourn with all the loss of this great artist,” Verdi wrote. – A great name has died out in the world! This name is the most popular in our era, the fame is the widest – and it was the glory of Italy! ”

The personal contacts between Rossini and Verdi, established on the basis of respect and mutual respect, were very cordial, but infrequent. Rossini knew how to be witty and funny, and Verdi was never like that before, but he was glad of the friendship and admiration of the older colleague. So, in the villa of Saint Agatha, he kept in a special frame a note sent to him by Rossini from Paris in 1865: “Rossini, a former composer and pianist of the fourth level, a brilliant composer Verdi, a pianist of the fifth level.”

When Rossini died, Verdi, contrary to his hostility to all demonstrativeness, considered it his duty to use his own indisputable authority in order to facilitate the recognition of Rossini at the national level.

Verdi presented a project to immortalize his memory: “I would invite the most respected Italian composers to unite to write a funeral mass that would be performed on the anniversary of Rossini’s death.” Verdi insisted on the special solemnity of the premiere: the performance should take place in Bologna precisely on the first anniversary of the death of Rossini. However, this did not happen through the fault of the conductor, and the composer broke his friendly relations with him, which lasted 20 years. A year later, Verdi reported that he decided to compose the whole requiem himself, and by that time he had already created the first two parts.

Five years later, in 1873, he was shocked by the death of the man whom he respected and revered the most, the writer Alessandro Manzoni. The composer called Manzoni the Great Poet, Great Citizen, Holy Man, the glory of Italy, and the portrait sent to him by Manzoni with his own hand inscription was considered the most precious relic.

In May 1867, Verdi’s friend Countess Clarissa Muffei, who was also a friend of Manzoni, arranged a meeting between Manzoni and Verdi’s wife Giuseppina Strepponi. When Giuseppina handed Verdi a portrait of Manzoni with dedication (“Giuseppe Verdi, Italian Glory, from the decrepit Lombard writer”) and told him about the meeting, he “turned red, turned pale and sweated; tore off his hat and crumpled it, almost turning it into a cake. Moreover (and let it remain between us), the stern and proud bear from Busseto wept. ” So Strepponi wrote in a letter to Maffei on May 21, 1867.

Verdi subsequently met Manzoni personally. “In the presence of Manzoni, I feel so small before (but in general I am proud as Lucifer),” Verdi wrote, “that I can never or almost never say a word.”

Verdi’s attitude towards Manzoni went far beyond mere admiration for the outstanding Italian novelist and intellectual. It was a desire to believe, no matter what, in the dignity of human nature, and only Manzoni was the spokesman for this dignity in Italy. And, possessing real spiritual nobility, the proud proud Verdi experienced filial embarrassment before Manzoni.

Manzoni Verdi didn’t go to the funeral (“I don’t have the courage to attend his funeral”) – it was too crowded, official and rhetorically predictable for him – but a few days later, on May 29, he wrote to Clarissa Maffei: “Together with he leaves the purest, most sacred, our highest glory! I read a lot of newspapers, and not one speaks as it should. Many words, but not felt. Not without having to prick. Even him! Oh, what nasty creatures we are! ” In his grief, the memory of the insanity of all after the death of Rossini still sounded.


The mountain of Verdi after the death of Alessandro Manzoni was unusually deep, and you can only guess how painful loneliness and incredulity were for the composer from a young age. Despair, shock, heard in the Requiem, are born primarily from these intense and mysterious spiritual bonds.

What is known about Verdi’s life – and much is known about his relationship with other people, about his affections, about friends – testifies to his restraint, estrangement and severity. Even his wife, Giuseppina Strepponi, whom Verdi loved and respected, who silently accompanied him almost his whole life, did not call him by name, especially in public. And for her he was Verdi. The natural pride of appearance, the sharpness of manners and judgments, the severity make up the external aspect of Verdi’s dramatic genius. The final masterpiece of his creative life, Falstaff, only partially refutes this impression, which other works, on the contrary, confirm.

It was the tragic perception of life that inspired Verdi’s highest pages of music. The very next day after the funeral, Manzoni Verdi decided to create a grandiose monument to “Our Holy One” – it will be the Requiem that the best singers will perform in Milan on the anniversary of the death of Manzoni. And Verdi again took up that tragic fragment, written in memory of Rossini in 1868, to make it the end of his own Mass, which was intended to be a reflection of his personal grief and confusion.

Verdi worked on Requiem so quickly that three months later, in August 1873, he sent an invitation to participate in the premiere of his favorite singer, the first Amneris of the Italian production of Aida, Maria Waldman. For the soprano party, he chose an outstanding Czech singer, the forty-year-old Teresa Stoltz (Terezina Stoltseva), who participated in the Italian premieres of Don Carlos, Forces of Fate and Aida.

The premiere took place on the first anniversary of the death of Manzoni, on May 22, 1874 in Milan, in the Cathedral of San Marco under Verdi, and 3 days later in the La Scala Theater, and was a great success.

Verdi’s “Requiem” did not fit into the rules and rhythm of the liturgy and cannot accompany the funeral rite. But although this Requiem is not suitable for worship, it observes all the traditional parts of the mass.

Having abandoned the originally conceived traditional twelve parts, Verdi divided the text of the Catholic memorial mass into seven parts, of which the most grandiose, the second, in turn, breaks up into nine episodes.

Verdi’s Requiem cast: soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass, choir, orchestra.
Verdi is a brilliant opera composer, and his opera role in Requiem was manifested in full force. Each of the four soloists has large expanded arias, complex in execution and amazing in content.

This work is stunning: some call it a great appeal to the Eternal Father in an attempt to overcome the cry of despair in the face of death, others – a powerful “death meditation” for soloists, choir and orchestra. Showing all the power of his passion, Verdi did not compose a ceremony, but a performance – a tragic and lyrical, symbolic and direct idea of ​​our feelings in the face of death. Verdi’s “Requiem” is a tormented existential thought, melancholy, fear and hope of man.

Nikolai Ogrenich

Nikolai Leonidovich Ogrenich was born on December 8, 1937. In 1966 he graduated from the Odessa Conservatory (class of O. N. Blagovidova). Since 1962 – a soloist of the Odessa Theater of Musical Comedy, in 1966-1988 – a soloist of the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater. In 1967-1969 he trained at La Scala, gave concerts in Milan and Florence. Acted as a concert singer.

Nikolay Ogrenich – Diploma-recipient of the All-Union Competition of Vocalists. Glinka (1965); laureate of International competitions: vocalists in Vernier (7th prize, 1969), them. Tchaikovsky (1st prize, 1970).

Since 1970 Nikolay Ogrenich has been a teacher at the Odessa Conservatory, since 1984 – rector, since 1988 – professor. People’s Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (1975).

Nikolay Ogrenich passed away in 2000.

Among the parts performed by N. Ogrenich: Vaudemont (opera “Iolanta” by P. I. Tchaikovsky), Lensky (opera “Eugene Onegin” by P. I. Tchaikovsky), The Pretender (opera “Boris Godunov” by M. P. Mussorgsky), Cavaradossi (opera “Tosca” by G. Puccini), Rudolph (opera “La Boheme” by G. Puccini), Manrico (opera “Troubadour” by G. Verdi), Jose (opera “Carmen” by J. Bizet), and others.

Nikolay Ogrenich entered the history of world vocal art and the history of musical Odessa as one of the brightest images.

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About event

Requiem - a multi-part choral work, usually with the participation of soloists, accompanied by an orchestra. It arose as a requiem Catholic service with musical parts in the Latin text, but later lost its ritual character and went into concert practice.

Requiem (lat. Requiem, lit. “(for) repose”) - a service (mass) in the Catholic and Lutheran churches, according to the initial word of the introite (one of the elements that opens a mass in Western liturgical rites) “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine "(" Eternal peace grant them, Lord ").

The Requiem is based on the Latin sequence (poetic genre and form of liturgical music of Catholics) “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath). It is believed that the sequence text appeared in the 13th century. Authorship is attributed to the Franciscan monk Tomaso di Celano. More often than other medieval chants, it was used in the works of composers of the 18th-20th centuries. as a musical image, embodying a person’s view of death, as a symbol of the tragic.

Dies Irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla
Teste David cum Sibylla.
Quantus tremor est futurus
Quando judex ex venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Day of Wrath, that day
Wastes the universe to dust
Witnesses to this are David and Sibyl.
Everything will be in awe
When the Judge appears,
In order to strictly judge everyone!

Requiem corresponds to a requiem in the Orthodox Church. But the Orthodox Church was limited to strict lines of human voices and did not attract the sound of musical instruments. Within the framework of the Catholic services, both an organ and a whole symphony orchestra could sound. This is a matter of cultural tradition. It was in the framework of the Catholic church with its amazing acoustics and the joint sound of a human voice and instruments that the first magnificent musical masterpieces were created.

For many centuries, the requiems were Gregorian chorales, named after Pope Gregory I.
Over time, the requiem “left” the church and became an independent genre. He changed the language. Initially, writing requiem music was possible only on the canonical Latin text in a fairly strict correspondence of parts. Subsequently, composers took Bible texts in their native languages ​​- German, English, etc.
The first requiems written by professional composers date back to the 16th century.
In the 20th century, requiems spread to non-canonical texts that were not related to church service.

To date, at least 2,000 requiems have been written, and among them there are world masterpieces: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem, Giuseppe Verdi, German Requiem of Johannes Brahms, Benjamin Britten’s “Military Requiem”, and Krzysztof Penderetsky’s “Polish Requiem”.
The name “Requiem” in a figurative sense is also used in other forms of art, denoting a work dedicated to the memory of the deceased or dead.

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