Music to celebrate Verdi’s birth with ‘Requiem’

Tyler White conducts the orchestra and combined choruses during a "Requiem" practice.
Tyler White conducts the orchestra and combined choruses during a "Requiem" practice.

About 350 members of the UNL Symphony Orchestra and combined choruses will perform Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” at 7:30 p.m. April 27 in the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The performance is in honor of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students/seniors and are available from the Lied Center Box Office at 402-472-4747.

“The Verdi Requiem is one of maybe four or five of the most brilliant and most outstanding choral-orchestra works ever conceived,” said Tyler White, professor and director of orchestras. “It’s also a piece that has not been heard in this location for a very long time, so that, in itself, makes it really extraordinary.”

White will conduct the performance. “Requiem” was last performed at UNL in 1968.

“The Verdi Requiem should always be one of those ‘wow’ events in any musical culture,” White said. “It is a piece of such emotional intensity and grandeur of architecture that it’s an awe-inspiring experience.

“You have all of these different aspects coming together—all the emotional power, all the cosmic power, all the drama, the sense of ancient rituals unfolding before you and the whole drama of human history.”

The seven sections of the piece correspond to parts of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead.

Four vocal soloists at the performance will include School of Music graduate student Talea Schroeder Bloch, soprano; and three School of Music alumni: Richard Drews, tenor; Charles Robert Austin, bass; and Adrienne Dickson, mezzo-soprano.

Performing this work reflects the growth of the School of Music in the last several decades, White said.

“Our ability to perform this now reflects not just a recent growth, but also the tradition of what music at UNL is, and the way that tradition gets fostered and built upon from one generation to the next,” White said. “So bringing this work back to UNL is a step toward building further upon the musical traditions we have here and to make them not just more lasting, but even broader and deeper in their roots to the community.”

— Kathe Andersen, Fine and Performing Arts