Stars Align for Verdi Requiem with Sir Andrew Davis

Joseph So, Musical Toronto

Verdi’s Requiem: TSO / Sir Andrew Davis (conductor), Toronto Mendelssohn Choir / Noel Edison at Roy Thomson Hall, Thursday, May 21, 2015.

Once in a while, when the music gods are smiling down from heaven and all the stars are aligned, an audience will get to witness an extraordinary musical event, a performance that will stay in memory for a very long time. Last evening’s Verdi Requiem was just such an event. To be sure, any time this work is performed is an occasion, as it represents Giuseppe Verdi at his greatest, an oratorio that is at once spiritual and operatic. But it takes extraordinary musical forces to bring it to its fullest glory. Likely the most frequently performed of all requiems with the possible exception of the Mozart, it requires a great orchestra, a superb quartet of soloists, and massive choral forces that have volume but also refinement.

… To my ears, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is a national treasure. I’ve loved their work ever since I started attending performances in Toronto. They must have sung this Requiem hundreds of times over the years. The smooth sound, the hushed tones, and the fiery outburst were all there – it’s an unalloyed pleasure.

Read the full review online.