Verdi’s epic Requiem Mass, a work considered by some to be his greatest masterpiece, had an extraordinary gestation.
Verdi was initially asked to contribute a single movement to a Requiem Mass in memory of fellow Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. However, the planned performance of this new work was eventually abandoned.
Years later in 1873, when Alessandro Manzoni died, Verdi decided that he would not make the same mistake and would compose an entire Requiem Mass on his own. He took the Libera Me that he had already written, and reworked it to become part of a new Requiem Mass.
Verdi’s Requiem Mass follows to some degree the traditional sequence of the Latin requiem mass but was modified by Verdi in a way which he considered to be more dramatic.
The result was a work described by critic Hans von Bulow as an “opera, in church vestments.” Composed at a time when many considered that Verdi would soon retire, Verdi’s Requiem Mass confirmed Verdi’s place as one of Italy’s greatest composers. After the first performance, one critic wrote that, “To follow the movement one by one would be quite impossible; but we will say, nevertheless, that all were applauded with rapture.”
On Sunday 3 September at The Concourse, the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra will combine forces with the Willoughby Choir to bring you the extraordinary experience of Verdi’s Requiem Mass. Filled with drama and extraordinary lyricism, hearing the Requiem live in performance is an experience that you will not want to miss.
Multi award-winning soprano Imogen-Faith Malfitano completed her Bachelor of Music (performance) and Masters in Music Studies (Opera Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She was awarded multiple scholarships, including the prestigious ESTIVO program in Italy and an Internship with Opera Australia as well as Young Artist with Pacific Opera.
Her opera roles include: Adina, L’elisir d’amore, the title role in Floyd’s Susannah; Titania in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen; Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville; Agatha the Cat, Queen of Hearts, Mary Contrary and The Spider in By the Light of the Moon for Opera Australia’s Schools Tour, amongst others.
For Opera Australia, Imogen is currently performing the role of Angelina in their NSW schools tour, Cinderella, and will be making her debut as Mimì in La Bohème with Penrith Symphony Orchestra. After performing in the spectacular new production of The Phantom of the Opera on Sydney Harbour as part of the Operatic female ensemble, Imogen is thrilled to be returning to the Phantom stage.
Celeste has performed many roles as a principal artist in Europe, Australia and Asia, including for Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden 2015-2018: Emilia (Otello, Verdi), Meg Page (Falstaff, Verdi), 3rd Maid (Elektra, Strauss), Kate Pinkerton and Suzuki (Madama Butterfly, Puccini),Innkeeper (Boris Godunov, Mussorgsky), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro, Mozart), and notably as Charlotte in Zimmerman’s challenging Die Soldaten.
An artist with Opera Australia since 2019, performances include Flora in La Traviata on Sydney Harbour, Mercedes in Opera Australia’s National 2020 Tour of Carmen, OA’s Great Opera Hits Concert Series, and her reprisal of Flora in 2022 in Sydney and Melbourne.
Other soloist appearances include the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Early Music Ensemble, the Deutsches Kammerorchester, the Frankfurter Philharmoniker, Residenzorchester Wien, Sydney Sinfonietta.
Simon Kim was born in Korea and graduated in voice from Kyung Hee University in 1992. He moved to Italy later that year and undertook postgraduate studies in Genoa, Perugia and at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria.
Whilst residing in Italy, Simon was successful in many vocal competitions and appeared as soloist in numerous concert performances around the country. Upon his return to Korea in 2001, he undertook many of the leading tenor roles in the repertory include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Alfredo in La traviata, Scorpio in La Pizza con Funghi and the title role in Werther. Simon also sang major roles in professional productions of Korean operas – with these companies, he toured to China and Germany.
On the concert platform, he has sung with all the major Korean symphony orchestras as well as the Central Russia National Orchestra and the Ukraine Symphony Orchestra. In 2008, Simon was invited to give a solo recital at the Russian National Art Academy in Vladivostok.
In 2009, he moved to Sydney, Australia and has become a principal artist with Opera Australia. Some highlights of his time with OA have included singing the role of Macduff in Macbeth, Remendado in Carmen and covering Gustavus and The Duke in new productions of Un ballo in maschera and Rigoletto.
In 2015, Simon Kim sang Calaf in Turandot and The Herald in Don Carlos for Opera Australia.
Richard Anderson was born in Sydney. He commenced musical training in voice and organ at St. Andrew’s Cathedral School and studied organ at the Sydney Conservatorium before moving to Canberra to further his voice studies at the Canberra School of Music. Richard joined the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artists’ Development Program at Opera Australia in 2003 and has since become a principal bass with the Company.
His Opera Australia repertoire include Zuniga (Carmen), Zweiter Geharnischter Mann (Die Zauberflöte), Cascada (The Merry Widow), Count Ceprano (Rigoletto), Diener (Lulu), Major-Domo (Capriccio), Un Ufficiale (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Imperial Commisioner (Madama Butterfly), Araldo (Otello), Erste Soldat (Salome), Sciarrone, Un Carceriere (Tosca), Vierte Edle (Lohengrin), Messaggero (La Traviata), Achte Diener (Capriccio), An Officer (Madeleine Lee), High Priest (Nabucco), Magic Christian (Rinaldo), Publio (La clemenza di Tito) and Curio and Achilla (Giulio Cesare).
In 1963 some sixty singers from local Methodist churches banded together to form the Northside Choral Society, and the first concert for the choir in August of that year was a broadcast performance on 2CH of Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. With the foundation of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in 1965 a natural partnership was born. The Choir’s name change reflected that, becoming the Willoughby Symphony Choir in 1973. Although the choir and orchestra remain independent entities, they are inextricably linked through their proud history of collaboration and indeed both exist under the auspices of the City of Willoughby. For many years resident in the old Chatswood Civic Centre, the home venue for both ensembles is now the world-class Concourse Theatre, one of Australia’s finest concert halls.
Willoughby Symphony Choir is now widely recognised as the one of Australia's finest community choirs. The schedule of upwards of eight concerts a year reflects the choir’s dual role as a performing ensemble in its own right, and as the symphonic chorus for the WSO.
Willoughby Symphony Choir also performs at community functions such as the Willoughby Spring Festival and Carols in the Park, as well as maintaining links with rural areas of NSW such as Orange and Bathurst. The Choir has performed regularly in popular music concerts at the Sydney Opera House and in 2008 conducted a successful tour of Europe.
Drawing from a singing membership of 130, every year sees the choir perform the major choral masterworks, as well as occasional forays into surprising pop and jazz repertoire. The choir also makes regular recordings and broadcasts.
Dr Paul Terracini was born in Sydney and has enjoyed a career in Australia and internationally as an instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He has held permanent positions as Principal Trumpet in the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Lecturer in Trumpet, Brass Ensemble and Big Band at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music; and Solo Trumpet in the Danish Chamber Players, Denmark.
As an instrumentalist, he performed as soloist in Australia, Europe, USA, and Asia. Within Australia, his solo performances included concertos with the Melbourne, Queensland, West Australian, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
Paul Terracini has appeared as an opera conductor at the German Rossini Festival in Bad Wilbad, for the Danish Bel Canto Society in Copenhagen, and the Storstroms Symphony Orchestra, also in Denmark. Since assuming the role of artistic director of the Penrith Symphony Orchestra in 2010, he has, apart from programming and conducting the symphonic repertoire, pioneered the performance of chamber opera in western Sydney. For many years he has been invited as a guest conductor/composer to music schools and universities in Europe, USA, China, and Australia. He appears regularly as conductor for the Conservatorium High School, in Sydney. As a choral conductor, he has recorded for ABC Classics with Ars Nova Copenhagen, and the Sydney based choir, Cantillation.
As a composer and arranger, his music has been heard throughout the world in a variety of genres, performed by, amongst others, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, the Danish Chamber Players, the Australian Brass Quintet, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Brass, and at festivals and conferences on every continent. His music for the two part ABC television series, Hymns of the Forefathers, in which he developed many of the traditional English hymns into symphonic poems, received international acclaim and was released on CD and DVD by ABC Classics. His title music for the television series, Classical Destinations, which was produced for three seasons, was featured on the ‘Number 1 Classical Album of the Year,’ released by Decca.
His new CD, Paul Terracini: Music for Brass, was released on the Tall Poppies label in May 2015. On this recording, he conducted his own music with Sydney Brass, featuring members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Paul Terracini also holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, having earlier completed a Bachelor of Theology and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours). His book, John Stoward Moyes and the Social Gospel, was published in 2015.