Verdi - a date of note

Lord Williams’s Festival Chorus is set to stage one of the most spectacular of choral works, Verdi’s Requiem.

The extraordinary piece being performed in Thame on 25 March is often referred to as his greatest opera and is a huge challenge for any choral society.

It is said that the work simply requires the four best soloists in the world. Lord Williams’s have managed to procure the services of four top-class singers to fulfil those roles.

Soprano Naomi Harvey is known for her wonderful portrayals of Tosca, Mimi and Butterfly at Welsh National Opera and has sung frequently with the Royal Opera in Covent Garden.

Mezzo Soprano Alison Kettlewell has sung for major companies across Britain and Europe and will make her Royal Opera House debut next year.

Tenor Geraint Dodd is considered one of the finest Verdi tenors of his generation and has appeared all over the world in dramatic tenor roles. Baritone Eddie Wade is also internationally renowned for such roles as Rigoletto with Scottish Opera and The Father in Hansel and Gretel with Netherlands Opera. He also sings regularly at the Royal Opera House and at Glyndebourne.

Musical director  Jeff Stewart, pictured, himself an international operatic tenor, has instilled operatic principals in the choir, and has them sounding absolutely on top form. Add to this a 37-piece orchestra and an unforgettable evening is in store.

Verdi puts into his music his pain and anger at having lost his wife and children at early ages. It is filled with musical pictures of the hell portrayed by the church at the time, and desperation for loved ones not to go there.

What you need to know:
Verdi’s Requiem, 25 March at 7.30pm at the Thame Leisure Centre, Oxford Road, OX92BB. Tickets £15 adults, £12; concessions £5 under 18s.