The Verdi Requiem
The Verdi Requiem was first performed in 1874 to mark the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni, a famous Italian writer and patriot whom Verdi greatly admired. It is also sometimes referred to as the Manzoni Requiem.
There is no doubt that the music is beautiful, as beautiful as any music that Verdi composed for the greatest of his operas. Indeed, the Requiem is often favorably compared to Verdi’s operas and is often described as “operatic”. The tenor solo section, called the “Ingemisco” may be one of the most beautiful pieces that Verdi, or anyone else for that matter, ever wrote.
Please keep in mind that this is NOT an opera performance. There are four soloists and a large chorus. The whole thing lasts around 75-80 minutes and there is no story.
Should You Go?
This depends on you. If you are anxious to see a live performance of a great choral work with a good cast of singers then you should certainly attend. But if you prefer to go to the Met in a week when only full-length operas are being performed, then it would be better to stay home and listen one of the many fine recorded performances of the Verdi Requiem. My own favorite is the old one with Gigli and Ezio Pinza.