UK artists to perform Verdi's "Requiem' in Hanoi

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Opera artists from the UK will perform Italian composer Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi's Requiem on May 14-15 at the Hanoi Opera House.

The concerts, organized by Vietnam National Opera and Ballet, will be conducted by Baritone James Cleverton. It will feature Soprano Joanna Weeks, Mezzo Soprano Alexandra Cassidy, and Tenor Edward Hughes.

A press release from Deutschland in Vietnam 2010, celebrating 35 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, gives a brief history of the famous composition:

As one of the most influential composers of the 19th century, Verdi was asked in 1869 to compose a section for a requiem mass in memory of Gioachino Rossini and proposed that this requiem should be a collection of sections composed by other Italian contemporaries of Rossini. The requiem was compiled and completed, but it was cancelled at the last minute (and was not performed in Verdi's lifetime).

Five years later, Verdi reworked his "Libera Me" section of the Rossini Requiem and made it a part of his Requiem Mass, honoring the famous novelist and poet Alessandro Manzoni, who had died in 1873.

The first performance of the Messa di Requiem took place on May 22, 1874, the first anniversary of Manzoni's death, in St. Mark's Church, Milan.

The second performance three days later, at La Scala Opera House, was received by the capacity crowd with tumultuous enthusiasm.

The Requiem became an overnight sensation, and was equally received at the many European performances that soon followed.

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