Verdi Requiem in Ely Cathedral Provides Glorious Culmination to Annual Eel Festival

Ely Sinfonia and Kings Lynn Festival Chorus wind up Ely’s Eel Day with one of the best-loved Requiems ever written

Two of East Anglia’s most vibrant community organisations join forces in Ely Cathedral on Saturday 4th May to perform one of the most loved Requiems ever written, bringing Ely’s annual Eel Day to a magnificent close.

On Saturday 4th May Ely Sinfonia and King’s Lynn Festival Chorus will together perform Verdi’s Requiem, which is widely acknowledged to be his greatest religious work.

Almost all of Verdi’s most performed works are operas. But his Requiem, is probably performed almost more than any of his other compositions. Yet he almost didn’t write it. “There are so many, many masses for the dead. It would be pointless to add one more”, he said to a friend.
But then Rossini died and Verdi reversed his decision and collaborated with eleven other Italian composers to produce a joint Requiem. His particular contribution was the Libera Me, which three years later he used as the basis for his Requiem for Alessandro Manzoni, an author and great Italian patriot who shared many of Verdi’s political ideals.

“We are delighted to be performing such a magnificent piece in Ely Cathedral on one of the city’s most important days of the year,” says Ely Sinfonia’s artistic director, Steve Bingham. “Verdi’s Requiem is one of the most dramatic, and certainly the most operatic religious pieces ever composed, containing many wonderful themes, the most famous of which is the ‘Dies Irae’, which everyone will recognise.”

Soloists include Aoife O’Connell, soprano, Freya Jacklin, mezzo-soprano, Michael Solomon Williams, Tenor and Laurence Williams, bass. All are young, up-and-coming soloists who are beginning to make a serious impact on the international opera and religious music stages. Apart from Aoife O’Connell, they have all appeared with Ely Sinfonia on previous occasions.

Press release from Ely Sinfonia

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