Fantastic Verdi Requiem with Sofi Jeannin

20 June 2023

The Chorus had a wonderful time at the City Hall, presenting Verdi’s magnificent Requiem with the Halle and Leeds Festival Chorus conducted by Sofi Jeannin. Composed in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, a writer and humanist whom Verdi very much admired, initially the work was controversial because of Verdi’s overt operatic approach to a sacred text: he responded to every nuance of the words, such as the spine-chilling Dies irae and the thrilling double-fugue of the Sanctus.

‘It’s quite a demanding sing’ said Chorus Chair Jo Briddock, ‘We all need a fair bit of stamina for this one – but it’s absolutely wonderful to sing and we’ve waited a long time as it’s a concert that had to be postponed due to the pandemic’

The choirs and soloists from that delayed concert reassembled with the Halle, and Sofi Jeannin conducted with all the sensitivity to singers you might expect from the leader of the BBC Singers.

‘What a privilege to be a member of the audience last night!’ said Chorus President and soprano Rachel Copley who was unable to sing in the concert, ‘Soloists, orchestra, wonderful conductor, but above all, the massed voices on stage, giving us the full range of volumes and emotions, all testament to the hours of rehearsals under Darius’ guidance and training. Truly a very fitting closing concert of the season, and a wonderful celebration of music in the North!

The audience loved it, as the following examples of feedback show:

  • “Thanks – that was an immense performance. Whole thing was great – soloists, choir and orchestra.”
  • “Well done, that was phenomenal. We all reckon it was one of the best versions of that we’ve seen/heard. Worth the hard work!”
  • “That was honestly the best performance of this piece I have ever heard. Great soloists. Great orchestra. Outstanding chorus.”
  • “What an amazing concert!”
  • “Mesmerising performance tonight of Verdi’s Requiem with the Halle Orchestra. Good for the Soul.”