Celebrating the Human Spirit Through Music As its final Symphonic series concert, Eugene Symphony presents one of the most treasured choral works of all time, Verdi’s Requiem

Posted on April 22, 2019

EUGENE, OR (April 16, 2019) — The Eugene Symphony presents Verdi’s Requiem on May 9, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., in its final Symphonic series concert of the 2018/19 season. The concert comprises a single, mammoth work – Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s towering Requiem, which spans nearly 90 minutes and incorporates a large complement of orchestral musicians including offstage brass instruments, the 150-member Eugene Symphony Chorus, and a quartet of solo voices. An unrivaled masterpiece, it is one of the most treasured choral works of all time, and is considered by many to be the Requiem by which all others are measured.   

“Verdi’s Requiem is a daunting task to undertake for any orchestra, chorus, and conductor,” says Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. “Perhaps what makes it most challenging is the way it blurs the line between sacred and dramatic, heavenly beauty and earthly virtuosity. But those are also the contradictions that have made this piece one of the most enduring musical testaments.” 

Verdi composed the work in 1873-4 to honor the passing of Alessandro Manzoni, a significant novelist, poet, and patriot whose works helped influence a national cause calling for Italian unification. By then, Verdi himself was a revered national treasure, and his chorus “Va Pensiero” from the opera Nabucco was an unofficial anthem for the Risorgimento, or Resurgence movement, that was pushing Italy toward its future as a united country. The Requiem was met with huge popular success, and has remained a landmark statement for orchestras across the globe in the nearly 145 years since its premiere in Milan on May 22, 1874. 
Joining the Eugene Symphony and Chorus are four top-tier vocal soloists who are equally at home on the concert stage as they are in opera houses around the world: soprano Katie Van Kooten; mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby; tenor Kang Wang; and bass Michael Dean. This will be the Eugene Symphony debut for the former three singers, while Dean returns after performing Handel’s Messiah with Lecce-Chong and the orchestra in December 2017. 
The Requiem combines Verdi’s dramatic operatic style, which he honed over his five decades of creative output including La traviata, Il trovatore, Aïda, and nearly two dozen others, with the text for the Catholic mass for the dead. It also features one of the most recognizable moments in all of classical music, the opening of the Dies Irae (or ‘Day of Wrath’) movement. Lecce-Chong says, “One of my earliest childhood memories of a concert is hearing the pounding bass drum in the Dies Irae. All these years later, it is still electrifying, and it’s just one of the many milestone moments in the piece.” 
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What: Verdi’s Requiem 

Who: Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor; Katie Van Kooten, soprano; Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano; Kang Wang, tenor; Michael Dean, bass; Eugene Symphony Chorus, Dr. Sharon J. Paul, chorus director 

When: Thursday, May 9 at 7:30pm Where: Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center for the Performing Arts 

Prices: Prices Range from $29 - $65. Youth & Student tickets are $10 
                                          Concert Week Events

  • Symphony Happy Hour, Monday, May 6 from 5-6:30pm, First National Taphouse, 51 W. Broadway Ave., Eugene – A casual presentation featuring Eugene Symphony Music Director & Conductor Francesco LecceChong that includes musical excerpts and highlights about the concert. (FREE) 
  • Eugene Symphony Guild Concert Preview, Thursday, May 9 from 6:30-7pm, The Studio, Hult Center for the Performing Arts – An engaging discussion with Francesco Lecce-Chong, chorus director Dr. Sharon J. Paul, and select members of the vocal soloist cast. (FREE) 

                                   Interview & Media Opportunities 

  • For interviews, contact Marketing & Communications Director Stephanie Domurat at 541-687-9487 x1114 or stephanie.domurat@eugenesymphony.org  
  • Francesco Lecce-Chong, Eugene Symphony Music Director & Conductor  
  • Scott Freck, Eugene Symphony Executive Director 
  • Dr. Sharon J. Paul, chorus director 
  • Michael Dean, bass soloist 

About Francesco Lecce-Chong  

A captivating presence on the podium, American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has garnered acclaim for his dynamic performances, commitment to innovative programming, and passion for community engagement. As Music Director & Conductor of the Eugene Symphony, Lecce-Chong follows in the path of renowned predecessors including Marin Alsop and Giancarlo Guerrero. Active as a guest conductor, he has appeared with orchestras around the world including the National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic. More at lecce-chong.com. 
About Eugene Symphony  

Now in its 53rd season, the Eugene Symphony is a nonprofit and 83-member orchestra based in Eugene, Oregon. Led by Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, Eugene Symphony reaches more than 50,000 adults and children annually with live music performances. Recognized as a cornerstone of the performing arts in Oregon's southern Willamette Valley, Eugene Symphony pursues its mission of enriching lives through the power of music by presenting annual classical and pops concerts, as well as music education and community engagement programs, regularly commissioning and premiering new American works, and disseminating its performances via radio broadcasts and recordings. More at eugenesymphony.org.  
Soloist Biographies 

Katie Van Kooten, soprano: http://www.katievankooten.com/  

Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano: https://imgartists.com/roster/...  

Kang Wang, tenor: https://imgartists.com/roster/... 

Michael Dean, bass: http://www.dispeker.com/artist...