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Orchestra of the City and NLC: Verdi Requiem ‘Come and Sing’

On Sunday 12 May, part of a series of relaxed ‘playdays’ held by the Orchestra of the City, more than 70 singers, including members of the North London Chorus and guest singers, joined forces with the Orchestra in the Harris Academy, Swiss Cottage, to sing through Verdi’s Requiem. Led by conductor Chris Hopkins, the afternoon proved to be a great occasion to do justice to this stunning work with the combined power of the orchestra and chorus.

After singing through the entire piece and enjoying a well-earned break, we sang  a few highlights where the chorus has a chance to shine, including the unmistakable sound of the Day of Judgement arriving in a cascading outpouring of anguish that is the Dies Irae, contrasting with the soft intonations found in some of the beautifully delicate pleadings of the Libera me.

We were grateful to be joined by four soloists; soprano Elinor Rolfe Johnson, mezzo-soprano Sophie Goldrick, tenor Ben Thapa and bass-baritone Armand Rabot. Each of them elevated the performance and brought out the many colours of Verdi’s dramatic yet soulful piece.

2024 marks 150 years of Verdi’s colossal and operatic choral work, and on Saturday 22 June North London Chorus will be performing it in St James Church in Muswell Hill. On this occasion we’re delighted to welcome back Sophie Goldrick, and we’ll be joined by soprano Philippa Boyle, tenor Ruairi Bowen and bass-baritone Frederick Long.

Our Musical Director Murray Hipkin said “This really is an opportunity to hear the Verdi as you have never heard it before; we will be performing the 2013 version for small ensemble by Berlin-based choir director and music educator Michael Betzner-Brandt. His imaginative reworking of this epic and familiar piece as a chamber oratorio opens up opportunities for smaller-scale performances and invites us all to listen to it with fresh ears. The innovative arrangement is scored for piano, horn, double bass, timpani and percussion, including, somewhat unexpectedly, a marimba. The concert promises to be a wonderful showcase for NLC accompanist Catherine Borner who is joined by soloists from the Meridian Sinfonia.

Book your tickets now here.

Words and photos by Tim Lutton.