The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Performs Verdi’s Requiem Mass
with Soprano Angela Meade, Mezzo-Soprano Julia Gertseva, Tenor Stephen Costello,
Bass Daniel Borowski, and Chorus Pro Musica
April 24, 2016, 3pm | Symphony Hall
Soprano Angela Meade makes her Boston Debut and tenor Stephen Costello sings his first Verdi Requiem
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Verdi’s Requiem Mass with soprano Angela Meade, mezzo-soprano Julia Gertseva, tenor Stephen Costello, bass Daniel Borowski, and Chorus Pro Musica, conducted by Benjamin Zander. The concert will take place on Sunday, April 24 at 3pm with a Conductor’s Talk at 1:45pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Tickets for the performance range from $25 to $105. Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 617-236-0999 or by visiting bostonphil.org.
This performance marks the Boston debut of the thrilling soprano Angela Meade and the first Verdi Requiem performance by tenor Stephen Costello. Meade and Costello are both winners of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award and have been heard regularly at the Metropolitan Opera as their careers continue their meteoric rise. The quartet of soloists is among the most highly regarded on today’s musical scene; this Verdi Requiem will be a powerhouse performance unlike any other.
“Day of wrath, that terrible day.” So begins the medieval sequence that lies at the heart of Verdi’s Requiem. Verdi’s depiction of the Day of Judgment, and of man’s terror, as well as fortitude, in the face of it, is as viscerally charged and dramatically poignant as any scene from the greatest of his operas. The sacred and the secular meet in this most unusual of requiems. Verdi was not a religious man. He was acutely attuned to suffering in this world but not much concerned about what might come after. The four eloquent singers – one is tempted to say “protagonists” – declaim the words of the mass, but not as if preaching the word of the Lord. Rather, they depict, with sometimes harrowing explicitness, the very human reactions that they have to those words. Of all the really famous religious works of the past, the Verdi Requiem is perhaps the one most in tune with the temper of our times.
Benjamin Zander has been the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra since its inception thirty-eight years ago. He has led the newly formed Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for the past four years, during which time they have appeared in Carnegie Hall and made two highly successful European tours. Maestro Zander guest conducts in many parts of the world, especially with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he is recording the complete cycle of Mahler symphonies. These recordings have received extraordinary critical acclaim both for the performance itself and for Zander’s full-length disc explaining the music for the lay listener. Their recordings of Mahler’s 9th and Bruckner’s 5th Symphony on Telarc were nominated for Grammys for Best Orchestral Performance. Their latest recording, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, was nominated for a Grammy in 2014. He returns to London to perform and record Beethoven’s Ninth with the Philharmonia for Linn Records in 2017.
One of the most sought after speakers on leadership, Mr. Zander has given both the opening and the closing Keynote address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where on another occasion he was awarded the Crystal award for “outstanding contributions in the Arts and international relations.” In 2002 he was awarded the Caring Citizen of the Humanities Award by the United Nations. In honor of his 70th birthday, and 45 years of teaching at the New England Conservatory, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and the title of Faculty Emeritus. Leading psychologist, Rosamund Zander and he have collaborated on a best-selling book, “The Art of Possibility”, which has been translated into seventeen languages. His TED talk, The Transformational Power of Classical Music, is estimated to have been viewed by over ten million people.
American soprano Angela Meade is the winner of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award from the Metropolitan Opera and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. Since her professional debut in 2008, she has quickly become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation. Meade joined an elite group of history’s singers when she made her professional operatic debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera substituting for an ill colleague in March 2008, in the role of Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani. She had previously sung on the Met stage as one of the winners of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a process that is documented in the film The Audition.
Highlights of the 2015/16 season include a return to the Los Angeles Opera for her highly acclaimed interpretation of Bellini’s Norma, conducted by James Conlon. She opened the season of the Palacio de la Opera in Coruña, Spain as Leonora in Il Trovatore, a role that prominently figured in her season, as she also returned to the Metropolitan Opera in Il Trovatore; she will also sing the role for her return to the Deutsche Oper Berlin. On the concert stage she made a return to the Philadelphia Orchestra in their annual New Year’s Eve concert as well as Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand and will perform Verdi’s Requiem on three continents for three debuts, in Bilbao, São Paulo, and Boston.
Born in Leningrad, mezzo soprano Julia Gertseva studied singing, piano and conducting at the Conservatory in her hometown. She was engaged by the Mussorgsky Theatre in St. Petersburg and made her Italian debut in 2002 at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice as Vavara in Katja Kabanova, followed by Sonietka in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at Santa Cecilia in Rome conducted by Rostropovich. The following seasons she had her Paris debut with the Orchestre National de France with the role of Cecri in Alaleona´s Mirra conducted by Juraj Valcuha. She sang in Prokofiev’s Alexander Newsky in Catania, Charlotte in Werther at the Teatro Comunale Bologna, Carmen at La Scala, Milan, and at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Berlioz’ Romeo et Juliette at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam conducted by Sir Colin Davis, in addition to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony conducted by Myung Whun Chung, Fenena in Nabucco at the Vienna Staatsoper, and Polina in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame at La Scala. In 2006 she sang the title role in Carmen conducted by Georges Prêtre at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, at the Semperoper in Dresden, and at the Teatro Regio in Turin, as well as Laura in La Gioconda in Catania, and Fenena at the Teatro Comunale Bologna.
Star tenor Stephen Costello came to national attention in 2007 when, at the age of 26, he debuted at the Met’s season-opening night and was quickly invited to appear again that same season. In 2009 he won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award. He subsequently made his debuts at a number of the world’s most important opera houses and music festivals, including London’s Royal Opera House, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Salzburg Festival, and the Vienna State Opera.
His notable roles include Donizetti’s Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Lord Percy (Anna Bolena), Tonio (La fille du régiment), and Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore); Puccini’s Rodolfo (La bohème); and Gounod’s Roméo (Roméo et Juliette). He inaugurated the role of Greenhorn in the Dallas Opera’s world-premiere production of Heggie’s Moby–Dick in 2010, taking the role on to San Francisco Opera when he made his debut there a couple of years later. In 2011 he opened the Met’s season again, this time as Lord Percy. Last season he sang Tonio for the first time at San Diego Opera, and he made his debut at the Berlin Staatsoper as Rodolfo. In the 2015/16 season, Costello starred in two fall productions at the Met, making his company role debut as the Duke in Michael Mayer’s Las Vegas-set production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, and reprising the role of Lord Percy in a revival of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.
Bass Daniel Borowski is a graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio in London. Since graduation he has worked with the leading opera theaters of Europe. With the Berlin Staatsoper he has performed several roles, including the Commander in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Banquo in Verdi’s Macbeth, and Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma. He also collaborated with the Frankfurt Opera where he performed as Colline in La Bohème. He sang part of Aquarius in Dvorak’s Rusalka for a radio transmission in the Netherlands and has recorded the rarely performed Verdi opera I Masnadieri in London under the baton of Sir Edward Downes.
He has collaborated and recorded with many European and American labels and orchestras such as Philips Classics, Harmonia Mundi, London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St Martin’s in the Fields, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Polish Radio Orchestra, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. He has performed in major European venues such as the Royal Albert Hall concert halls in Munich, Dresden, Hanover, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Warsaw.
Chorus pro Musica has built a superb reputation as one of the great choruses of New England. Known for innovative programming, Chorus pro Musica has collaborated with such famed organizations as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Ballet, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, the chorus has sung at Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. The Chorus was founded in 1949 by the late Alfred Nash Patterson, one of the most influential forces in choral music in New England, and quickly built a reputation for its professional-level musical standards and innovative programming. The Chorus is currently led by Music Director Jamie Kirsch and this performance marks their third appearance with the BPO.
About the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra:
The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), founded in 1979, is a unique blend of Boston’s top freelancers, students from local conservatories and amateur musicians. The vision of the orchestra, Passionate Music Making without Boundaries, inspires the orchestra to find ever new ways of bringing a deeper understanding and enjoyment of orchestral music to a wider audience. Maestro Zander’s unique approach to explaining classical music, and his intense passion for the art form now attracts hundreds of attendees for each pre-concert talk, which are designed as an intrinsic part of each Boston Philharmonic concert. The BPO has released five critically acclaimed recordings: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petroushka; Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G; Shostakovich 5th Symphony and First Cello Concerto, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.
The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) was founded in 2012 and is comprised of 112 members ranging in age from 12 to 21. They reside or attend school throughout New England, and rehearse on Saturday afternoons at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, in the South End. Since its founding they have released a commercial recording on Linn Records of a live Carnegie Hall performance of Shostakovich’s 5th symphony on and have completed two highly successful European tours. They perform two concerts each year in Symphony Hall and one in Sanders Theater at Harvard University. Their next performance is on February 5th in Symphony Hall, with Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and The Rite of Spring
As part of its community outreach and education initiatives, the BPO has founded the Crescendo! Program. Through Crescendo! activities, BPO and BPYO musicians teach individual and small-group instrumental lessons, provide music classes to students that would otherwise have none, and perform engaging and interactive concerts in the different Boston neighborhoods and 12 different public schools.