Riccardo Frizza Leads Verdi’s Requiem at Duomo in Milan

By Francisco Salazar

Milan is set to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni with an elaborate cultural and artistic program taking place in its imposing Duomo.

On May 22, the anniversary of Manzoni’s death, Riccardo Frizza will conduct the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano and Coro Sinfonico di Milano in Verdi’s Requiem.

He will be joined by Serena Farnocchia, Anna Maria Chiuri, Luciano Ganci, and Luiz-Ottavio Faria.

The concert, promoted and organized by the Milanese section of the Istituto Nazionale per la storia del Risorgimento in Italia in conjunction with the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, will take place thanks to sponsorship by the Fondazione Per Milano. It will also be broadcast live on Duomo Milano TV with a repeat on May 29 on Classica HD (Sky, Channel 136).

In a statement, Frizza said, “Conducting the Verdi Requiem is always an exceptional challenge, not just from a musical perspective, but because the Requiem is the start of Verdi’s spiritual journey which was to continue up until his late Pezzi sacri. We know that Verdi had worshipped Manzoni from a young age, even though the two were to meet only in 1867. This gives us an understanding of how deeply the composer was affected by the death of Manzoni who had shared his commitment to the Unification of Italy and the Risorgimento values of freedom and justice. As a result, it was Manzoni’s death which persuaded Verdi to revive the old project, involving several composers, for a Requiem to commemorate Rossini, for which he had composed the final section, Libera me Domine. The Rossini project, which failed for many different reasons to come to fruition, had clearly been only the start and not the end of the Requiem project, which Verdi eventually concluded and gifted to the city of Milan. He himself conducted it on the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death, May 22, 1874, at the Chiesa di San Marco in Milan.”