Albany Symphony prepares to present Britten’s large-scale choral masterpiece to Capital Region audiences for first time in 30 years.
Schenectady, NY- November 11, 2018 marks the centennial of the Armistice-the end of World War I. To commemorate the historic anniversary, the Albany Symphony will perform Benjamin Britten’s moving War Requiem, on Saturday, November 10, 2018, 7:30PM at Proctors Theater in Schenectady, NY. Under the artistic direction of David Alan Miller, Music Director of the Albany Symphony, the large-scale, non-liturgical setting of the Requiem will feature 200+ musicians including 100 voices from Albany Pro Musica, the Cathedral of All Saints Boychoir, tenor Tyler Nelson, and baritone Hubert Zapiór, as well as Met Opera soprano and Capital Region native, Emalie Savoy.
Composed by English composer Benjamin Britten, the War Requiem was premiered in 1962 at the consecration of Coventry Cathedral in England 22 years after the original 14th century building was destroyed during World War II. Britten, an outspoken pacifist, juxtaposed the traditional text of the Latin Requiem Mass with searing and beautiful war poetry by 2nd Lieutenant Wilfred Owen to create a powerful invocation of the perils of battle and the tragedy of war. Owen was killed in action on November 4, 1918, during the crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal in France, exactly one week before the signing of the Armistice. On the title page of the score, Britten quoted Owen “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity ...All a poet can do today is warn.”
David Alan Miller said: “The War Requiem is an absolutely unique work in the annals of music history. Britten essentially fuses two works, weaving together a large public requiem mass in the tradition of Verdi and Mozart for huge orchestra and large chorus, with an intimate set of poems depicting the tragedy of war for small chamber orchestra and solo singers. In addition, there is a heavenly boy’s chorus. Britten, arguably the greatest British composer of the 20th century, lost many friends and classmates during World War II. The “War Requiem” has held the stage alongside all the greatest choral works of earlier generations since its premiere in 1962. This is a rare and wonderful opportunity for our Capital Region audiences to hear this amazing, one-of-a-kind work.”
Leading up to the performance of Britten’s War Requiem, audiences can explore the “War to End all Wars” through films, lectures, and performances presented in collaboration with the Musicians of Ma’Alwyck, Proctors, Schenectady County Historical Society, Discover Schenectady, and the New York State Museum. Armistice Centennial events start October 16 and run through Veteran’s Day weekend. During this time the Albany Symphony is also collecting non-perishable food items for the Veterans & Community Housing Coalition in Ballston Spa, NY as part of the League of American Orchestra’s Orchestras Feeding America initiative.
Anna Kuwabara, executive director of the Albany Symphony said: “At the heart of the Albany Symphony’s mission is the desire to enrich and celebrate the people and history of the Capital Region through the power of music. The War Requiem provides the Symphony and the greater community an opportunity to explore and learn about the impact of World War I on the region and the lives of those who served. We are grateful to our partner organizations for joining us in providing over a dozen multi-faceted and in many cases visceral perspectives on the “Great War.”
Tickets to the Albany Symphony’s Armistice Centennial performance of Britten’s War Requiem on Saturday, November 10, 2018 are on sale now and can be purchased through the Albany Symphony Box Office: 518.694.3300, Monday through Friday, 10:00AM to 5:00PM or online at AlbanySymphony.com. Tickets start at $19. Food donations can be delivered to the Albany Symphony Box Office at 19 Clinton Ave, Albany, NY 12207 or at any Armistice Centennial event.