Verdi conceived his masterpiece on a grand scale. It is as dramatic and powerful as any of his operas. Some critics were distressed at the overtly theatrical character of the music. Some called it sensational and irreligious, yet the most overtly dramatic moments also provide its most moving and even devout passages. The whirling tumult of the Dies irae or the majestic trumpet summons in the Tuba mirum convey a terrifying vision worthy of those from the Book of Revelation.
Whatever may have been written about it, audiences loved it and Brahms himself wrote that only a genius could have written such a work. It stands as an honest spiritual testament from a man who naturally conceived and described his experiences in powerful, direct and theatrical terms.
‘The Requiem shifts priorities between soloists, choir and musicians. The Requiem described as “a work of far-reaching and emotional magnitude” and by Classic FM as “in the ‘blockbuster’ category” hugely lived up to expectations and more, vibrating the very structure of the concert hall at times’
Francesco Cilluffo’s future engagements include Tosca Tulsa Opera (US Debut), Roméo et Juliette and Madama Butterfly New Israeli Opera, La Traviata Opéra Royal de Wallonie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona, Reggio Emilia and OperaLombardia (Como, Brescia, Pavia), and the season’s opening concert for Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino with a Poulenc programme.
Recent operatic engagements includes Il barbiere di Siviglia Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa; Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Campiello Opera di Firenze and Teatro Verdi di Trieste; L’elisir d’amore Teatro Regio di Parma, Teatro Comunale di Modena and New Israeli Opera; Tutino’s Le braci (world premiere) Festival della Valle d’Itria, Martina Franca and Opera di Firenze; Nabucco Theater Kiel; and Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff Wexford Festival (broadcast on BBC Radio 3). Previous operatic engagements include Der König Kandaules Teatro Massimo di Palermo; Il Trovatore AsLiCo (Milan and Como) L’Arlesiana Teatro Pergolesi di Jesi (DVD and CD); Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana Teatro Nuovo di Sassari; Rossini’s Tancredi Circuito Lirico Lombardo (Pavia, Cremona, Como and Brescia), and Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio Teatro Regio di Parma and at Teatro Valli di Reggio Emilia. In concert, he recently conducted Das Lied von der Erde Festival della Valle d’Itria, Martina Franca; Verdi Gala Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and Festival Verdi in Parma; Duruflé’s and Mozart’s Requiem and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 14 Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, and concerts with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and ORT-Orchestra della Toscana for the opening of the Incontri in terra di Siena Festival.
As a composer, premieres include his opera Il caso Mortara (New York, 2010), choral cantata Voci di tenebra azzurra (Festival della Valle d’Itria, 2011) and the song cycle The Land to Life Again (Festival Incontri in Terra di Siena and UCLA, 2012). Francesco took part in master classes with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Gianluigi Gelmetti and Ivan Fischer. He worked as assistant conductor to Rani Calderon (Opéra du Rhin, Strasbourg, Royal Danish Opera), assisting also John Mauceri (Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra), Lothar Zagrosek (Teatro la Fenice), Asher Fisch (Teatro Massimo di Palermo) and Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Monteverdi Academy). Born in Turin, he received his conducting and composition degree from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and graduated in Musicology from Turin University. He continued studies in London, where he was awarded Master in Composition (with distinction) Guildhall School of Music and Drama and a PhD in Composition King’s College, London.
Russian soprano Vlada Borovko became a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the start of the 2015/16 Season, immediately upon her graduation from the Kazan State Conservatory. Shortly after her joining the program, she made an impressive debut as Violetta Valéry on the main stage of Royal Opera House, when she was called at the last moment to step in for an ailing colleague. The event marked not only her debut in the role but also her stage debut in a leading role.
In her 2016/17 season with the Royal Opera House, Borovko will sing Clotilde Norma, Ermione Oreste, Mlle Jouvenot Adriana Lecouvreur, Giannetta L’elisir d’amore as well as covering Leonora Il Trovatore, Aspasia Mitridate Re di Ponto, and will continue to cover Violetta La Traviata.
Borovko initially went on to study foreign languages at the Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod. Upon her graduation she enrolled at the Kazan State Conservatory where she studied under the guidance of Galina Lastovka. While still a student, she was invited to take part in the world premieres of two contemporary works and sang Stephano Roméo et Juliette in Kazan. She made her professional opera debut as
Mércèdes Carmen at Tatar State Opera and Ballet Theatre and sang Annie and Strawberry Woman Porgy and Bess with Marco Boemi at the International Shalyapin Opera Festival.
Last season, alongside her debut as Violetta, other roles with the Royal Opera House included Frasquita Carmen, Xenia in a new production of Boris Godunov which was also presented at the BBC Proms, Anna Nabucco and a venture into another Verdi role, Leonora in Il Trovatore, which she covered over the summer.
Canadian mezzo soprano Lucia Cervoni studied at the Manhattan School of Music‚ where she received numerous awards and scholarships‚ including the Hugh Ross Award and the Anna Case Mackay Grant from Santa Fe Opera . She was a member of Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Programme‚ where she performed roles such as Mrs Grose The Turn of the Screw and Carmen in Peter Brooks’ The Tragedy of Carmen‚ and won the Washington International Singing Competition in 2007.
Recent and future engagements include Octavian Der Rosenkavalier (Welsh National Opera)‚ Suzuki Madama Butterfly (Den Jyske Opera)‚ title role in Philippe Boesmans’ Julie (Canadian Stage‚ Toronto) and Dorabella Cosi fan tutte‚ Siebel Faust‚ 3rd Lady Die Zauberflöte‚ Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro‚ Ulrica Un Ballo in Maschera‚ Frau Reich (Meg Page) Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor‚ Suzuki Madama Butterfly and Donna Isabella Die Braut von Messina (Theater Magdeburg).
As a Fest Artist in Magdeburg she has also sung the roles of Octavian Der Rosenkavalier‚ Charlotte Werther‚ Carmen‚ Hansel Hansel und Gretel‚ Eboli Don Carlos‚ Suzuki‚ Hermia A Midsummer Night’s Dream‚ Niklaus / Muse The Tales of Hoffmann‚ Zita Gianni Schicchi‚ Maddalena Rigoletto‚ Diana Orpheus in the Underworld‚ Tisbe La Cenerentola and Henze’s El Rey de Harlem. Further engagements in Europe include Charlotte (Theater Freiburg) and Suzuki (Staatstheater Schwerin).
Engagements in the USA include Third Lady Die Zauberflöte and Tessa in John Kennedy’s The Trinity (Santa Fe Opera)‚ Cornelia Giulio Cesare (Glimmerglass Opera) and Suky Tawdry The Beggar’s Opera (Castleton Festival‚ under Lorin Maazel).
Notable concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Missa Solemnis (Santa Fe Symphony)‚ St John Passion (Singapore Symphony)‚ Mahler’s Die Rückert Lieder Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Magdeburg) and Messiah (South Carolina Philharmonic).
Recordings include Donna Isabella Die Braut von Messina (released May 2016).
Italian-American tenor Leonardo Capalbo has garnered international acclaim for his performances throughout the United States and Europe. Lauded for his rich, lyric voice and dramatic intensity, Capalbo has received acclaim at houses such as Berliner Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival, L’Opéra de Lyon, Teatro Regio di Torino, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Semperoper Dresden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, New York City Opera and Welsh National Opera amongst others.
In 16/17 Capalbo will return the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to perform the title role in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffman. Other engagements include Don José Carmen in Sevilla, Duca Rigoletto (Wichita Opera) and Alfredo La Traviata (Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa) in Warsaw.
A trainee of the Juilliard School of Music, The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and L’Académie Musicale de Villecroze, Capalbo worked under the guidance of the legendary Marilyn Horne. He made his operatic debut in 2004 as Paco in de Falla’s La Vida Breve for Opera North. Further engagements with the company included Ismaele Nabucco, later released on Chandos; Romeo Romeo et Juliette; Narraboth Salome; and Juan in Weill’s Der Kuhhandel.
Last season Capalbo made two important house debuts: La Monnaie, with Mariusz Trelinski’s Powder Her Face and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Ismaele Nabucco. Other important debuts included his first Cavaradossi at Minnesota Opera, Don Jose Carmen at Palm Beach Opera, which he reprised at the Greek National Opera, and Arturo in La Stranieraat the Concertgebouw, part of the prestigious Saturday Matinée Series.
Jongmin Park was the Song Prize winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2015, and is currently a member of the ensemble at Wiener Staatsoper, where in the 2016-17 season he stars in operas such as La bohème, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, Don Giovanni, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure and Don Carlo.
In the 2016/17 season, in addition to his operatic engagements in Vienna, he will make his Wigmore Hall recital debut; in concert he performs Verdi’s Messa da Requiem at the Wiener Konzerthaus and also at the Royal Festival Hall with The Philharmonia & Edward Gardner and he will perform in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the NHK Orchestra in Japan, under Herbert Blomstedt.
Looking ahead, Jongmin will make his Scandinavian opera debut at Bergen Nasjonale Opera singing Otello (Lodovico).
Recent highlights include his debut at the ROH Covent Garden as Colline in La bohème, appearances at the BBC Proms in London and at the City of London Festival 2014. In addition to the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2015, other prizes and competitions he has won include the International Tchaikovsky Competition, and the Birgit Nilsson Wagner-Award at the Operalia.
His concert engagements have included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the London Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de Confessore at Teatro alla Scala’s annual Christmas concert, Mozart’s Requiem at the Lech Classic Festival, Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the KBS Symphony in Seoul, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the NHK Symphony in Tokyo. He has performed solo recitals in Munich and Frankfurt, as well as the Musikverein in Vienna.
Jongmin studied singing at the Korea National University of Arts. As a member of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, he was guided by Mirella Freni, Luciana Serra, Luigi Alva, and Renato Bruson and during the 2010-2013 seasons, he was a member of the ensemble at the Hamburgische Staatsoper where he sang leading roles such as Sarastro, Colline, Sparafucile. In 2013, he was invited to join the ensemble at the Wiener Staatsoper where he has performed the roles of Sir Giorgio (I Puritani), Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Vodník (Rusalka), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Truffaldino (Ariadne auf Naxos).