In 1874 the conductor Hans von Bülow took one look at the score and called it "Verdi’s latest opera, though in ecclesiastical robes”. He refused to attend the premiere.
An extraordinary mix of sacred and secular, religious text and operatic emotional drama, Verdi’s Requiem is a great work written by an agnostic – compelling in its drama. First performed at the San Marco church in Milan, the female choristers had to be hidden behind a screen, lest the church be offended by their presence. Opinions have come a long way since then and Verdi’s Requiem is second only to Mozart’s as the most-performed setting of the Requiem Mass.
If you are a keen choral singer and would like to experience Verdi’s genius for yourself, join this special event organised by Choros, led by conductor Janet Lincé and vocal technique experts, Dr Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.
What to expect on the day:
A dramatic work needs special treatment and use of the voice. You will be expressing vocally the emotions of grief, loss, sadness, anger, fear of Judgement and the hope for lasting peace – all without losing your voice. We will be working on vocal stamina, the highs and lows of volume, the colour of the language, and the tonal quality required for a more dramatic style of singing.
If you are an experienced choral singer who already has some knowledge of this work, or are a good sight reader, eager to learn it, you will enjoy this workshop. We will be rehearsing sections of the Requiem together with members of Choros as they prepare for a concert performance, so there will be singers around you who already know the music well.
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available during the day but please bring your own picnic lunch and plenty of water. Music scores provided or you can bring your own Ricordi score. Workshop Fee: £35 per person.
To book, please follow the link below:
Passionate, complex and profoundly moving, Verdi's setting of the Requiem Mass is one of the most compelling pieces in the choral repertoire. Those who love the operas of Verdi will find much to relish with this work, which will be staged without an interval and last approximately 90 minutes.
Soprano - Erica Eloff
Mezzo - Yvonne Howard
Tenor - Joshua Owen Mills
Bass Baritone - Ben Davies
Conductor - Janet Lincé
Corona Orchestra - Leader Catherine Leech
Hands Up focuses on funding long-term and sustainable work in Health and Education to respond to the vast and varying needs of those affected by Syria’s conflict. We support projects both inside Syria and surrounding countries. Hands Up will be the beneficiary of collections made at this concert.
As winner of the London Handel Competition, Erica Eloff has worked with Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Players, regularly performs at the London Handel
Festival and has collaborated with Opera Settecento and the Hanover Band on various projects. Her engagements for the next seasons includes Leonora Fidelio for Theater Ulm, Elvida Fernando with Opera Settecento at both the London Handel Festival and the Händel-Festspiele Halle, and various concert and chamber music projects.
Erica’s most recent engagements include the title role of rodrigo at the Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, Tosca for Schlossfestspiele Schwerin, Tosca, Fiordiligi Cosi fan tutte and Königin der Nacht Die Zauberflöte at Theater Lübeck and Königin der Nacht at
Theater Bielefeld, Donna Anna Don Giovanni at Mozartfest Würzburg, Handel’s Elpidia at the Händel-Festspiele Halle, and Mahler 2nd Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah,
Brahms’s Requiemand Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder at the Barbican Centre.
Past engagements have included Farnaspe J.C. Bach’s Adriano in Siria for Classical Opera Company, Blumenmädchen 1 Parsifal with the CBSO/Andris Nelsons, Tippett’s A Child
of our Time at the Southbank Centre, Fiordiligi for Garsington Opera, as well as several world premieres of contemporary works by British, Argentinian and South African
composers. She has also worked with Opera North, Opera Project,Düsseldorf Festival, and Salon Musiek (South Africa). When not globetrotting in pursuit of her work, she enjoys being at home and spending as much time as possible getting on her children’s nerves.
Hailed by the press as ‘one of the finest singing actresses this country has produced’, Stafford
born Yvonne Howard’s career has taken her all over the world in repertoire as diverse as
Wagner’s Ring, Handel’s Messiah, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Handel’s Xerxes and
Theodora, and the internationally award winning film of John Adams’ The Death of
Klinghoffer for which she was nominated for a best actress award.
Yvonne studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, with Joseph Ward
and David Johnston, and since making her debut with both The Royal Opera, Covent Garden,
and English National Opera in the same season, has enjoyed a particularly varied career, as
her wide vocal range enables her to take on roles from both Mezzo Soprano and Soprano
repertoire (Zwischenfach roles). These include the title roles in Beethoven’s Fidelio (Royal
Opera, Covent Garden and Opera Holland Park) and Bellini’s Norma (ETO and Opera
Holland Park) and the roles of Sara in Roberto Devereux (Opera Holland Park under Richard
Bonynge), Ceasonia in Caligula (London, Buenos Aires and Hamburg), Sieglinde in Die
Walküre with the Hallé, (released on CD), Aunt Nettie in Carousel at the Barbican, Mother in
Hansel and Gretel(Royal Opera House and Garsington Opera).
Among her other works is Holst’s Savitri for Choros, with Janet Lincé, and with the CBSO
in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, The Dream of Gerontius in Lisbon, Seven Seeds with the
Aurora Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, The Monster in the Maze, LSO Barbican with Sir
Simon Rattle, ENO Katisha, in The Mikado and for Opera North, in their first complete Ring
Cycle in which she sang both Fricka and 2nd Norn.
Having recently completed 2 seasons at ENO, where she sang Berta in The Barber of Seville
and the Queen of the Fairies in Iolanthe, she went on to sing her first Mistress Quickly for
Garsington Opera in summer 2018. In March 2019 she sang in Beethoven 9 for the BBC
Proms in Dubai series followed by returning to Opera Holland Park, where she sang Rosa
Mamai in L’Arlesiana. Yvonne is currently with ENO in a revival of The Mikado and will go
on to the Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre to sing Mrs Grose in Turn of the Screw.
Concerts, recitals and Oratorio play a very important part in Yvonne’s schedule, and she is
particularly renowned for her Angel in Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, both soprano and mezzo
soprano roles in Verdi’s Requiem,and the song cycles Berlioz Les Nuits d’Eté, Mahler
Kindertotenliederand Rückert Lieder, Strauss Four Last Songs and Wagner’s Wesendonck
Yvonne enjoys working with young singers in masterclass and workshop settings and, since
2015, has been a Professor of Singing at the Royal Academy of Mu
We are delighted that the outstanding young tenor Joshua Owen Ellis is able to perform at this concert, replacing Alessandro who has had to withdraw for family reasons.
Born in Neath South Wales, Joshua was a Jerwood Young Artist with Glyndebourne, and between 2015-17 was a member of the Opera Studio at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.
Since leaving the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2014, he has worked at several opera houses including the Klagenfurt State Theatre, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Bavarian State Opera, Garsington, and Scottish Opera. He has also performed alongside conductors including Zubin Mehta, Kirill Petrenko, Omer Meir Wellber, and Simone Young.
Outside of the opera world, Joshua has a passion for singing concert repertoire and has travelled extensively performing in a number of iconic concert venues. Highlights include recitals at the North American Festival of Wales, Wigmore Hall, Nymphenburg Palace, and concerts at the Royal Albert Hall (Last Night of the Proms), Barbican Hall, and the Royal Festival Hall.
Aside from his passion for music, Joshua is an enthusiastic (shoddy) runner and is known to dabble in cooking..
Ben Davies studied at the Royal Academy of Music. His roles include Sailor (Dido & Aeneas) for William Christie and Deborah Warner at the Vienna Festival, Netherlands Opera and the Opera Comique, Paris; Bass (St Matthew Passion) for Streetwise Opera/The Sixteen under Harry Christophers; Ubalde (Armide – Gluck) for the Buxton Festival; Aeneas (Dido & Aeneas) under Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the Opera de Lyon; Judge (Das Wunder der Heliane - Korngold) under Vladimir Jurowski; Guglielmo (Così fan Tutte); Bartolo and Antonio (The Marriage of Figaro); Polyphemus (Acis & Galatea); Bass (The Fairy Queen); Amis (Le Pauvre Matelot – Milhaud); Marcello (La Bohème) in scenes for The Lesley Garrett Show, BBC and covers of Achilla (Giulio Cesare), Bass (St Matthew Passion), Mr Flint (Billy Budd), Betto di Signa (Gianni Schicchi), Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte) and Krušina (The Bartered Bride) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Recent concert performances include the Monteverdi Vespers, King Arthur, the Brahms Requiem, The Fairy Queen, Messiah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, the Fauré Requiem and both the St Matthew and St John Passions for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen; Adonis (Venus & Adonis - Blow) at The Wigmore Hall for Matthew Halls and Retrospect Ensemble; Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Purcell’s Ode on St Cecilia’s Day for Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, C Minor Massand Requiem with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir. Other notable concert performances include the British premiere of Hermann Suter’s Le Laudi, the Verdi Requiem in Leeds Town Hall and Bach’s solo cantata Ich habe genug in The Purcell Room.
Janet is widely experienced as a choral and orchestral conductor, teacher, workshop leader and mentor. She has been musical director of several choirs including Reading Festival Chorus, Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir, Newbury Choral Society and OUP Choir, and in 1995 she founded her own chamber choir Choros. For sixteen years she was chorus master for the highly acclaimed Newbury Spring Festival Chorus and in 2012 was appointed inaugural conductor of newChoir. Janet is also co-conductor, with Sarah Tenant-Flowers, of the chamber choir Encoro.
In 2012 Janet formed Corona Strings, a professional orchestra that has established a fine reputation for its dynamic sound and sensitive playing. She has also conducted The Brandenburg SInfonia, London Concertante, Orchestra da Camera, Orchestra of the Swan, the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra, Oxford Sinfonia and Beauchamp Sinfonietta. Janet has worked with period instrument ensembles such as The Monteverdi String Band, Canzona, Charivari Agréable and her own Corona Baroque Ensemble.
Janet trained as a singer and pianist at the Guildhall School of Music gaining her GGSM followed by a post-graduate year on the Advanced Accompanists’ Course. She worked professionally as singer and accompanist in London for a number of years before moving to Oxfordshire and establishing her career as a conductor.
Janet has a particular interest in the period instrument performance of the music of JS Bach and his contemporaries. However, her repertoire also includes the major oratorios such as Brahms' s Requiem, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Britten’s War Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah and Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony. She has also conducted less well-known works such as Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ, the Choral Fantasia of Gustav Holst, Britten’s The Company of Heaven, and Janáček's Otčenáš. Always keen to promote new repertoire, Janet has commissioned works from composers such as Cecilia McDowall, Andrew Gant, Katherine Dienes, John Duggan and Janet Wheeler.
Janet is greatly in demand as a choir trainer and workshop leader and has travelled widely in the UK, working with choirs and giving workshops throughout the country. She has toured New Zealand several times and in 2003 she was engaged for three months as guest conductor for Auckland Choral with whom she performed Handel’s Messiah and settings of the Gloria by Poulenc, Rutter and Vivaldi.
As a guest chorus master with the BBC Symphony Chorus, the Philharmonia Chorus and the London Symphony Chorus Janet has worked for conductors such as Andrew Davis, Richard Hickox, Yakov Kreizberg, Kurt Masur, Mikhail Pletnev. Roy Goodman, and David Parry.
The Oxford Chorus made its first appearance in 2015 in a performance of Holst’s The Planets, followed in 2016 by Debussy’s Nocturnes, bothwith Oxford Symphony Orchestra under Robert Max. More recently they performed in Beethoven ‘s Symphony no 9 in June 2019 at The Sheldonian, again with Oxford Symphony Orchestra. Many of the singers also performed in a memorable performance of Britten’s War Requiem conducted by Janet Lincé which was given at Guildford Cathedral in October 2011 in aid of Help for Heroes.
The choir is made up of experienced choral singers from several chamber choirs and choruses in Oxfordshire and the South-East and is brought together for specific projects. The singers are all excellent musicians with strong vocal skills and they come together for a short rehearsal period before each engagement creating a strong ensemble with an exciting sound.
The Corona Strings
Corona Strings forms the basis of the Corona Orchestra which is gathered for specific projects conducted by Janet Lincé.
Since its inaugural concert at the beginning of 2012 the orchestra has rapidly become a strong, cohesive ensemble and performed numerous concerts in and around Oxford, establishing a fine reputation for its dynamic sound and sensitive playing. The orchestra’s name celebrates Queen Elizabeth II in whose honour the first concert was given in February 2012.
Corona Strings is formed from the fine pool of professional players in Oxfordshire and beyond and its repertoire ranges from the Romantic ‘greats’ to music of the 20th century as well as exciting contemporary works. The orchestra’s first concert programme comprised works by Britten, Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams and Warlock and later programmes have included American music by Copland, Barber, Coolidge and Diamond, music by New Zealand composers Lilburn and Ritchie as well as works by Dvořák, Shostakovitch and Tchaikovsky. Many of the concerts have showcased talented soloists.
The orchestra also includes period instrument players who from time to time perform as the Corona Baroque Ensemble.
This performance of the Verdi Requiem will be performed in Reading Town Hall. Tickets will be priced at £32, £24, £19 and £14 with concession prices starting at £10. Tickets can be purchased from JUNE 17TH by calling 0118 960 6060 or following the link below.
This performance of the Verdi Requiem will be staged as originally conceived, without an interval. The Bar at Reading Town Hall will be open before the performance and again after the concert is over. Please note there will be no breaks in the performance and latecomers will only be admitted if possible, without disturbing other members of the audience.
Tickets for this very special concert are now on sale. This website will be updated regularly with information about the concert and availability of tickets. Please contact us via the links below with any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you!
Postcode for Satnav is RG1 1QH.
It is approximately 5 minutes walk from Reading Station
Parking can be found at The Oracle or Holyport Car Parks.
RG1 1QH, Reading, Reading, England, United Kingdom