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Orchestra to perform for sold-out crowd at Bass Hall

The university orchestra and choir will perform Verdi’s “Requiem,” which was written by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, for a sold-out crowd Monday at Bass Performance Hall.The choral and orchestral masterpiece will be performed by the 150-member Fort Worth-TCU Symphonic Choir and the 75-member TCU Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by Ronald Shirey. Shirey is the director of choir for the School of Music and the University Christian Church.

Although the show has been sold out since April 5, a waitlist has been set up on the music school’s Web site.

Kristen Queen, ticket manager for the production, said Bass Hall holds 2,200 people.

“We have a waitlist of about 150 people right now, and there should be a limited number of tickets available at the gate Monday.”

Verdi is recognized as one of the great Italian dramatists, said German Gutierrez, director of the orchestra. The Verdi “Requiem,” written in Latin, is considered to be one of the more challenging and stunning works of choral music, Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez has been preparing the orchestra for the performance for the last month.

“It’s a very demanding piece for soloists, and it’s like a symphony piece for the orchestra,” he said. “There’s so much interaction between the groups though; that’s the greatness of the piece.”

There will be four soloists who are alumni from the music school, including Jennifer €hung, soprano; Kimberly Gratland James, mezzo soprano; Roger Bryant, tenor; and Burr Cochran Phillips, bass.

Erin Gossett, administrative assistant to the orchestra, said she’s excited to see the final product.

“It will be really rewarding to see the performance Monday night,” Gossett said. “It’s been a huge undertaking to bring together the orchestra and the choir. It will be good to see the fruits of our labor.”

Gossett said the choir has been preparing for the show most of the semester.

Gutierrez said a requiem is a religious piece of music that pays homage to the life and death of a noteworthy individual. This particular work is dedicated to Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist who was admired by Verdi.

He also said Verdi had originally proposed that the leading composers in Italy collaborate on a requiem Mass in memory of Gioachino Rossini, who died in 1868. The idea never transpired though because of the difficulty the composers had in collaborating with each other.

After Manzoni’s death in 1873, Verdi was moved to finish the requiem in his honor.

After the show at Bass Hall, the Fort Worth-TCU Symphonic Choir will travel to Corpus Christi to perform the requiem with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra on April 21.

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