Easter Extraordinary Concert

On Tuesday 26 March, at 9 p.m. in the splendid setting of the Church of San Marco, the Extraordinary Easter Concert of the 24th Concert Season “del Centenario” of the Orchestra UNIMI will be held. An event emblematic of the Orchestra UNIMI’s growing commitment to initiatives of an increasingly inclusive nature, attentive to the most fragile social groups.

The Orchestra UNIMI, in fact, led by its conductor Sebastiano Rolli, and the Choir UNIMI, directed by Marco Berrini, will see the special collaboration of the La Nave di San Vittore Choir, made up of inmate-patients, operators and volunteers, and the Amici della Nave di San Vittore Choir, made up of former patients of the ward, ex-patients, people on alternative measures, as well as volunteers and ordinary citizens, directed by Paolo Foschini. A project that puts music at the centre, beyond all barriers.

The concert, a virtuous example of all-round synergy, will also feature the participation of soloists from the Advanced Course for opera singers of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala – soprano María Martín Campos and baritone Chao Liu – and the choir of the Faculty of Musicology of Cremona, directed by Margherita Bellini.

“A concert”, explains Luisella Molina, General Manager of the UNIMI Orchestra, “that unites apparently distant institutions in a musical project of cohesion and social inclusion, values that we believe are increasingly precious for our City”.

Choral singing is one of the activities of the ‘La Nave’ ward of San Vittore, from which the ‘La Nave di San Vittore Choir’ takes its name. It is not just an artistic activity but part of a process of care, rehabilitation and inclusion. The activity of the ‘Coro Amici della Nave di San Vittore’ refers to the same spirit: the integration of different realities makes the choir a highly formative moment.

The programme starts with a tribute to two great composers on the centenary of their death. The concert will open, in fact, on the notes of the Requiem for choir, organ and viola by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) composed in 1905 on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s death: a melancholic excursion beyond the confines of the opera genre, the chosen habitat of a Puccini by then at the height of his success. An intense opera that was already enthusiastically received at its first performance. “An anonymous review of the time reads: ‘The most ingenious and surprising resolution is greeted by the bystanders with mute admiration, a mute admiration that is worth more to maestro Puccini than any roaring ovation’.

This will be followed by a performance of the Requiem for soprano, bass, choir and orchestra in D minor op. 48 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), in its final version, completed in 1900, five years before Puccini’s, and first performed at the Trocadéro in Paris on 12 July of the same year. Today, the Requiem is counted among Fauré’s greatest works. Its composition dates back to 1887, probably in memory of his father, who died in 1885. Right from the start, the work was noted for its docile, serene character, far from the tragic and tumultuous models offered by tradition. Fauré himself went so far as to call it a ‘berceuse de la mort’ (‘lullaby of death’). “But that is how”, the composer admitted, “I feel death: as a joyful liberation, an aspiration to the happiness of the afterlife, rather than as a painful passage”. This is why Fauré chose to exclude from his Requiem the dramatic text of the Dies irae, which had inspired the turbulent visions of Mozart and Verdi.