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Verdi's majestic requiem brought to Huddersfield by Slaithwaite Philharmonic

Massed voices and instruments of Slaithwaite philharmonic Orchestra and Bradford choir will raise the roof of the town hall.

Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra at Huddersfield Town Hall

More than 200 musicians and choristers will take to the stage of Huddersfield Town Hall on Saturday, November 21, for a powerful performance of Verdi’s Requiem.

The concert, the latest in the series from Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra, will feature the massed voices of the Bradford Festival Choral Society and a quartet of acclaimed vocal soloists from around the country.

It promises to be an evening of impressive music. As Chris Woodhead from the Philharmonic says: “You will get a big sound – Verdi writes for a big sound.”

Although the orchestra doesn’t often perform with choirs, the members did join forces with the Bradford singers for a special performance of Britten’s War Requiem last year. The concert proved to be so successful that it was decided to stage a further collaboration.

“We always like to do new things,” explained Chris, “so after last year we started looking for other projects with the choir. The Verdi requiem is a popular piece that many people will know.”

The orchestra’s musical director Benjamin Ellin agrees that the audience will make an instant connection with the work.

He said: “It is music that is often heard and has been used for all sorts of reasons.

Once the thundering chords of the Dies Irae begin everyone will realised they have a reference point. The brilliance of Verdi is his ability to create drama, intensity and excitement in the music to tell the story of the text.”

While the 1874 requiem is a piece of religious music – the musical setting of the Roman Catholic funeral mass – Benjamin believes it is accessible to audience members from both religious and non-religious backgrounds.

Slaithwaite principal conductor Benjamin Ellin

He explained: “The music will take you on a real emotional journey for the entire work, which is surely one of the greatest things that music can do, isn’t it?”

The soloists for the concert are mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons, who recently joined the Glyndebourne Festival chorus and has appeared with Mid Wales Opera; bass Gavin Horsley, currently musical director at St Augustine’s, Kensington, who recently performed in The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace at the Royal Festival Hall; former Huddersfield University music student Emma Smith, a member of the chorus of the Royal Opera House since 2012; and David Butt Philip, a tenor, who began his musical training as a chorister in Peterborough Cathedral but is now with English National Opera.

Marta is making her second appearance with the SPO, having featured last October in the premiere performance of Benjamin’s work Letters from Home.

Tickets for the concert are from £9 to £18 from Kirklees box offices, 01484 223200.

Children accompanied by an adult are admitted free to the gallery area. Benjamin will lead a pre-concert discussion at 6.30pm. The concert starts at 7.30pm.

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