In die middle of his most productive period, Giuseppe Verdi took time out from operatic composition to compose a Requiem Mass in memory of his friend, the poet and patriot, Allessandro Manzoni. The resulting composition changed the face of thee sacred music forever. Making no concessions whatsoever to previous liturgical traditions, Verdi's "Manzoni Requiem" is at once deeply pious and vibrantly theatrical, bringing out die words of die liturgy as only the greatest master of theatrical music could.
Norbert Beilharz's film looks at this masterwork of 19th Century music through 20th Century eyes, presenting die entire work, not as die usual televised concert, but rather as a film collage, concentrating on three locations: St. Mark's Church in Milan, where the work received its first performance, as well as rehearsal rooms and the stage of La Scala.
But the film also reaches beyond the realm of musical performance, seeking a deeper meaning of the music in the world around us, and the way we look upon the subject of death and mouming. Images of immediacy, images of eternal values.
Soloists: Montserrat Caballé, Cecilia Gasdia, Lucia Valentini-Terrani, Peter Dvorsky, Chris Merritt, Samuel Ramey
Orchestra and Choir of the Scala Milano
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
A film by Norbert Beilharz