Verdi Requiem at the White Rock – Hastings Battleaxe enjoys a great performance

A quick post to acknowledge the great night we had last night at the White Rock Theatre. The 90th Anniversary concert of the Hastings Philharmonic Choir, performing the Verdi Requiem with the Kosovo Philharmonic Choir, the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra and four excellent soloists, pulled together excellently, as ever, by the multi-talented Marcio da Silva.

What a crowd – that’s our Mayor, Judy Rogers, just going on stage to welcome everyone. Her last public engagement in the role. Her son, Andrew Battley, has just been elected to the Council in our ward, Ore. He seems a very good sort of bloke…

     What was not to like – a massive choir, orchestra, soloists and conductor all crammed onto the none-too-big stage  – no exaggeration, one of the double bases almost had a foot hanging into empty space, and I was concerned that the first violin would elbow the soprano in the back….
      The weather has now gone scorchio hot beserk. I expected to boil in the theatre but was surprised that it was actually quite cool – have they improved the air-con?  As usual for such events, everyone who was everyone in Hastings was there – it all gets a bit schizoid as one person after another comes along, says hello and starts a new conversation – we bounced merrily from the WI to the latest show at the Jerwood to Hastings Literary Festival to philosophers to local politics to Seasalt dresses to ballet without drawing breath. Just on the ballet theme – you remember my wretched achilles tendon injury? Well, it is still not totally right, and I fear it may never be one hundred percent better. No more ballet for me, sadly.
       The theatre was relatively full, but still some empty space down the sides of the suditorium… but don’t forget it has 1066 seats to fill…
        Verdi’s Requiem is very dramatic – and very operatic. It was completed in 1874, partly to commemorate the death of the author Alessandro Manzoni – in the order of Verdi’s works, it comes between Aida and Otello. (incidentally, Manzoni is one of those characters that seems to follow us around – think Milan, Lake Maggiore, the Hotel Tramontano in Sorrento..)  I had never actually seen a live performance of the Requiem and hadn’t realised that the famous ‘Dies Irae’ is repeated several times – oh goody. I don’t envy the guy on the big drum… dah dah ta dah BANG dah dah ta da BANG.  Get that wrong and you’d be in trouble…..
        The soloists were excellent, particularly, I thought, Catia Moreso, the mezzo, who had a  massive back-of-the-Albert-Hall-without-a-microphone belter of a voice. At first, we thought she would domiinate the other three, but fortunately they all got themselves together and rose to the occasion magnificently.

All singing their socks off….

         Marcio da Silva did an excellent job of keeping such a vast horde all on track – I don’t know how much rehearsal time they all had together, but it can’t have been much. The performance was very clear and crisp.
         A good night. As usual, I say how lucky we are in Hastings to have music of that quality.

Taking well-deserved bows

         Tomorrow it is Jack in the Green – all WI hands on deck for our annual do at the Jenny Lind. More heatwave is forecast…..interesting. The town will be absolutely packed but will they come to us… who knows.  Last year it was wet and cold and our room was absolutely heaving.

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