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“A Tour de Force”: LCSO, Masterworks Chorus and four guest soloists to perform Verdi’s Requiem

Leora Zeitlin

Giuseppe Verdi knew how to create unforgettable drama on stage, not only in his almost forty operas, but also in his Requiem Mass, a work whose emotional power and range has been known to terrify, astound in its beauty and chilling effects, and bring one to tears. In a section meant to evoke heavenly trumpets calling from the next world, four trumpets play on stage and four off-stage. “It just raises the hair on the back of your neck, it’s so beautiful,” says Dr. Lonnie Klein, who will conduct the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra in two performances of the Requiem this weekend.

Klein last conducted the work 15 years ago, but each time, he says, is a kind of pinnacle for a conductor. “There are lots of things one can do in a career, but to conduct Verdi’s Requiem is very special,” he said in this interview with KRWG’s Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin. “With the huge orchestra, and the chorus, and the singers, and of course the off-stage brass, it really is a tour de force.”

The LCSO will be joined in this weekend's concerts by NMSU Masterworks Chorus, and four guest artists: soprano Beatrice Villiger, who hails from Switzerland; mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer (who also performed the Requiem in Las Cruces under Klein in 2003)  from New York; tenor Daniel Weeks who is flying from Cincinnati; and baritone Mark Womack, from New York, who has previously performed in Las Cruces in Broadway roles. An open dress rehearsal takes place Friday night at 7:30 p.m., and full performances on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., all at the Atkinson Recital Hall.

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