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Night of brilliance with Verdi's Requiem.

WHEN Verdi's Requiem has faced criticism in the past, it has always been derided as too theatrical for its liturgical purpose. Yet Slaithwaite Philharmonic's dazzling tour-de-force performance on Saturday night proved that only when the bold step is taken to really embrace the drama of the work can it transcend into a truly spiritual experience.

Conductor Benjamin Ellin's precise control of ferocious forces sculpted the full range of theatre and nuance. From the dark, brooding colours of the Lacrymosa to the intensely Review Concert: Verdi Requiem by Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra with Bradford Festival Choral Society Venue: Huddersfield Town Hall Review: By Joshua Goodman joyful and filigree Sanctus - which the Bradford Festival Choral Society delivered with sheer brilliance - this was an honest and sometimes unnervingly brutal description of those most vulnerable moments of the human experience.

It's a big sing for the soprano and Emma Lucy Smith had guts and glory: the final climax of the Libera Me did not disappoint.

Alongside mezzo Marta Fontanals-Simmons, who delivered some of the most humble and movingly human moments of the evening, an almost sisterly prayer in the Recordare stands out. Soli in the haunting Lux Aeterna and Offertorio were also among the best moments.

Tenor David Butt Philip brought just the right balance of classic Verdian squillo and choral elegance; his Ingesmisco was sublime.

And although bass Gavin Horsley really only found his feet later on, his gentle, warm tone was just what we needed as the final storm approached.

The orchestra was on finer form than ever - assuredly sparkling throughout.

The acoustic of the hall slightly got the better of them in the iconic Dies Irae - I struggled to catch the voices.

It made little matter, though, as the choir had such a bold confidence and rich sound that, even when overwhelmed, their heartfelt presence was felt.

The performance is revived on April 16 at Bradford Grammar School.

Do go, you won't regret it.


Slaithwaite principal conductor Benjamin Ellin

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2015
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