The Vancouver Bach Choir presents a fine evening of opera with the Verdi/Wagner Bicentennial on March 23 at The Orpheum. The concert will celebrate the 200th birthdays of composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, two musical titans whose respective works changed the world of opera forever. Their legacies will be honoured with a dramatic program of choruses and arias.

“Both were born in 1813 and, through opera, became musical heroes in their respective nations,” according to Leslie Dala, Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir. “Italy’s Verdi penned works about humans that spoke to the heart. Germany’s Wagner created tales of gods and heroes that were steeped in thought. Two-hundred years later, their works are some of the most celebrated and frequently performed operas in the world.”

Born in a small village near Busseto, Italy, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was responsible for some of the most popular operas of all time, including Aida, La Traviata, and Rigoletto. He possessed a great gift for crafting beautiful, memorable melodies, which painted vivid emotional expressions for the lovers and monarchs who populated his operas. Though his musical contribution, he became a national hero in Italy, leading to a position as an elected senator when the country was united. Upon his death, there were scenes of national mourning unparalleled for any other composer.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was a Leipzig-born composer, theatre director, and conductor, famous for constructing highly-intellectual music with complex textures and rich harmonies. His operas, which place great technical demands on singers, include such masterpieces as Lohengrin, The Ring Cycle, and Tristan und Isolde (hailed by many critics as the start of modern music). In addition to a vast oeuvre of music, Wagner’s great legacy includes the creation of The Bayreuth Festival, one of the world’s most influential music institutions.

Though the two never met in life, their different approaches to art and music created a largely unspoken rivalry between the pair. The upcoming Vancouver Bach Choir performance will offer a very rare opportunity for audiences to hear and contrast the musicians’ distinctive brilliance side-by-side.

Vancouver Bach Choir

Verdi/Wagner Bicentennial will feature both the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and soloists from the UBC Opera Ensemble. The program will include scenes from La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, among others.

As one of the largest choral organizations in Canada, the Vancouver Bach Choir explores a wide range of repertoire from the past to the present with passion and commitment. Through its series of concerts presented at the magnificent Orpheum Theatre, the VBC continues to meet its mandate of commissioning and performing works by British Columbian and Canadian composers while presenting the world’s favourite symphonic choral works.

Vancouver Bach Choir presents Verdi/Wagner Bicentennial

Date: Saturday, March 23, 8 pm
Venue: The Orpheum, 884 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $25 to $59 (student/senior discounts available); purchase online, by phoning 604.696.4290 or in person at the Orpheum Box Office, M to F, 1 to 5 pm

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