Many fans have followed the career of Ladysmith’s Betty Allison and will be glad to welcome her back. (Submitted)

Many fans have followed the career of Ladysmith’s Betty Allison and will be glad to welcome her back. (Submitted)

Requiem, Verdi’s masterpiece, presented in Duncan May 5

More than 100 voices, 50 instruments join in this stellar Consort offering

The Cowichan Consort Orchestra and Choir, together with the Malaspina Choir from Nanaimo, presents Verdi’s Requiem on Saturday, May 5 starting at 7:30 p.m.

The venue is Duncan’s Christian Reformed Church at 930 Trunk Rd., at 7:30 p.m. so it’s an easy in and out even for music lovers with mobility problems. Bring your friends.

Four musicians will sing as soloists.

Her Valley fans will be able to hear soprano Betty Allison join mezzo Anne Relyea, tenor Benjamin Butterfield, and Gary Relyea, bass-baritone.

Robert Mari, who will conduct, has some thoughts about the music.

“Although there has always been discussion/arguing about if it’s a religious work or opera, I prefer to take a very operatic approach to the music. Verdi has created so many layers of conflicting emotions underneath the religious text that, to me, turns the text into a drama. At the surface it is mostly a supplication or pleading for liberation from worldly suffering. At deeper levels all the stages of grief (denial, blame, anger, acceptance) weave in and out as internal dialogue like a dramatic tragedy.”

It is, in a word, Verdi.

Consort publicist Joy Ann Bannerman is also excited about the event.

“This monumental musical work will be performed by a 49-piece orchestra with 105 singers on stage. It is truly one of Verdi’s greatest gifts to his audiences. Considered by many to be like an opera, the Requiem has deep meaning and you will hear from the four esteemed soloists the most beautiful singing on Vancouver Island.

“Benjamin Butterfield, world class musician and noted voice professor at the University of Victoria, will be singing with the Consort between his scheduled concerts in Montreal and Europe. It is an honour to have Professor Butterfield join us. Betty Allison, Ladysmith’s opera star, who is working on her Doctorate of Music and known to many from Pacific Opera Victoria performances, will grace our stage for a third time. Anne and Gary Relyea will once again perform with the Cowichan Consort, always selling out the house with their outstanding performances,” she says in her release about the show.

Tickets are available at Volume One Book Store on Kenneth St. in Duncan, from Consort musicians, and at the door. Adult tickets are $20 each with students 18 and under getting in for $10. Don’t be disappointed, get your tickets early.