Asmik GRIGORIAN, soprano
Zanda ŠVĒDE, mezzo-soprano
Dmytro POPOV, tenor
Edgars OŠLEJA, bass
Latvija State Choir
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Andris POGA
This year’s edition of the traditional ‘To Andrejs Žagars from Friends’ concert presents a rendition of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem – a monumental piece of sacred vocal and instrumental music steeped in the wealth of the composer’s melodic brilliance and his masterful talent for the dramaturgy of large-scale musical forms.
Written in memory of the Italian poet and writer Alessandro Manzoni (1785–1873), Verdi’s Requiem is not so much a mirror reflecting the eternal light as a dramatic opus evoking reflections on worldly matters, offering the listener unforgettable moments of emotional experience.
In Cēsis the piece will be interpreted by the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of outstanding solo vocalists and Latvija State Choir under the baton of Maestro Andris Poga.
After a lengthy interval, we will hear once again the voice of Asmik Grigorian; the Lithuanian soprano, highly acclaimed by opera critics and much loved by audiences, has always emphasised the role Andrejs Žagars played in the formative stage of her international career, both as a director and the head of the Latvian National Opera. Today, Grigorian performs at the world’s most influential opera houses and festivals, including the Royal Opera in Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid, La Scala and in the Salzburg Festival productions by directors like Romeo Castellucci, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Robert Wilson, Barrie Kosky and Claus Guth. Asmik Grigorian works with some of the world’s leading conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Vasily Petrenko, Franz Welser-Möst, Vladimir Jurowski, Markus Stenz, Alan Gilbert and Michael Tilson Thomas.
The concert ensemble will also feature Zanda Švēde, a Latvian mezzo-soprano currently recognised as one of the best Carmens in the world. Zanda Švēde sings at the leading opera houses and concert halls in America and Europe and is currently a soloist at Oper Frankfurt.
The tenor part of Verdi’s Requiem will be performed by the great Ukrainian singer Dmytro Popov, who has worked at the world’s leading opera houses like the Metropolitan Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid and Bayerische Staatsoper. The tenor has appeared in concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.
The bass part will be performed in Cēsis by the youngest among the concert’s ensemble, winner of the 2021 Grand Music Award in the Best Young Artist category Edgars Ošleja.
Appearing alongside the soloists, Latvija State Choir is recognised as one of the leading interpreters of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem and frequently takes part in performances of the opus with leading orchestras and conductors at concert halls throughout Europe and the world.
Taking place for the fifth time, this year’s ‘To Andrejs Žagars from Friends’ concert is organised by Andrejs Žagars Foundation for Culture in association with Cēsis Concert Hall and Latvian National Symphony Orchestra.