PITTSBURGH – Music Director Manfred Honeck will lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in dynamic BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts featuring Guiseppe Verdi’s Requiem Dec 3-5 at Heinz Hall.

While there are those who believe Verdi’s Requiem is too dramatic for sacred music, Honeck insists, “It cannot be dramatic enough.” This powerhouse of extreme emotion and exquisite moments set to the text of the Roman Catholic funeral Mass was composed to honor the death of Italian poet Alessandro Manzoni, whom Verdi revered.

The concerts begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 & Saturday, Dec. 4 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5. Tickets, ranging from $20 to $93, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting the PSO online at Patrons can buy a main floor seat to the Verdi Requiem performances and a VIP pass to the Vatican Splendors limited engagement exhibit at the Senator John Heinz History Center for $50 by calling 412.392.4900 or 1.800.743.8560.

A performance of early Italian sacred music by Chatham Baroque precedes the Requiem to illustrate the stark contrast between that era’s musical style and what Verdi wrote. The concerts also will feature Angela Meade, soprano, Marina Prudenskaja, mezzo soprano, Dimitri Pittas, tenor, Liang Li, bass, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

The PSO last performed Verdi’s Requiem at a special concert at Heinz Hall in July 2004.

The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for their 2010-2011 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Bobby Rahal Automotive Group is the Official Automotive Group of the PSO. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the Official Hotel of the PSO.

American soprano Angela Meade has become recognized as one of the outstanding vocalists of her generation. The New Yorker hailed her as “a lavishly gifted young soprano who sings across a very wide range with uncommon beauty and strength of tone … this fast rising soprano will undoubtedly have many triumphs.” Meade excels in the most demanding heroines of the 19th century bel canto repertoire, as well as in the operas of Verdi and Mozart.

Marina Prudenskaja began her professional career as a soloist at the famous Stanislavsky Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre in Moscow, where her repertoire included classic lyric roles such as Pauline (Pique-Dame), Ratmir (Ruslan and Lyudmila), Olga (Eugene Onegin), culminating in her award-winning performances of Carmen. In fall 2009 she made her acclaimed debut as Octavian in a new production of Der Rosenkavalier (Stefan Herheim/Manfred Honeck).

A native New Yorker, Dimitri Pittas is one of the most exciting young tenors in the opera world today. The New York Times recently said, “His effortless and cultured singing nailed Italian-tenor style with accuracy.  Mr. Pittas has a future and, evidently, already a present.” Pittas begins the 2010–2011 season in his debut with the PSO in Verdi’s Requiem. He also debuts at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Macduff in Macbeth and with Houston Grand Opera as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Liang Li is a much sought after concert singer and regularly appears in venues and festivals throughout Europe and Asia. His repertoire includes Mozart’s Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem and Missa per Rossini, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Bruckner’s Mass No. 3 in F Minor.

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is renowned for its versatility, singing oratorio, opera, Broadway, folk and symphonic repertoire. It holds the distinction of being Pittsburgh’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. The Choir is in its 101st season, the fourth under the direction of Music Director Betsy Burleigh.

Chatham Baroque continues to excite local, national, and international audiences with dazzling technique and lively interpretations of 17th and 18th century music played on instruments of the period. Founded in 1990, Chatham Baroque celebrates its 20th season this year with a full calendar of concerts, tours and musical collaborations.

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