Performance Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 8 PM

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in Verdi’s Requiem—the conductor’s first performance at Carnegie Hall as the orchestra’s music director. Written three years after Verdi’s operatic triumph Aida, the Requiem combines the drama of the stage, the emotional power of an oratorio, and the intensity of a symphony in a grand Romantic expression of grief.


  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
    Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director
  • Marina Poplavskaya, Soprano
  • Christine Rice, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Rolando Villazón, Tenor
  • Mikhail Petrenko, Bass
  • Westminster Symphonic Choir
    Joe Miller, Conductor


  • VERDI Requiem


  • The Philadelphia Orchestra

    Renowned for its distinctive sound, beloved for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of "firsts" in music making, The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

    The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Christoph Eschenbach, and Charles Dutoit (who served as chief conductor from 2008 to 2012). With the 2012-2013 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Mr. Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music into the vivid world of opera and choral music.

    Philadelphia is home, and the orchestra nurtures an important relationship not only with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, but also those who enjoy the orchestra's other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn's Landing, and other venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association also continues to own the Academy of Music-a National Historic Landmark-as it has since 1957.

    Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, while also enjoying a three-week residency in Saratoga Springs, NY, and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

    The ensemble maintains an important Philadelphia tradition of presenting educational programs for students of all ages. Today, the orchestra executes myriad education and community partnership programs that serve more than 45,000 annually, including its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, and eZseatU. Visit for more information.

    Yannick Nézet-Séguin

    Yannick Nézet-Séguin became the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra with the start of the 2012-2013 season. Named music director designate in June 2010, he made his orchestra debut in December 2008. Over the past decade, Yannick has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most exciting talents of his generation. Since 2008, he has been music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic, and since 2000 artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal's Orchestre Métropolitain. He has appeared with such revered ensembles as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Dresden Staatskapelle, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and major Canadian orchestras. His talents extend beyond symphonic music into opera and choral music, leading acclaimed performances at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Salzburg Festival, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    Highlights of Yannick's inaugural season include his Carnegie Hall debut with the Verdi Requiem, two world premieres and one US premiere, and performances of The Rite of Spring in collaboration with New York-based Ridge Theater, complete with dancers, video projection, and theatrical lighting.

    In July 2012, Yannick and Deutsche Grammophon announced a major long-term collaboration. His discography with the Rotterdam Philharmonic for BIS Records and EMI/Virgin includes an Edison Award-winning album of Ravel's orchestral works. He has also recorded several award-winning albums with the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA Classique. In addition, his first recording with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mahler's Symphony No. 5, is available for download.

    A native of Montreal, Yannick studied at that city's Conservatory of Music and continued studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini and with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. In 2012, Yannick was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honors. His other honors include Canada's National Arts Centre Award; a Royal Philharmonic Society Award; the Prix Denise-Pelletier, the highest distinction for the arts in Quebec; and an honorary doctorate by the University of Quebec in Montreal. Visit to read Yannick's full bio.


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    Marina Poplavskaya

    Russian-born soprano Marina Poplavskaya drew international attention after singing the role of Rachel in Halévy's La Juive in concerts at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in the fall of 2006. Those critically acclaimed performances resulted in invitations from theaters around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut the following year as Natasha in Prokofiev's War andPeace, conducted by Valery Gergiev. She has returned each season for new productions of Verdi's Don Carlos and La traviata and Gounod's Faust, and has also sung Liù in Puccini's Turandot and appeared with the company in Japan in Don Carlos.

    Ms. Poplavskaya was born in Moscow and studied at the Ippolitov-Ivanov State Institute of Music. After winning numerous prizes in international competitions, including first prize in the Maria Callas Grand Prix in Athens, she began her professional career at the New Opera Theatre in Moscow, making her operatic debut as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. She joined the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of the Royal Opera in 2004 and made her company debut as the Third Norn in Wagner's Götterdämmerung under Antonio Pappano. Following La Juive, Ms. Poplavskaya made her French stage debut in Avignon as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni and her Spanish debut in Valencia in the same role under Lorin Maazel; she has also sung the role at Covent Garden. In the summer of 2008, Ms. Poplavskaya debuted at the Salzburg Festival as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, performing under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Later that year, she made her debut at La Monnaie in Brussels in a performance of Verdi's Requiem, followed by her Italian stage debut in Rome, again as Desdemona under Mr. Muti.

    During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Poplavskaya returns to the Metropolitan Opera in Faust, to Los Angeles Opera for Verdi's I due Foscari, to Covent Garden as Alice in Meyerbeer's rarely performed Robert le Diable, and to Netherlands Opera in La traviata. She also makes her debut at La Scala as Gutrune in Götterdämmerung under Daniel Barenboim.

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    Christine Rice

    British mezzo-soprano Christine Rice was born and educated in Manchester and studied physics at Balliol College, Oxford, before entering the Royal Northern College of Music to study with Robert Alderson. She begins the 2012-2013 season with a number of concert performances and, on the operatic stage, in the title role of Bizet's Carmen at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. She is a regular performer at the major European opera houses, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Bavarian State Opera in Munich; Oper Frankfurt; Teatro Real in Madrid; and English National Opera. Concert appearances this fall include Handel's Messiah, Bach's Mass in B Minor, Dvořák's Stabat Mater, and a live BBC Radio broadcast of works by Britten.

    For the Royal Opera, Ms. Rice has sung Judith in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, Concepcion in Ravel's L'heure espagnol, Miranda in Adès's The Tempest, the title role in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, Sonetka in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Ariadne in the world premiere of Birtwistle's The Minotaur, and Nicklausse in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, among others. For English National Opera, her roles have included Marguerite in Berlioz's La damnation de Faust and Arsace in Handel's Partenope. Other notable roles include Penelope in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria for Oper Frankfurt, Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte for Seattle Opera and the Bavarian State Opera, Diana in Cavalli's La Calisto for the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Beatrice in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict for the Opéra Comique in Paris, and the title roles in Handel's Ariodante and Rinaldo for the Bavarian State Opera.

    Ms. Rice also has a very busy concert career, appearing throughout the UK, Europe, and North America. She performs at the BBC Proms and at the Edinburgh International Festival, working with such conductors as Antonio Pappano and Charles Mackerras. She made her Carnegie Hall debut last October with the MET Orchestra and Fabio Luisi in the world premiere of Closer to My Own Life by John Harbison with text by Alice Munro.

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    Rolando Villazón

    Tenor Rolando Villazón began the 2012-2013 season with concerts at the Musikfest Bremen and the KlaraFestival in Brussels. This season he also performs with the Staatskapelle Berlin under the baton of Daniel Barenboim in concerts that feature songs by Verdi, Mozart's Requiem, and a world premiere of songs by Elliott Carter. He also embarks on a multi-city European tour with a program of songs and arias by Verdi to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth. On the operatic stage, Mr. Villazón performs the roles of Rodolfo in Puccini's La bohème with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Nemorino in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; and Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata with the Vienna State Opera.

    Born in Mexico City, Mr. Villazón began his musical studies at the National Conservatory of Music before entering young artist programs in Pittsburgh and at San Francisco Opera. After winning several prizes at Plácido Domingo's Operalia Competition in 1999, he made his European debut as Des Grieux in Massenet's Manon in Genoa, swiftly followed by further debuts at the Opéra de Paris as Alfredo  and at the Staatsoper Berlin as Macduff in Verdi's Macbeth. A recipient of many prestigious awards, Mr. Villazón has been named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of the highest awards in the fields of arts and literature in France.

    In 2007, Mr. Villazón became an exclusive recording artist with Deutsche Grammophon. His releases on that label include a CD of operatic duets with soprano Anna Netrebko, as well as both CD and DVD recordings of La traviata, recorded live at the Salzburg Festival. Duets claimed the top spot on the Billboard classical chart shortly after its release in the US, and in Europe set a record for the best debut ever for a classical album. His recording México! was released in 2010 and features new arrangements of classical Mexican songs. Releases this year include a complete recording of Don Giovanni as the first installment of a multi-part Mozart cycle conceived by the tenor and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

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    Westminster Symphonic Choir

    Recognized as one of the world's leading choral ensembles, the Westminster Symphonic Choir has recorded and performed with major orchestras under virtually every internationally acclaimed conductor of the past 77 years. Led by conductor Joe Miller, director of choral activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, the ensemble is composed of all the juniors and seniors and half of the graduate students at the college.

    The choir has performed Verdi's Requiem  11 times, including performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy in 1964 and 1965. Two other performances of the Requiem  have been televised: A 1980 concert with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta, was the first choral performance featured on a Live From Lincoln Center broadcast; a 2002 Great Performances broadcast, featuring the choir with the New Jersey Symphony and conductor Zdeněk Mácal, was a memorial observing the first anniversary of September 11.

    The choir has sung more than 350 performances with the New York Philharmonic alone. Recent seasons have also included concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, the Dresden Staatskapelle and Daniel Harding, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and David Robertson, the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the Staatskapelle Berlin and Pierre Boulez, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons. The choir's 2012-2013 season includes Berg's Wozzeck with the London Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Villa-Lobos's Chôros No. 10 and Estévez's Cantata criolla with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, and Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Westminster Festival Orchestra conducted by Dr. Miller.

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Verdi's Requiem (Quid sum miser. Adagio)
The Philadephia Orchestra | Eugene Ormandy, Conductor | Maureen Forrester, Mezzo-Soprano | Richard Tucker, Tenor
Sony Classical

At a Glance

One need not agree with the old quip that Verdi's Requiem is his "greatest opera" to recognize that this choral masterpiece abundantly displays the insights, passion, and drama of a supreme opera composer setting an old and venerable text. Its composition came near the end of Verdi's long career, after he had written all but his final two operas. Verdi's initial plan in 1868 was to compose a composite Requiem Mass, honoring the death of Gioachino Rossini to which a dozen Italian composers would each contribute a part. Verdi composed the concluding Libera me, but in the end the joint venture was not performed. A few years later, in May 1873, the celebrated Italian writer and patriot Alessandro Manzoni died, and Verdi decided to revise the Libera me and compose the other sections of the Mass to commemorate him on the first anniversary the following year. The enormous success the work immediately won, and the revered position it came to hold in the choral repertoire, proves Verdi was wrong when he declared, "There are so many, many Requiem Masses!!! It is useless to add one more."
Program Notes



Yannick Nézet-Séguin introduces The Philadelphia Orchestra and outlines the direction in which he plans to take the 112-year-old institution.


From the Carnegie Hall Archives: A Brief History of The Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

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This performance is part of The Philadelphia Orchestra.