Verdi's Requiem

Verdi Requiem Postcard

CityMusic will be performing Verdi's Requiem on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 at 8:00 P.M.

About the Show

James Gaffigan, CityMusic Cleveland Music Director from 2005 to 2010, returns to the podium to lead Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, a masterwork infused with the same drama and passion that mark his greatest operas. This special concert, on the Jewish “Day of Remembrance” (Yom Hashoah), commemorates the victims of the Holocaust.

It recalls the sixteen performances of the Requiem in the Nazi concentration camp at Terezín (Theresienstadt), Czechoslovakia by Jewish prisoners who were allowed to carry on musical activities within the walls and barbed wire. The most extraordinary performance took place on June 23, 1944, when the Germans, trying to propagandize against the ominous reports about the camps circulating around the world, hosted a delegation of Swiss and Danish representatives from the International Red Cross.


In preparation for the visit, the Nazis “beautified” the camp, stopped the transports to Auschwitz, found appropriate clothes (though no shoes) for the musicians, gave them a few extra rations, and ordered a performance of the Verdi Requiem, which the German officers would attend with their guests. Conductor Rafael Schäcter told his musicians, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”

James Gaffigan, Conductor

Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, James Gaffigan continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding American conductors working today. James Gaffigan is currently the Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, a position which was recently extended through 2023. Since becoming Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra James has made a very significant impact on the orchestra's profile, both nationally and internationally, with a number of highly successful tours and recordings. In recognition of this success his contract has been further extended until 2022.


James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. The 2018/19 season includes his debut with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He will also debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York for La Boheme and Dutch National Opera for Porgy and Bess and returns to Bayerische Staatsoper for productions of Fanciulla and Don Giovanni and to San Francisco Opera for Carmen.