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David Royko Psy.D

Music Ramblings: Jan 17, 2009, Verdi's Requiem for the Dead -- and it almost was (literally)


From: "David Royko"

I heard last night's (Saturday) performance of the Verdi Requiem with the Chicago SO and Muti. I was expecting good things, and reading Patner's and von Rhein's reviews of Thursday's performance only reinforced that. It actually surpassed my expectations to the point that I might even get the CD set the orchestra issues, even though I don't actually need yet another Requiem recording--it was one for the ages. I like Muti's playing up of the contrasts--slow was slow--and beautiful, and profound--and fast was blazing, and the orchestra and chorus were spectacular. The soloists are up against the best recordings in history (of course, so are the orchestra and chorus and Muti), but sung well when taken on their own, and as my friend noted, especially as an ensemble.

Weird thing happened during the concert. I was in the left lower balcony. About a half-hour in, I turned to see what had caused a noise 15 or so seats toward center, and five or six rows up, and saw a guy run into the exit to the lobby, and then noticed a couple of others standing up on either side of the seat of a very old guy, whose head was back, mouth open. Just at that point, another guy started applying pressure to the chest (CPR), and another guy a couple rows away--I'm guessing a doctor--jumped up and ran over and took over. This went on for a few minutes, with the people around him looking panicked. Finally, they backed up, and the old guy's lips were moving, though his head remained tilted back. Soon after, three Chicago firefighters in their full fire-fighting apparel appeared, unfolded a stretcher, and then helped the guy onto it before carrying him off. All this as the music played from the stage, and what music? Why, a Requiem for the Dead, of course.

I was told later that ultimately it seemed to be a simple case of dehydration.

Dave Royko