Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Fri 29 May 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Verdi Requiem

Thomas Søndergård Conductor
Emily Magee Soprano
Zanda Švede Mezzo-Soprano
David Junghoon Kim Tenor
George Andguladze Bass
RSNO Chorus  

Judgement Day: drums thunder, trumpets blast, and a massed chorus cries out in terror. Verdi’s Requiem might not be what you expect from religious music, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from the supreme master of Italian opera. With the full RSNO Chorus joined by four world-class operatic soloists, hold on to your seats and prepare to be overwhelmed as Thomas Søndergård ends the Season by taking you from heaven to hell – and back again.

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6.45PM: RSNO Music Director Thomas Søndergård in conversation with RSNO Chorus Director Gregory Batsleer in the Upper Circle Bar.


£42, £32.50, £24.50, £19, £13


Under 16s free (max 2 per paying adult); Under 26s / Mature Students £6 in advance, £8 after 5pm on the day; Unemployed £6; Disabled patrons and their carers 50% off; Group discounts available

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Featured Artists

Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård Conductor

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, after six seasons as Principal Guest Conductor. He served as Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBCNOW) from September 2012 – August 2018, and prior to this, as Principal Conductor and Musical Advisor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for three seasons.

Thomas has conducted many leading orchestras, including London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker; leading tours with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and European Union Youth Orchestra; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Brussels Philharmonic; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

The 2018/19 season includes his debuts with Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined by Alexander Gavrylyuk, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Tapiola Sinfonietta. He makes return visits to Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the Royal Danish Academy Copenhagen, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot) and Deutsche Oper Berlin (Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet). Plans with RSNO include tours to China and the United States, premieres of new commissions and Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti.

Recent highlights include debuts with Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Gurzenich-Orchester Köln, SWR Baden-Baden, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and return visits to Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and the revival of The Magic Flute with Norwegian Opera.

A passionate supporter of the music of Carl Nielsen, his most recent programme with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphony No. 5) received wide praise as “equal of the great pioneers of Nielsen interpretation… It’s harder to imagine a finer performance of this remarkable symphony” (Dagens Nyheter). As part of the 2015 anniversary celebrations of both Sibelius and Nielsen he conducted a wide variety of works by these two composers with many leading orchestras. In 2019 he will participate in a special concert to celebrate Nielsen’s work with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen.

Thomas is also an experienced opera conductor at home in mainstream and contemporary repertoire. Previous opera includes Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot), Norwegian Opera (Die Zauberflöte), Deutsche Oper Berlin (world premiere of Scartazzini’s Edward II) and Tosca, Turandot (Nina Stemme) and Les dialogues des Carmelites for Kungliga Operan (Royal Swedish Opera). He was described as “a sensation” at his debut with the Royal Danish Opera conducting Ruders' opera Kafka's Trial: "He is one of the best things that has happened to the art of opera for many years" and subsequent productions there have included Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le Nozze di Figaro, La bohème, Cunning Little Vixen and Il viaggio a Reims.

Releases with BBCNOW include Sibelius Symphonies 1, 2, 6 & 7 and most recently a disc which shines light on Sibelius’ tone poems and theatre music, featuring Finlandia and Valse Triste (Linn Records). Other noteworthy recordings include Vilde Frang's celebrated first recording for EMI, and Ruders’ Piano Concerto No. 2 on Bridge Records which was nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2011. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Queen Ingrid Foundation Prize for services to Music in Denmark. Due for release shortly are the Lutoslawski and Dutilleux cello concertos with Johannes Moser and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin for Pentatone.

Emily  Magee

Emily Magee Soprano

American soprano Emily Magee studied at Westminster Choir College, Indiana University, and Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Centre for American Artists. She has appeared at leading opera houses worldwide and at the Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals, working with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Muti and Antonio Pappano. She is a renowned interpreter of Strauss roles, including the Empress, the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier), Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos), Chrysothemis (Elektra), Countess Madeleine (Capriccio) and the title roles in Arabella and Salome. Engagements include Arabella and Tosca for Vienna State Opera, Minnie (La fanciulla del West) in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg and Naples, Empress for Hamburg State Opera, Leonora (La forza del destino) for Semperoper Dresden, Ariadne for Salzburg Festival, Arabella in Frankfurt, Liza (The Queen of Spades) in Barcelona, Chrysothemis for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Countess Madeleine for Paris Opéra and Salome with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Magee’s discography includes, on DVD, Tosca, Ariadne and Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes) for Zürich Opera and Elsa (Lohengrin)) and Liza in Barcelona, and, on CD, Elsa and Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) for Berlin State Opera.

Zanda  Švede

Zanda Švede Mezzo-Soprano

Latvian mezzo, Zanda Švede joins the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt this season and makes her house debut as Dryade Ariadne auf Naxos; later in the season she sings the title roles of Xerxes and Barrie Kosky’s Carmen. She travels to Seattle Opera to sing further performances of Carmen in Paul Curran’s production before the end of the 2018-19 season.

Celebrating a long and fruitful relationship with San Francisco Opera since joining its sumer Merola Opera Programme in 2013, Zanda became an Adler Fellow in Season 2014-15 and remained for three seasons, appearing on the main stage as Flora La Traviata, Tisbe La Cenerentola, Lena in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women, Alisa Lucia di Lammermoor, Rychtarka Jenufa, Third Lady Die Zauberflöte, Suzuki Madama Butterfly, Maddalena Rigoletto, Maid The Makropulos Case, and Handmaiden/The Flower in the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber.

Other principal guest highlights in the US include Zanda’s debut at Palm Beach Opera as Suzuki, and Olga Eugene Onegin at Opera Idaho. She went on to cover Olga at Lyric Opera of Chicago and sang it in concert at North Carolina Opera. Other roles in Chicago at Lyric Opera include Grimgerde Die Walkure and Maddalena Rigoletto. She made her role and house debut in the title role of Carmen at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, winning exceptional reviews.

Concert appearances include Zanda’s debut with San Francisco Symphony in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and at Los Angeles Philharmonic Bernstein’s Mass conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. She includes Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Liszt’s Missa Coronationalis, Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium, Haydn’s Mass in the time of War, and Mozart’s Missa de Requiem in her concert repertoire.

The artist sings with the leading conductors of our time, including Sir Andrew Davis, Nicola Luisotti, Marco Armillato, Lawrence Foster, David Charles Abell and Leo Hussein. She also recently worked with Jirí Belohlávek.

Miss Švede studied at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga where she sang excerpts from the title roles of Maria de Buenos Aires and Massenet’s Cléopâtre, joined the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival in New York where she appeared as Endimione La Calisto, attended the Sculoa Italia in Italy, and participated in the Tyrolean Opera Programme in Austria.

David  Junghoon Kim

David Junghoon Kim Tenor

An alumnus of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim is the winner of the much-coveted Francisco Viñas, Voci Verdiane and Toulouse singing competitions. Since his graduation from the programme in 2017, Kim has made a series of notable debuts and appearances: Alfredo in a new production of La traviata in Cologne, Macduff Macbeth at the Royal Opera House, Roméo Roméo et Juliette at Grange Park Opera and Leone de Casaldi in concert performances of the world premiere of Donizetti’s L’ange de Nisida with Sir Mark Elder at the Royal Opera House, recorded and later released by Opera Rara.

This upcoming season sees Kim make further house debuts as Macduff Macbeth at Opernhaus Zürich, Rodolfo La bohème at Oper Stuttgart and Italian Singer Der Rosenkavalier at Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile. He also sings his first Verdi Requiem with the Oslo Philharmonic and Jun Märkl.

Over the two years at the programme he was heard as the Italian singer Der Rosenkavalier, Venditore Il tabarro, Arturo Lucia di Lammermoor (also covering Edgardo), Ruiz Il trovatore, Flavio Norma, Nathanael Les contes d’Hoffmann, Lamplighter Manon Lescaut, Gastone La traviata Augustin Moser Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Count Lerma and Herald Don Carlo and Pong Turandot.

A graduate of the Seoul National University, he made his professional debut as Rodolfo La bohème and subsequently joined the Royal Opera House in September 2015.

George  Andguladze

George Andguladze Bass

George Andguladze was born in Tbilisi Georgia and began his singing career at a young age. At ten years old, he became the youngest soloist to date for the Tbilisi Philharmonic and received a scholarship for his studies by the President of the State of Georgia. He graduated with a degree in piano and a master’s degree in choral conducting which prompted him to travel to Italy to study singing at the Accademia delle Voci Verdiane di Busseto. He completed his education attending masterclasses with Renato Bruson, Lella Cuberli, Bonaldo Giaiotti and Badri Maisuradze.

Since his operatic debut in 2009, George has worked with some of the leading conductors around the world including Daniel Oren, Giampaolo Bisanti, Henrik Nánási, Stefano Ranzani, Antonello Allemandi, and Marco Boemi, performed across the world at Teatro di San Carlo Naples, Opera de Lausanne, Teatro Filarmonico di Verona, Teatro Verdi di Firenze, Tbilisi Opera, Korean National Opera, Teatro Regio Parma, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Teatro Verdi Salerno, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Israeli Opera and with the Rostropovich Foundation in Moscow.

George features on the recordings of Verdi’s Aida under Andtonio Fogliani and Verdi’s Stiffelio under Andrea Battistoni for Naxos recorded at the Teatro Regio di Parma, and Massanet’s La Navarraise for Warner classics under Alberto Veronesi. His operatic roles include Ferrando Il Trovatore. Sparafucile Rigoletto, Escamillo Carmen, Ramfis Aida, Filippo II Don Carlo, Fiesco Simon Boccanegra, Oroveso Norma, Massimiliano I Masnadieri, Timur Turandot, Colline La bohème, Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor and Commendatore Don Giovanni.

Engagements this season and beyond see George performing as Filippo II Don Carlo at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theatre, Sparafucile Rigoletto at Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, and the Grand Inquisitor Don Carlo at the Grange Park Opera.

 RSNO Chorus

RSNO Chorus  

The RSNO Chorus performs in around six different programmes in up to twenty concerts across Scotland with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra each year. The RSNO Chorus has also had great success in recording with the Orchestra. Its recordings, amongst others, of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, conducted by Neeme J?rvi, and Holst’s The Planets, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, have both been subject to high critical acclaim. In addition to its commitment to the Orchestra, the RSNO Chorus performs independently and has been invited to perform with orchestras in many different parts of the world, establishing an international status for the choir. The RSNO Chorus has toured in Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Belfast, Australia, Trondheim and most recently, Amsterdam. The RSNO Chorus evolved from a choir formed in 1843 to sing the first full performance of Handel’s Messiah in Scotland. Today, the RSNO Chorus is one of the most successful choruses in the UK. In recent years, the Chorus has performed practically every work in the standard choral repertoire along with contemporary works by renowned composers, including John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, Howard Shore and James MacMillan. The RSNO Chorus is directed by Gregory Batsleer, one of the UK’s most dynamic and in demand choral conductors and chorus masters. Gregory recently received The Arts Foundation Award 2015 for Choral Conducting.

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