Review: Berlioz's 'Requiem' at Circle Theatre 

click to enlarge Conductor Eric Stark and the combined masses that presented Berlioz's 'Requiem' at the Circle Theatre.
  • Conductor Eric Stark and the combined masses that presented Berlioz's 'Requiem' at the Circle Theatre.

Larger than life, Hector Berlioz's magnificent Requiem renders the essence of life as a musically-rendered panoramic painting. Throughout the 90-minute, ten-movement work Berlioz, bold and daring in terms of composition and technique, considers the impact of unending uprising and unrest. Ultimately his Mass leads us into hopefulness, urging us to do something of long-lasting value.

The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Butler University Chorale and Choir and solo tenor Joe Shadday beautifully grasped and delivered the genius of Berlioz's composition. Balancing clearly articulated Latin text against full orchestration, conductor Eric Stark allowed subtle vibrancy to rise out of a thickly applied palette.

Bringing the majesty of Berlioz's message into the Hilbert Circle Theatre, Stark placed the four brass quartets and quintets called for by Berlioz into separate nooks for a resounding, breath-stopping, heart-pounding effect. Shadday's lyrical tenor floated above and onto the audience from the second mezzanine.

The theatrical effect put this listener into the amazement of beholding Delacroix's massive "Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople," which resides in The Louvre, within walking distance of Saint-Louis des Invalides, where the strains of Berlioz's tensions and relief still echo. May 5 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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