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Past events

Verdi Requiem in Paris, 2015

Nicholas Francis, Equity Music Tours Sales Manager, has written a wonderful account of an Equity Music Tours Event held in Paris at La Madeleine

A concert to remember - Verdi Requiem in Paris

Saturday 23rd May 2015

Nicholas Francis, Equity Music Tours Sales Manager, has written a wonderful account of an Equity Music Tours Event held in Paris at La Madeleine. Click here to view the brochure showing details of this concert which was circulated prior to the event.

Friday 22nd May 09.00hrs

I have just arrived in Paris. I am here to fine tune the last preparations for one of our biggest and most important events in the Equity Music Tours Calendar. The Nottingham Symphony Orchestra along with 5 other adult choral societies from England are coming to Paris to perform the Verdi Requiem in the massive and awe inspiring Eglise de la Madeleine tomorrow Saturday at 8.30 PM. The Requiem will be offered in celebration of the 70 years of peace which have reigned in Europe since the devastation of World War 2. With this in mind I have asked a famous French choir and a German choir to travel to Paris to join us. – English, French and Germans singing the Requiem together in harmony and in peace.

Two hundred posters and three thousand flyers have been put up in the churches, boutiques and cafes across Paris. We have placed advertisements in the main magazines of Paris, and have asked Radio France & Radio FIP to broadcast frequent bulletins. The local Mayor of the 8th Arrondissement has also agreed to see me; my colleague and I jump in a taxi and 10 minutes later we are sitting in her Louis XV office. After protracted correspondence, she agrees to come and officially welcome our conductor and Soloists on behalf of the French State.

Friday 17.00hrs

We wait anxiously at the Dream Castle & Magic Circus Hotel for the 4 coaches from England to arrive, 170 musicians and singers from England quickly joined by their 70 French and German Counterparts – 250 performers in all. Then they are rehearsing – all singing together for the first time – trying to shake of the fatigue of a 12 hour coach journey – trying to sing in harmony…

Saturday 23rd May 19.30hrs

We are all assembled in the vast Eglise de la Madeleine, the rehearsal in the famous church is finally over. The risers are all in place in front of the great altar. The spot lights are arcing down. I make a last call to Radio France…It is time.

Derek Williams, the conductor leads a 20 strong brass ensemble onto the imposing steps of La Madeleine. They sound the trumpet voluntary high into the French night, from the steps of the church, calling out to the Parisians, summoning them to our Requiem.

The great doors are opened, a surge of people rush forward, the vast church becomes alive and organic, general hubbub, chairs scraping, people scrambling for position – and finally standing room only. Through the throng, we lead the Mayor and her party and Equity CEO John Bentley and his guests to their seats in the reserved section. The orchestra take their seats – from left and right, seven choirs from three countries file in. Tuning and anticipation and…… SILENCE. The soloists – English, French and German walk on … Derek takes his baton… and then so softly … Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine…et lux perpetua luceat eis…

… At the end – 1500 blasé Parisians are on their feet, cheering, clapping, and paying homage. I give a white rose to each of the soloists and to the conductor.

Afterwards, at the reception, kind words are said by Derek Williams, the conductor thanking Equity for our contribution, organising the concert, all the publicity for the concert, the hotels, the accommodation and the transfers. “It has been a privilege”, I reply.

For images and film of the Verdi Requiem in Paris, please head to the  Facebook of the Derby Bach Choir. The Derby Bach Choir YouTube channel also has some fantastic footage of the performance that is worth watching.

If you’re after more information about organising a Music Tour for your school or group, then request a quote today {link to quote form} and our Music Specialists will put together a bespoke package, which can include organising exquisite venues for your group to perform in.



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