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Parroquia To Host Mozart’s Requiem for Day of the Dead

By Michelle Aguilar

The history of Mozart’s Requiem is steeped in death and remembrance of the dead: the man who commissioned it used it in a memorial mass for his late wife. Requiem was also Mozart’s last work, which he was still finishing when he died.

So it is perhaps appropriate that the Requiem will be performed in San Miguel de Allende for the first time in living memory on November 2, during Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Even more fitting, it will be performed inside the Parroquia, in the Jardín, a central location for Day of the Dead celebrations.

The concert will bring together Mexican performers who perform regularly in venues throughout Europe and Mexico. Admission is free to attract audiences from all walks of life.

“We are fortunate to have soloists whose international trajectory has positioned them among the best opera singers of Mexico,” said Mauro Ledesma, director of the Opera San Miguel Choir, which has invited soloists and other choral singers from opera houses and music conservatories to participate. “There will be more than sixty musicians from diverse institutions of top quality musical background,” he said.

A classical music concert like this has never before been performed in the Parroquia, said Father José Manuel Briones the Parroquia’s priest. “We officiate weddings primarily,” he said. “But this is an event without precedent.” But Briones immediately loved the idea. “It’s the proper kind of place for this work to be performed, since it was composed as a celebration of the Eucharist, not to be performed in a theater but in a church.”

The event is a two-year dream for Ledesma and his choir, which was conceived a few years ago with Pro Musica, believing that enthusiastic amateurs in San Miguel could learn to work with some of Mexico’s best and brightest. “We have learned music history, worked on hearing different scales, on proper breathing and rhythms, along with learning the music we are performing,” said choir member Susan Williams, who has sung in past performances of La Traviata and Don Giovanni.

This time, however, the choir is organizing a concert itself, not singing in someone else’s. So members must find a way to fund the overhead of putting on a concert without income from ticket sales. While Ledesma is seeking grant monies from foundations and from the town, members have been stepping up and have made a fundraising campaign and approaching businesses about contributing sponsorships. Member Mary Quagliata, for example, has started a Facebook fundraising page to do her part because she believes in the choir’s raison d’etre.

“I like it that we all love to sing, and that we think Mauro is great,” she said. “It’s a very good feeling.”

Businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring this event, or community members who have sung the Requiem before and would like to participate in this concert write:



Opera Chorus of San Miguel presents:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem

Fri, Nov 2, 6pm

Inside La Parroquia



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