Verdi lovers are still talking about the magnificent “Falstaff” that James Conlon led at Lyric Opera some twenty years ago, and the concert “Otello” that he led at Ravinia last summer. Conlon leads the equally operatic Verdi “Requiem” this season with soprano Christine Brewer, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Frank Lopardo and bass Vitaliv Kowalijow, and even got Ravinia to uncharacteristically foot the bill to include the magnificent Chicago Symphony Chorus rather than a cheap non-equity summer substitute like was used in last week’s Mahler Third Symphony. The opening, hushed chorus is one of the most tranquil and sublime settings of the famous opening lines of the Catholic funeral Mass, but it is in the “Dies Irae,” with its terrifying musical portrayal of the Day of Judgment complete with a fiery last trumpet and the thunder of the apocalypse, that Verdi the unparalleled musical dramatist shows himself.
July 8 at Ravinia Festival, Lake-Cook and Green Bay Rds., Highland Park, (847)266-5100. 7:30pm. $10-$50.