The Boston University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus performed at Symphony Hall on Monday, November 21. Prior to the concert, Professor Andrew Shenton of the BU School of Music and School of Theology gave a pre-concert talk entitled
"Countering Violence: Singing What We Cannot Say", which describes the common thematic elements of the two works being performed, Arnold Schoenberg's "A Survivor from Warsaw", and Giuseppe Verdi's "Messa da Requiem." The concert opens with Schoenberg’s "A Survivor from Warsaw," The twelve-tone work tells the story of a Holocaust survivor who is struggling to recall a traumatic experience from the Warsaw Ghetto. "A Survivor in Warsaw" ends with a small male chorus singing the Jewish prayer Shema Yisroel. The BU Symphony Orchestra is joined by narrator Frank Kelley, and led by conductor and BU professor David Hoose. The major work of the concert is Giuseppe Verdi's "Messa da Requiem," often considered to be one of the greatest requiems ever written. Ironically, this Catholic Mass was performed by prisoners at the Terezin concentration camp during World War II in defiance of the Nazis. BU professor Ann Howard Jones conducts the BU Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus, joined by four prominent alumni of the BU School of Music Opera Institute: Michelle Johnson, soprano; Daveda Karanas, mezzo-soprano; Clay Hilley, tenor; and Morris Robinson, bass.