By Kathy Chouteau
Contra Costa Chorale, which began nearly 60 years ago as the Richmond Symphony Chorus, will present Mozart’s Requiem in the East Bay this December, dedicating the performance to the approximately 7 million people who have passed away due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chorale’s performances will occur Sat., Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, and Sun., Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. General admission tickets are $20, students are $15 and children under age 11 are free.
Making up today’s Chorale are 80 singers hailing from Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Hercules and elsewhere.
Chorale Director Cindy Beitmen said that she knew that when the Chorale could safely sing without masks, they would present Mozart’s Requiem “as a tribute to those who died from Covid-19, as well as to those who worked so courageously to keep so many alive.”
The Chorale is planning to perform the newly published 2022 Bärenreiter edition of Mozart’s Requiem, which was completed and edited by Michael Ostrzyga. Mozart wrote approximately two thirds of his Requiem before he died, with the last three movements being completed by his student, Franz Süssmayr, according to the Chorale.
The end result will be a performance of Mozart’s Requiem from a fresh perspective, per the Chorale, that is still closely tied to the well-known masterpiece.
Two pianists—Martin Morley, the Chorale’s regular accompanist, and Chun Mei Wilson—will accompany the singers, along with a string chamber orchestra. Soloists Rita Lilly, soprano; Gabriela Estephanie Solis, alto; Mitch Ashley, tenor; and Liam Daley, bass, will also join the performance.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley is located at 1 Lawson Road in Kensington (Sat. Dec. 2) and the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church is located 1801 Lacassie Ave. in Walnut Creek (Sun., Dec. 3).