In celebration of composer Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra is presenting two special performances of the Messa da Requiem on April 12 and 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Sottile Theatre. The concerts will feature the orchestra, a double choir, four guest soloists, and world-renowned guest conductor Maximiano Valdés.

Valdés, a native of Santiago, studied music in Chile and Italy and began his career working with orchestras in Germany and France. He has led productions in many of Europe’s leading opera houses in Paris, Lausanne, Rome, Berlin, London, Barcelona, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Bonn. He made his American symphonic debut in October 1987 with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and has since conducted for more than 15 orchestras in North America including Dallas, Seattle, and Vancouver.

In February 2008, Valdés was named Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony, and also accepted the position of Artistic Director of the famed Festival Casals in San Juan in 2010.

Mezzo-soprano Cynthia Hanna will sing her first performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the Charleston Symphony. Hanna recently made her international operatic debut as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at the Savonlinna Festival.

Soprano Jasmina Halimic, who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be making her debut with the CSO as a soloist.

Other singers include tenor Harold Meers and bass-baritone Adam Cioffari. Meers made his professional debut with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and has performed in operas in Baltimore, Cleveland, and New Orleans. Bass-baritone Cioffari recently performed in Billy Budd with the Teatro Municipal de Santiago and in Don Carlo at the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse.

Choral Director Dr. Robert Taylor will lead the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and College of Charleston Concert Choir in both performances.

There will be no intermission during these performances. Tickets prices are $25-$69 and may be purchased through the CSO website at, in person at CSO office at 572 Savannah Hwy., or by calling (843) 723-7528, ext. 110. For more information visit