The raging descent of the Dies iraein Verdi’s monumental Requiemis some of the opera composer’s most dramatic music, and it was attacked with thunder and fury by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs under the baton of Italian maestro Oleg Caetani on Thursday evening, in a concert streamed live across the globe as the SSO’s first foray into international Make Music Day celebrations.

Verdi wrote his setting of the Latin Requiem Mass – composed for the concert hall – in 1874, his fame already well established by the likes of Rigoletto, Aidaand Il Trovatore. The pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow, after a glimpse of the score, snipingly described it as an “opera in ecclesiastical vestments” (he later apologised) but it was the theatre of the work that Caetani embraced in this performance, which spanned whispered prayers to apocalyptic roars.

Verdi, Requiem, SSO, Sydney Symphony Orchestra From the Sydney Symphony Orchesta’s live stream: Catherine Carby, Angel Blue, Oleg Caetani, Diego Torre and Jérôme Varnier with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Photo © Sydney Symphony Orchestra

The cellos opened the work with a hushed, transparent sound, Caetani employing the lightest...