We said farewell to Paavo Jarvi and now venerable maestro James Conlon takes the helm for 2011's May Festival, the annual choral extravaganza featuring the CSO, the May Festival Chorus and a host of world-class soloists. The festival opens with Verdi's Requiem, a classic work as dramatic as any of Verdi's operas. Conlon has assembled an outstanding array of singers, including mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (fresh from her acclaimed performances in the Metropolitan Opera's Die Walk�re), soprano Christine Brewer and bass Morris Robinson, who nearly stole the show in Cincinnati Opera's Die Meistersinger last season.
Saturday is Slavic immersion, with Janácek's Glagolitic Mass, Dvorák's Te Deum and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. In addition to many of Friday's performers, soloists include tenor Roderick Dixon, soprano Kara Shay Thompson and mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk. But the essential reason for the May Festival is the glorious May Festival Chorus. You'll never hear a more spectacular wall of sound. Cincinnati May Festival is at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Music Hall (1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine). Go here for ticket information and more.