In April, Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted two performances of Verdi’s Requiem with his orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini; the chorus and orchestra of Madrid’s Teatro Real; the chorus of La Comunidad de Madrid, and soloists Tatiana Serjan, Ekaterina Gubanova, Francesco Meli and Ildar Abdrazakov.

The first performance, on April 12, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco, occurred in the Toledo Cathedral. Attending were many Spanish luminaries, including Queen Sofía; Mariano Rajoy, prime minister of Spain; José Ignacio Wert, minister of Education, Culture and Sports; María Dolores de Cospedal, president of Castille-La Mancha; Princess Irene of Greece, and Braulio Rodríguez, archbishop of Toledo.

Although tickets for this concert sold out in days, several thousand residents and tourists were able to watch the concert outside the cathedral on a giant screen installed in the Zocodover, the main square in Toledo.

Two days later, the performance was repeated in the Teatro Real in Madrid in memory of Gerard Mortier, the influential Belgian opera impresario, who died at age 70 in March.

PHOTO: Queen Sofia of Spain and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy enter Toledo Cathedral for a performance of Verdi’s Requiem, conducted by Riccardo Muti.