ITALY’S greatest composer of opera is celebrated next month with a festival of concerts and workshops.

The three-day FUSED festival celebrates the work of Giuseppe Verdi at the High House Production Park, Purfleet, from July 3 with a specific focus on his stirring Requiem, exploring the themes of remembrance, conflict and loss.

Opening the festival, the Requiem will be sun by the Royal Opera House (ROH) Thurrock Community Chorus, backed by international soloists from the company’s Jette Parker Young Artists programme, the Brighton Festival Chorus, as well as French orchestras L’Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne and Orchestre de Picardie, conducted by Hollander Arie van Beek.

The community chorus was formed to sing Ludd and Isis: The Purfleet Opera at the opening of the ROH production workshop in 2010 but, such was the strength of feeling that it should continue, professional chorus master Jeremy Haneman was appointed to head it.

It has now grown into a vibrant and diverse group of 140 singers, with a waiting list of others keen to join, and has joined the Chorus of the Royal Opera House in performances at the opera house itself in Covent Garden and the Brandenburg Choral Festival in London, as well as sell-out events such as Ebb and Flow in Grays Civic Hall.

Thurrock’s youth vocal group RM19 will also perform at the festival, premiering A Little Thing Called Life on Saturday, which fuses original music, drama and design, preceded by Mr Haneman and Elastic Theatre artistic director Jacek Ludwig Scarso leading a workshop - Songs of Life and Death - between 2.30pm and 5pm.

Mr Haneman said: “We are so excited about our performance in July when we get to collaborate with our colleagues from France and Brighton. The sound from 300 singers, two orchestras and four amazing soloists will make for an unmissable and extraordinary event.”