A Verdi Requiem with a dream line-up of soloists and the forces of La Scala, Milan, directed by one of the greatest maestros of our time.
"If you were to devise a dream casting for this most theatrical of sacred masterpieces you might well come up with Anja Harteros, Elina Garanca, Jonas Kaufmann and Rene Pape, plus the Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, under their current maestro, Daniel Barenboim... I was blown away by this Requiem... Kaufmann’s first entry was like an erupting volcano. Garanca was as mesmerizing, floating creamy legatos while mustering a thrilling chest voice that I never thought she possessed. Harteros, looking like a distressed pre-Raphaelite beauty, turned the final movement into the mostRead more sublime death scene never to appear in an opera. And that incredible chorus, with their barrel-voiced basses and wonderfully hammy rolled consonants and gasped aspirates, hurled out the apocalyptic moments as if determined to blast the roof off.” - The Times
Preceding acclaimed performances at the Lucerne and Salzburg Festivals, Barenboim and his magnificent partners recorded this masterpiece around a live performance at La Scala, Milan, in 2012. A superb quartet of soloists – Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Elina Garanca and Rene Pape – stamp their authority on this terrific performance. This marks the first audio recording by Barenboim in his role as La Scala’s Music Director.
“Even without a fully Italianate instrument, Kaufmann’s honeyed, warm tone makes him exceptional in Verdi... Kaufmann’s refined artistry shows that even without the leather-lunged Verdians of half a century ago, today’s stars can stake their claim on the composer.” - The Telegraph
Looking over the lineup for this production, you wonder, without an Italian within earshot (save for the orchestra and chorus), will the remarkable combination of echt-piety and Italian opera that inhabits Verdi’s Requiem be well served? Indeed it is—and it may just be a matter of how superbly the notes are played and sung, with all of Verdi’s very challenging dynamic markings observed (from ppppp to fffff) and every participant on top form. If there is a criticism, it’s that the recording, made during a couple of performances in August, 2012, has been so fiercely digitized that the whole event occasionally sounds like a hi-def football game looks—i.e: slightly artificial. You get over it, even as you wonder how the solo voices and players manage to pop out of the dense fabric.
Anja Harteros is a lovely soprano soloist, singing with authority and fine, spinto tone; Elina Garanca, freed from having to create a character on stage, uses her warm, beautiful tone (the lower octave sounding particularly ripe) with ease and a wise ability to blend with the others; Jonas Kaufmann sings with long breath and a tensile strength alternating with tenderness (his “Hostias” is particularly glorious); and Rene Pape, save for a few grainy spots, uses his bass voice handsomely and dramatically. Daniel Barenboim goes for extremes of mood and volume and makes them all effective, although I bet that due to the recording you won’t be able to hear the first few bars of the work. The huge moments—the Dies Irae and climax to the Libera me—are spectacular. This is a Verdi Requiem to give great pleasure, but you first should own either the recent Pappano-led performance (also with Harteros and Pape, plus the fantastic Rolando Villazon) on EMI, or the staggering, big, supra-operatic Solti (yes—Sutherland, Horne, Pavarotti, and Talvela) also on Decca.
Requiem Massby Giuseppe Verdi Performer:
René Pape (Bass),
Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano),
Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor),
Anja Harteros (Soprano)
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,
Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1874; Italy
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Electrifying November 30, 2013By M. Formosa (Victoria, BC)See All My Reviews"I used to own a poor cd of this requiem .I spent half my life ,thinking it was a boring piece of music..IIt was not until I I came upon Barenboims version ,did I really love this great composition.The choir is electrifying ,the soloist sing with pure passion for this Requiem.But whoever invented plastic CD cases should be horse whipped,(kidding).I have broken enough cases,masterpieces like this should be in quality paper cases.Why don't the majority of these recording companies care?Go a head and charge a little more for paper sleeves.Everyone I talk to hate the the plastic.Seriously buy this exciting version of Verdi's Requiem the sound quality is top notch, ooh that silky sounding soprano."Report Abuse
Terrifying Requiem MassOctober 12, 2013By Joseph Lieber, MD (Great Neck, NY)See All My Reviews"Do we need another Verdi requiem? There are so many top notch performances out there! The Barenboim/La Scala with star soloists is breathtaking. The terror and tension of this reqiuem are thrown right at you. The chorus demonstrates their full vocal range with clear articulation. The brass and percussion never fail to impress. The vocal quartet are well balanced and show their mettle throughout. Yes there are so many fantastic recordings of this great piece, many coming out in great sonics over the past few years. This one clearly takes it's place amongst the best. A must buy."Report Abuse