Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The highlight of the Verdi year: ARTE's broadcast of Verdi's Messa da Requiem from Teatro alla Scala

At least for this "reviewer" the Arte broadcast on October 20 of Verdi's Messa da Requiem, recorded last year at the Teatro alla Scala, has been the absolute highlight of the composer's 200th anniversary.
It is difficult to imagine a finer combination than La Scala, Daniel Barenboim, soprano Anja Harteros, mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, tenor Jonas Kaufmann and bass René Pape for what sometimes - slightly ironically - has been called Verdi's "finest opera".

I cannot but agree with what the critic Richard Morrison wrote in The Times:

"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 mesmerising, 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 most 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.”

I am particularly happy about what Mr Morrison said about the La Scala chorus. What a joy it was to watch and hear the power of this mighty instrument! Without a first class chorus even the best of soloists and orchestras cannot make a great performance of the Verdi requiem.

The Teatro alla Scala chorus was a revelation.

Members of the chorus.

Soloists Harteros, Garanča, Kaufmann and Pape.
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann.

Barenboim with soloists.

Harteros and Garanča.

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