An adaptation of Abbe Prevost's classic French novel 'Manon Lescaut', updated to post-World War II France, in which a former French Resistance activist rescues Manon from villagers who want... See full summary »
As a huge fan of Verdi's music, I was recommended this performance of Messa Da Requiem, which until two years ago I knew little but highlights. And what a magnificent performance of this great piece. It had all the ingredients to be a success, a great conductor and four fantastic singers. It absolutely lived up to expectations.
I don't really need to comment on Verdi's music, it is amazing and gives a real emotional impact. Although I am aware there are those who don't like Karajan I have always admired him. Here he brings everything that makes me feel that way about him; musicality, depth, refinement, dramatic intensity and a strong romantic approach, all in all, a superior and very exciting reading.
The orchestra play with true passion, and the chorus with beauty. The sound while occasionally a little muffled is overall clear, and this Messa Da Requiem is beautifully shot, it has a cinematic feel rather than the too-many-close-ups-side-shots-and-back-shots that can elude some performances.
The soloists are perfection. Leontyne Price shows off her creamy, sincere soprano perfectly and shapes her music with intelligence. Fiorenza Cossotto is well and truly in her element as well, it is a huge voice which she uses with great intensity and ferocity and this performance shows it beautifully produced. Both ladies sing without music and really relate to the text as you can tell by their faces and communication, and their duet is just exquisite. It just goes to show the best of music is done without sheets of music in front of you.
And what a surprise to see a young Luciano Pavarotti. His unique voice is as effortless as it ever was, and is at its most sensitive. The star of the four in my opinion is Nicolai Ghiaurov, then again I may be biased as in general of these four he's my personal favourite. Not only is he on thunderous form vocally, but he acts and really connects to the music.
Overall, just magnificent. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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