Pappano Conducts the Verdi Requiem

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14 Concert Package, SoundBite and Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Friday 16th May

Symphony Hall

Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Hibla Gerzmaya soprano
Sylvie Brunet Grupposo mezzo soprano
Joseph Calleja tenor
Carlo Colombara bass

Verdi Requiem 90’

Verdi’s Requiem has been described as an opera in all but name, and tonight Sir Antonio Pappano has assembled a cast worthy of one of the world’s great opera houses, including Joseph Calleja: the astonishing Maltese tenor who’s been attracting comparisons with the young Pavarotti. Pappano’s magnificent Italian orchestra and chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia complete an unmissable line-up: expect Italian passions to run high.

Classic FM’s John Suchet says:

A blockbuster of a work, Verdi’s Requiem is often described as the best opera he never wrote. Lavish, dramatic and downright scary, this piece will pin you back in your seat. Prepare for a whirlwind of a performance from Antonio Pappano, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and a stellar line-up of soloists.

Wednesday 14 May: Unfortunately mezzo soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk is unable to perform due to illness, however, we are pleased to announce that Sylvie Brunet Grupposo will replace her.

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Review by TPR Central, PublicReviews:

Click here for full review

…     “This some hundred strong orchestra with almost as many choral voices begin the requiem with a sublime sotto sequence which in a lesser space than the Birmingham Symphony hall might be lost. One of the wonders of this work is the tremendous dynamic range of energies and volume. From this oh so delicate opening to the apocalyptic, destructive roar of the ‘Dies irae’ this work is a roller coaster ride of sound and emotion and we can see every molecule of this passion and emotion in Sir Anthony’s being as he conducts. To say he conducts is to understate. Rather he coaxes and wills the performance from his ensemble with multiple hand gestures right down to subtle butterfly movements of his fingertips. His facial expressions must be something to behold judging by the movement in the muscles of his jaw and neck. He seems particularly focused on the body of the magnificent Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Sant Cecilia, whose voices are so crystal clear in this wonderful venue. Such beautiful diction and accuracy.

Of the soloists, bass singer Carlo Colombra has one of the clearest and best enunciated voices I’ve heard in a bass. Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo stands in for the programmed mezzo soprano who has been taken ill. Grupposo perhaps appears a little anxious but gives the great performance you would expect from one of her calibre and is visibly happy at the completion of the task. Soprano Hibla Gerzmava’s clear voice soars and blends beautifully with the chorus. The three of them along with tenor Joseph Calleja do Verdi’s work absolute justice.

The other star of this show worth mentioning is the Birmingham Symphony Hall itself.”     …

*****

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “The Dies Irae thundered out aided by a wonderfully vehement timpanist, obviously moonlighting from his day job beating time for the galley slaves in Ben Hur. There was terror and magnificence but consolation too, as in the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia’s warm and burnished string playing (violins properly divided left and right) for the hushed opening bars. The Academy’s chorus was strong in all registers from the basses in Rex tremendae, to a soprano section replete with fresh young voices.

The vocal quartet blended well as a team and their solo contributions were outstanding. Whatever sins tenor Joseph Calleja may have committed, all he’ll have to do is sing Ingemisco and the Hostias as he did here and St Peter will fling open the pearly gates for him. Carlo Colombara was a rock-solid bass, sounding rightly awed and stunned in Mors stupebit, while soprano Hibla Gerzmaya encompassed the demanding Libera me without strain.”     …

*****

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Review by Colin Anderson, ClassicalSource (for the same programme / cast but in London)

Click here for full review

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Review by Colin Clarke, MusicWeb, SeenandHard (for the same programme / cast but in London)

Click here for full review

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