Verdi Requiem. Berlin Philharmonie, April 9th 2009. Soloists: Anja Harteros, Luciana D´Intino, Guiseppe Filianoti, René Pape. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim with La Scala orchestra and chorus.
The short version:
A smashing performance of the Verdi Requiem in the Berlin Philharmonie.
Superb La Scala Chorus.
René Pape is back in super-shape.
The long(er) version:
Dedicated to the victims of the recent earth-quake in Italy, this Good Friday performance started with one minutes silence, as requested by Daniel Barenboim from the podium.
From then on it was full speed forward in a thrilling performance on all levels: The La Scala orchestra, obviously very familiar with the piece followed Daniel Barenboim closely, pulling out all the stops without retorting to empty bravado at any point. A balance Daniel Barenboim does not always achieve in his non-Wagnerian repertoire, but here he certainly did. The sheer power of the Dies Irae virtually knocked one back in the seat. Accompanied by the superb La Scala chorus and a quartet of soloist, not to be seen better anywhere, this could very well look like a recording project.
Most importantly, René Pape was back after illness, both looking and sounding his usual self on a very good day, easily the stand-out of the very fine quartet of soloist. Though it does become increasingly obvious that his voice continues to move upwards and parts of the score seems rather low for him (such as the Lux aeterna), you will have to go back longer in time than my (rather good and long-reaching, by the way) memory reaches to hear singing of comparable beauty and expression in this part.
Excellent singing also from the rest: Anja Harteros, seemingly ideal in the lirico-spinto soprano part, Luciana d´Intino´s firm and secure mezzo and Guiseppe Filianoti delivering a performance making one question the decision to fire him after the Don Carlo dress rehearsal earlier this year at La Scala.
Overall impression: 5