The mighty Verdi Requiem has long been a staple of both the huge orchestra and huge opera singer. Produced from a series of live concerts in Rome, recorded in January 2009, Antonio Pappano conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, with soloists whose credentials are impressive; Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazón and René Pape.
It is the band and especially the chorus that often take this recording beyond simply good. The fugal sections of the "Libera me, Domine" are first rate. Tons of full blooded, mature voices,with beautifully turned-out diction and articulation, demonstrate a heart-felt response to the dynamics of conductor and score. Verdi used a very different brush for the Requiem. In this performance, there is no hint of the La Traviata "um-cha-cha", this is very catholic, Italianate, repent or die stuff.
The performance of Pappano's soloists are marked by truly impressive legato singing, without exception. All of them have the courage to throttle back and exhibit pure sotto voce, especially Villazón, but Anja Hartenros leaves the most indelible mark. -- Hugo Munday