Reviews, News and Commentary

Verdi’s Requiem filled with turbulent emotions and grand gestures

Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples

APO< Verdi Requiem. Photo Adrian Malloch

Giuseppe Verdi. Requiem

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Conductor Giordano Bellincampi
Soprano Erika Grimaldi
Mezzo-soprano Olesya Petrova
Tenor Gustavo Porta
Bass Petri Lindroos

New Zealand Opera Chorus
Members of Voices New Zealand
The Graduate Choir NZ
Chorus Director Karen Grylls

Auckland Town Hall

July 7

Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples

Verdi’s Requiem was initially composed in memory of  Rossini but not performed until some time later when it was dedicated to Alessandro Manzoni the Italian poet, novelist and philosopher whose  novel The Betrothal was a symbol of the Italian Risorgimento.

The work is a Celebration Mass for the dead and is filled with themes of the wrath of God as well as words of mercy and forgiveness. It is the contrast between these two aspects of sustained drama and calmer moments which helps give the work its  power conveying turbulent emotions and  grand gestures.

Conductor Giovanni Bellincampi made sure the full range of emotions and tones were explored while maintaining a bracing tempo throughout.

He ensured that both the intimate moments as well as the grand panoramas and  explosions of sound were captured.

With the opening bars of the “Introit” he kept the strings to just a whisper, barely audible, adding warmth through the soft sighs of the chorus.

This opening was followed by the dramatic and terrifying  “Dies Irae” where the massed power of orchestra and chorus gave the work a sense of both the resurrection and the apocalypse.

The remarkable choral and orchestral forces were complemented by four soloists.

The Italian soprano Erika Grimaldi showed off a colourful voice with a luscious tone and her often piercing voice provided some moments of drama. Her rendition of the “Libera me” was flecked through with urgency, describing her terror in broken phrases.

Mezzo Soprano Olesya Petrova’s voluptuous voice expressed a sensitivity and intensity of emotion and when the two female voices combined they produced some splendid souring moments.

Bass Petri Lindroos intoned with a majestic sound, often touched with a sense of mystery while tenor Gustavo Porta who gave a fine rendering of ‘Ingemisco’ often seemed to struggle.

Next week the APO will be presenting Verdi’s Il Trovatore featuring many of the soloists form the Verdi performance including Erika Grimaldi as Leonora, Olesya Petrova as Azucena, Gustavo Porta as Manrico  and Petri Lindroos as Ferrando.

By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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