WORKS: Messa di Requiem
PERFORMER: Cristina Gallardo-Domâs (soprano), Fredrika Brillembourg (mezzo-soprano), Marco Berti (tenor), Ildar Abdrazákov (bass); EuropaChorAkadamie; Youth Orchestra of the Americas/Plácido Domingo
CATALOGUE NO: GCO 8012 (NTSC system; PCM stereo; 16:9 picture format)
Conducted by a leading tenor with substantial baton experience, this performance was recorded in the Gasteig Concert Hall in Munich in 2006. The orchestra is made up of enthusiastic young performers from the Americas, North and South.
The members of the choir are also drawn widely, from all over Europe; both give good accounts of themselves. The Youth Orchestra of the Americas offers a high standard and is entirely on top of the difficulties of the score.
The EuropaChorAkademie supplies weighty tone and is focused even in the testing Sanctus. Domingo himself is sensitive to the music’s varied modes of expression, exerting a fine control that goes far beyond the merely competent.
The soloists are more problematic, partly because they do not present a well-blended quartet. The most solid of them is the Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, whose grand solemnity is ideal for both text and music. Italian tenor Marco Berti gives a bright, upfront account of the music that tends towards the stolid; he cannot offer a proper trill where Verdi requires one.
Chilean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domâs has a big voice with a hint of a wobble and some unstable moments. American mezzo Fredrika Brillembourg is not always totally secure either, and her voice, with not quite enough flesh on the tone, also lacks a full range of mezzo colours; the richer palette of Gallardo-Domâs outguns her in this respect.
Copious extra material on the choir, orchestra, rehearsals and the star conductor fill out the bonus DVD. George Hall