Spain Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Orchestra Comunitat Valenciana, Chorus Generalitat Valenciana, Carlo Rizzi (conductor), Auditori Palau de Les Arts Valencia, 12.12.2013 (JMI)
Among the abundant programming this year of Verdi’s Requiem, the concert announced in Valencia was of special interest due to the participation of Riccardo Chailly. Expectations ran very high, especially considering the magnificent performance that Mr. Chailly and Valencia’s orchestra offered a year ago in Puccini’s La Bohème. Unfortunately, Riccardo Chailly, who was recently appointed music director of La Scala, canceled due to a severe case of bronchitis. There’s no doubt that the artistic result of this performance was affected by his cancellation.
Carlo Rizzi was the music director, and the result was good but certainly not what was expected by the audience who filled the auditorium. The difference between good and exceptional is usually based on details or nuances. Nothing basic failed in Carlo Rizzi’s reading, but memories of this Requiem will not last very long, at least as far as I am concerned. The generally excellent orchestra was satisfactory but far from the richness they offered last month in Die Walküre under Zubin Mehta. As usual, the choir was superb.
The vocal quartet lacked authentic Verdian voices in almost all cases.
Carmen Giannattasio was a good interpreter, although her voice cannot be considered as best-suited to sing Verdi. Her soprano is attractive but a little short down below.
Veronica Simeoni was possibly the best singer in the quartet, but her voice did not respond to what we consider to be Verdi’s demands. Her mezzo soprano is pleasant, not exceptional in size, and well handled.
I found Giorgio Berrugi somewhat disappointing. His tenor is not big but it is pleasant, although rather weak at the bottom of the range. The truth is that I was expecting more from him.
Liang Li was good but not too elegant in his singing.
The auditorium was almost sold out. The audience gave a warm reception at the final bows, although there were not cheers.
José Mª. Irurzun