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As for the sound, I must part company with the other reviewer - for I find it to be superb in every respect - the ambience of the venue captured to wonderful effect - whether on the PCM Stereo or DTS 5.1 Surround soundtracks (believe me it is there). What is not there is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack - so if you don't have DTS you'll be limited to stereo.
That stereo soundtrack, however, is essentially identical to the Decca CD of the event - and where the TV picture may have aged somewhat, Decca's sound most certainly has not. The DTS is nice, bringing out the ambience further still - yet retaining the clarity and body of the sound.
As to the performance itself - the achievement is very high - Arleen Auger is ethereally beautiful in the soprano part, nicely counterpointing the vibrant urgency of Cecilia Bartoli in the alto part. Vinson Cole is the tenor, a pleasing voice with a suitably beseeching tone. The bass Rene Pape is excellent - on the lighter side of bass rather than lugubrious. The chorus and orchestra are predictably excellent under the experienced hand of Sir Georg Solti. This is one of my favourite recordings which I would highly recommend.
The story of Mozart's last great work is one of the most famous stories in music history, and is also shrouded in myth. What is undeniably true about the work is that when Mozart died, what he left of the "Requiem" was barely more than a sketch: the first movements "Requiem aeternam" and "Kyrie eleison" were completed in full score, but of the "Dies Irae" through to the "Lacrymosa" all that exists are chorus parts and an accompanying bass line. It fell to Mozart's pupil Franz Sussmayr to flesh out these remaining movements and finish the work, although Mozart left behind some fairly detailed ideas about how he wanted the work to end. Since that time, a number of editions have been made of the "Requiem," some modelled on Sussmayr's completion, others ignoring it and working from the original torso. For this performance, Georg Solti opted to use a completion by Maunder which does not sound quite like the version I have heard and sung on a number of occassions.
Despite this slight unfamiliarity, the performance as a whole is excellent. Solti was a legendary conductor, but it seems to me that he was especially good with Mozart; indeed, he once said (in so many words) that Mozart's music was proof to him of the existence of God. Throughout this performance, the chorus sinks it's teeth into the music, the soloists are weighty and the orchestra captures the gravity and beauty of the score in a quite unique way. This performance is made all the more special by the fact that it was held as a liturgical event (the requiem that Mozart never had but richly deserved), hence there are clergy present and the music is woven into the order of the Missa pro Defunctis, complete with readings and sung music for the congregation in tandem with Mozart's music.
The result is an event to be savoured and remembered: a true "Requiem" for Mozart on the anniversary of his death, far better than any concert performance could have been. I have certainly not forgotten it - and this video is a timely, worthwhile souvenir. Strongly recommended!
We were disappointed. Technically the disc is very poor by present standards. Although the production is dated 1990 the picture quality is very poor. It may have been converted from the original technical standards.
The sound is also poor. Very flat and lacking any clarity. The discs claims 5.1 but I could only find pcm stereo.
My wife is a trained singer and although a Bartoli fan she thought the whole thing lacked any excitement or sense of drama.
You can opt to skip the religous bits but that didn't leave anything impressive anyway.Oh dear!
DVD's of operas and classical music in general seem to be a mixed bag.