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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!...
I already had Berliner Philharmoniker 2002 Abbado's version of this superb Requiem, with Gheorgiu, Barcellona, Alagna, Constantinov, Swedish Radio Chorus and Orfeón Donatiara. Great Job indeed and I'll never regret the purchase. At the time I faced it as a Five Star Work.

Though after listening this extraordinary Baremboim version, I felt unconfortable...
Published 9 months ago by Paula Torres

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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars boring
It is really difficult to bore with one of the most beautiful works of sacred music, and Daniel Barenboim does. When I purchased this BR what I thought was that it is impossible to do a bad performing with such a quartet of soloists and with La Scala forces. Barenboim is unable to create tension from the very beginning. Soloists are ok, nothing spectacular, with Harteros...
Published 8 months ago by Juan


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!..., 6 Oct 2013
By 
Paula Torres (Rua Tomás Antonio Gonzaga, 9-5º-D-Odivelas - Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I already had Berliner Philharmoniker 2002 Abbado's version of this superb Requiem, with Gheorgiu, Barcellona, Alagna, Constantinov, Swedish Radio Chorus and Orfeón Donatiara. Great Job indeed and I'll never regret the purchase. At the time I faced it as a Five Star Work.

Though after listening this extraordinary Baremboim version, I felt unconfortable repeating that classification. Baremboim deserves more...or Abbado deserves less...?
I always feel dishonest and unfair when I start comparing versions but in this case I should be unfair if I wouldn't!
With all Respect for the excellence of Abbado's Direction, the unquestionable quality of Berliner Philharmoniker and Eric Ericson Chamber Choir fine performance, there was a kind of 'Magic Trick' when "Dies Irae" exploded from the Coro and Orchestra of Teatro Alla Scala! A Powerfull Moment! And a sequence of Powerfull Moments would follow it...

The Soul of the Composer is perfectly reflected in Baremboim's eyes and body language, and the strength of his Command has no discussion!
Another high point was the choice of the Singers and their superb Performances!
Today it should be insane to quest Kauffmann's Performing and there's no way to compare Alagna with Him! Today, Jonas Kauffmann is the owner of a Masterclass vocal technique and of a unique Timbre ! No rival in the Horizon...
I like The Mezzo Daniela Barcellona but listening to Elina Garanca is Heaven! Garanca Vocal Warm and Performing Quality has few rivals...
The same with Bass Julian Constantinov and René Pape. Constantinov is a good Performer but a little agressive for my taste and seems to be in trouble sometimes while Pape, is calm and expressive, has a velvety Timbre and doesn't strugle to breathe...
Anja Harteros was an interesting surprise. Not beeing a 'Verdian' Soprano, her voice is pristine and exact. Perhaps sometimes Garanca and Harteros's voices don't sound as harmonic as Gheorghiu and Barcellona, but that is an insignificant detail!!

Alla Scala's Audiences always concerned me because of their unfortunate behaviour since the times of Callas and Pavarotti, of 'shoutting down' the Singers! This sad practice represents the 'Nobility' in the 'Art of Desrespect' for those who Work on Stage!...
This time and Fortunately, Emotions were running high and reactions exceeded my expectations...

Verdi's Requiem is a Masterpiece! And this Baremboim's Version is no doubt the best I've ever seen and heard until now.

Everything is Beautiful here even the Sound and the amazing Camera! We are looking through the Mirror of Verdi's Soul.

A Seven Star Work...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best visual recording of Verdi's Requiem, 6 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I was fortunate enough to have had obtained a ticket for this performance at La Scala in Milan at the end of August of 2012. Surprisingly enough it was quite easy to do so on the internet. When I came out, I was simply living in a different world. A world full of Verdi’s melodies! This was for me a unique experience.
Finally this performance has come out on Blu-ray and I pre-ordered it from Amazon. Having watched it on some very high-end equipment, I was reminded of how superb that performance had been.
Daniel Barenboim conducts the score with great affection and feeling. The chorus and orchestra of La Scala certainly live up to their name, simply outstanding. As for the soloists, Anja Harteros sings beautifully, with great easy and superb tone of voice. Elina Garanca is up to her usual superb standards. She sings with a superb voice, with character, pathos and plenty of feeling. Jonas Kaufmann sings very powerfully, fills the theatre with his voice that resounds in that immense space. Rene Pape sings in somewhat a softer tone to what I am used to. His voice is perhaps not as deep as some basses of the past like Boris Christoff, but still very expressive.
The high definition recording gives a very clear and crisp image with very rich colours and wonderful views of the theatre. The sound is also first rate, but unfortunately, I cannot but compare it with the live experience, which can never be equalled. I highly recommend this disc.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous performance of Verdi's Requiem from La Scala, 7 Sep 2013
By 
J. Aitken (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
From hushed enunciation of "Requiem" from the Scala chorus to the quiet sublime ending, this is a performance of great power and beauty. Barenboim coaxes wonderful singing and playing from the Scala forces and is joined by, quite frankly, the best soloist team available today. Having heard and admired all four soloists live in performance, it is an absolute pleasure to encounter them at their considerable best in this performance. Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann, who recently sang superbly in the Munich IlTrovatore are ably matched by Elena Garanca and Rene Pape in quite simply the finest performance of this work, I have ever heard.

This is marvellous and recommended highly. If the possibility of 6 stars existed they would be well deserved.

Enjoy
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barenboim's Verdi Requiem, 3 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. John Manning (Penarth, Vale of Glam Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This was an issue I anticipated with great expectations; as soon as it was announced I pre-ordered the Blu-ray, hoping that it would displace my favourite video performance, Abbado's DVD on EMI. In short, it hasn't managed to achieve that difficult task, but hasn't left me too disappointed.
Seeing Barenboim conducting makes it clear to all that he is thoroughly in command, and has moulded the performance to his own ideals, being alert to every change in tempo and dynamics. His chorus is well drilled; I would have preferred a little more sound from the basses, probably because theirs is the part I have been accustomed to singing. As a whole the chorus responds well to Barenboim's direction.
The line-up of soloists had my mouth watering, save for the soprano Anja Harteros who was a new name to me. She, however, soon endeared herself to me and became my preferred soloist; all in all it is an excellent quartet. Elina Garanca sings beautifully as always, but not as animatedly as her companions, and I would have liked more power in her lower register. Rene Pape is sonorously solemn and Jonas Kaufmann puts his operatic all into a heartfelt Ingemisco.
The performance, then, satisfied me - even thrilled me in parts.
Perhaps it was to Decca's disadvantage that I had just been enjoying Dudamel's Mahler 8th symphony on blu-ray, a production that impressed me on many counts but especially for the stunning high resolution pictures and natural surround sound. The introduction to the Verdi shows traffic passing in front of La Scala, and I immediately noticed some jerkiness in the movement. This continues throughout; not disastrously but enough to catch my eye. In case of some problem with my Oppo player I tried the Mahler again, which was noticeably better, despite apparently being also at a frame rate of 29.97 fps. I also tried the Verdi via my Popcorn Hour media player, with little difference; 1080p 60fps seemed to be the best compromise. Otherwise the pictures are good without being outstanding.
The applause on the Verdi as Barenboim enters comes from the front speakers, not surrounding the listener as with Dudamel, and my impression of the Verdi (listening to the DTS HD surround) is of good stereo recording in a resonant hall, with little from the rear until the offstage trumpets make their appearance. The soloists are forward, but not excessively, and in all the audio is very clear, enjoying a wide dynamic and frequency range. There is no audience noise, which, reinforces my impression of a fairly closely miked recording (yet retaining a pleasing resonance). In contrast Dudamel has some audience noise, but his huge forces are set in an ideal and natural audio environment which approximates to a good seat in the centre of the hall.
I'm sorry to have given a qualified welcome to this release, and hope that it will not deter anyone from sampling it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thrilling Musical Experience but ...., 14 Sep 2013
By 
M. E. OUTLAW "Fuorilegge" (Isle of Wight, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the first DVD I have bought of a concert/recital rather than a dramatic or operatic performance and I didn't know quite what to expect. I have three audio recordings of the Verdi Messa da Requiem, of which my favourite is the Giulini version with Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Gedda and Ghiaurov as the soloists. I have to say that I find this DVD version under Daniel Barenboim equally satisfying.
The choral and orchestral forces of La Scala, Milan, respond well to Barenboim's direction, with the brass and woodwind sections in particular making the most of the opportunities Verdi gives them. The `Tuba mirum' is very exciting and the woodwind provide a delicate and delightful backdrop for the `Agnus Dei'. The choir, rather bigger than I expected, produces a glorious paean of sound in the `Dies irae' and the `Libera me', but, perhaps because there are so many of them, they do not quite manage the extreme pianissimos that Verdi asks for in places.
The four soloists are all excellent. I had not heard Anja Harteros, the soprano, since she won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1999 and was delighted to hear how she has matured. Her tone is sweet, especially in the upper register, very rich lower down the scale and the voice is sufficiently powerful to ride above the chorus in the `Libera me'. Her B flat at the end of the quiet section of this movement is perfectly produced.
Elina Garanca is equally good in the mezzo part, giving us a ringing `Liber scriptus' and some truly beautiful singing in the `Lachrymosa' and the `Lux aeterna'. Her duet with Harteros in the `Recordare' is, for me, one of the high points of the performance.
Jonas Kaufmann gives a thoroughly operatic rendering of the tenor part with blazing top notes in the `Ingemisco', but he also produces great delicacy and beauty of tone in the `Hostias et preces tibi'.
René Pape is not my ideal Verdi bass, but since we no longer have Ghiaurov or Siepi, then we must make the most of what we have. He sings with sincerity and feeling and is as sonorous as one could wish in the `Confutatis maledictis'. I have one cavil. The bass has a vitally important unaccompanied entry after the great climax of the `Salva me' and to my ear at least, his intonation is not absolutely secure at this point
The title of this review contains a `but' and this is it. Why a DVD? This is not a visually exciting experience, except in one respect. It is marvellous to see Barenboim wringing his ideal performance from the forces arrayed before him. He conducts without a score, and is concerned with every tiny detail of Verdi's orchestration and vocal writing. He has a couple of gimmicky whispers from the chorus, which purists may not like, but his total dedication to the work is obvious. That excepted, there is no visual element in this recording which is interesting, let alone exciting. I have never seen and now shall never see the inside of the most famous opera house in the world and I didn't see it in this DVD, most of which is in darkness. There was barely a glimpse of the ladies' gowns and close-ups of people singing are not always helpful. I did not need to know that Anja Harteros often sings out of the side of her mouth, or that Elina Garanca, one of my favourite artists, appears to feel that a requiem requires that she should look permanently like a disapproving schoolmistress. Facial expressions can be interesting in an operatic performance but have little to contribute to a concert. When I played this disc for the third time, it was with my eyes shut and I enjoyed it much more. As an audio recording it deserves a ringing five stars; as a visual experience only two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Moving Requiem., 25 Oct 2013
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
What could be better than seeing and hearing this piece performed on his centenary, at La Scala, in Verdi's homeland? This Blu Ray impresses from the start with wonderful picture quality and full-range surround sound. The bass drum is captured in all its thunderous power in the Dies Ires and the dynamic range registers the quietest pianissimo.

This is a piece that benefits tremendously from being heard in high quality surround sound - this allows you to hear the complex sound picture, with large choir and orchestra, with the 4 soloists in front of them - as well as details like the off-stage trumpets in the Tuba Mirum. Apart from some Mahler symphonies, this is as complex a soundstage as you could hear and the recording is as good as you could want for such a task.

Soloists and choir perform exceptionally well and Barenboim conducts with vitality and precision. Now in his tenure as musical director at La Scala, this is evidence of a fruitful relationship. The Blu Ray is presented nicely with a colour booklet containing extensive notes and credits. You can bring up subtitles in various languages which can help to let you know where you are and what's being sung - but these can be removed to allow you and unobstructed view.

Overall the direction is good and this has to be close to the best version of this piece so far - a top recommendation for Blu Ray surround?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great...., 13 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I saw the concert in Mailand and also in Lucerne.. just amazing.
Everybody was on top. Choir, soloist and orchestra hardly too perfect
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amateur tenor, 12 Oct 2013
By 
W. Kennedy (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I have an elderly recording of the requiem with an excellent bass, superior, in my view, to that on this recording but in all other respects this version is vastly superior. -The bass is very good despite my previous comparison. Kaufmann, in particular is like a combination of Pavarotti's top and Domingo's mid range and conveys the text superbly. the orchestral sound is thrilling and well supported by Barenboim with his conducting. It would be hard to fault it. I shall listen to it often and enkoy the visual presentation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Requiem, 20 Mar 2014
By 
Gerhard P. Knapp "gpk" (Salt Lake City, UT, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I have always treasured Giulini’s 1964 reading of Verdi’s Manzoni Requiem (with his dream team of soloists: Schwarzkopf – Ludwig – Gedda -- Ghiaurov) and perhaps used it as a subconscious “blueprint” when appreciating other performances, either live or recorded. On DVD, my favorite has been Abbado’s deeply felt and searing 2001 recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker, still in very good sound and more than respectable video. Maazel’s more recent interpretation with the Symphonica Toscanini (2007, see my review) I found disappointing. Yes, this is the verbatim beginning of my comments on Gustavo Dudamel’s new Verdi Requiem – and I repeat it here, as I want to put my cards on the table for the following review of Daniel Barenboim’s almost simultaneously released recording. I will not even attempt to compare the two readings: they are vastly different in their respective conceptions, but equally fine.

The Requiem was recorded live in August 2012 at the Teatro alla Scala, an immense theatre, and the challenges for both sound engineers and film crew must have been severe. I respectfully disagree with some fellow-reviewers and find both the audio and the video for the most part very good, if not always outstanding. Not only are the Scala acoustics tamed and focused quite well, the video is relatively sharp, given the difficulty of recording placement and angle. The camera work, however, is not entirely to my satisfaction: too many long shots on the maestro – the soloists rightly get plenty of attention – and the very fine, huge Coro del Teatro alla Scala, too little focus on the orchestra musicians who play very well indeed. One should not forget that Verdi could be a brilliant orchestrator: the Requiem is ample proof of this. The repeated pans through the theatre are useless and annoying.

Barenboim has a stellar quartet of soloists with Anja Harteros, Elina Garanca, Jonas Kaufmann and René Pape, and they give their all for his monumental reading of the score. Harteros, Kaufmann and Pape – the latter despite a few quirky pronunciation glitches – are thoroughly familiar with Verdi, Garanca seems somewhat in awe at times, but carries her part very well. What she may occasionally lack in sheer vocal power (at least on this particular evening), she amply makes up with musical beauty. From the first hushed notes of the Kyrie through the overwhelming cataclysm of the Dies Irae, a stupendous Mors stupebit, a highly expressive Liber scriptus – Garanca shining out – and Quid sum miser with an exquisite dialogue of Harteros and Kaufmann, the quartet perfect in Salva me and a wonderful Recordare – listen to the angelic duet of soprano and mezzo – to one of the finest tenor solos on record in the Ingemisco, you will be spellbound with this performance. Barenboim conducts his large forces with intense concentration, and even during those moments when he seemingly gives them free rein, there is no doubt that all is painstakingly rehearsed. Among the many high points there is a formidable Lacrymosa punctuated by percussion, a glittering tenor solo in the Hostias, the festive Sanctus and hushed Agnus Dei with both female soloists tender and moving… I could go on and on, but listen for yourself. This is Daniel Barenboim’s Requiem. And it is a great Requiem, here to stay with us for many years to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AWE INSPIRIING, 18 Mar 2014
This review is from: Verdi: Requiem (Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano) [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
To get soloists of the calibre shown here in such a stage and under such a conductor as Barenboim was bound to be fantastic.
I was not disappointed, Pape and Kaufmann reach the highest and deepest tones with no effort, equally the ladies and the choir.
La Messa de Requiem is such a spectacular work that I though I ought to have it in Blu ray. The DTS sound of La Scalla is superb and does the wonderful acoustics of the space justice.
I lovely work to own.
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