Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
I attended the Philadelphia Orchestra performance of the Verdi Requiem on Saturday evening, October 20, 2012. This was the inaugural concert of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
The first exciting moment came on the first few measures when the strings entered on a thread of sound. I was captivated. The beauty of the Kyrie remained suspended while the conductor rested. Verdi, ever the dramatist, shattered the silence with the Dies Irae. I almost shuddered at the choral entrance because their warning sounded so frightening. More mature male voices might have added intensity, but I don’t think they could have frightened me more.
I was seated midway between the two sets of trumpets, so when they entered during the Tuba Mirum, the sound was utterly thrilling.
The Sanctus sounded angelic, as ethereal as angels are imagined to be and perhaps just as fleeting.
Christine Rice’s voice was beautiful, especially in the Liber Scriptus. I thought she and Villazón sang every word as if their lives were at stake. I agree with Catharine’s assessment that his voice was the smallest of all the soloists, but I think he sang well. Petrenko’s voice was gorgeous, and as Catharine said, powerful. We were told that Poplovskaya had allergies but had agreed to sing. Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought I heard a couple of difficult attacks at first and some pitch problems, but after a short while they disappeared and she sang beautifully. Though her voice seems light for Verdi, perhaps the Requiem was a good role for her voice.
As for Nézet-Séguin, well, he definitely made a brilliant opening statement for this inaugural concert. He led a compelling performance of outstanding musicians to create an arc of drama, beauty, and soul.
I loved this performance.