Aug 14

Messa da Requiem, by Verdi, conducted by von Karajan ?????

This is a staged piece with an empty audience, performed by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1967. This was a time when Karajan, and many of the performers, such as Leontyne Price, and Nicholai Ghiaurov were truly in their prime. Luciano Pavarotti is very young in this production and appears a touch insecure, though Verdi gave the tenor a minor solo part in this work. The work itself is a compositional masterpiece, stylistically being very operatic. Karajan’s conducting is also demonstrative of the best that this piece could possibly be performed. Interestingly, he is usually found with his eyes opened during the conducting, a characteristic I find peculiar to Karajan conducting choral works. The filming is a little problematic at times, since the camera seems to stray off of the performers, and the view is often obstructed by microphone poles. All in all, this is one of the best performances of Verdi’s Requiem, and a must have by any music lover.

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