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Album: Antonio Pappano, Verdi: Messa da Requiem (EMI Classics)

This is the second outstanding release this year from Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra & Chorus of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, following the acclaimed Madama Butterfly with Angela Gheorgiu.

If anything, this is even more impressive, with powerful, moving ensemble performances from the choir and soloists in the "Offertorio" section, and beautifully modulated shifts between the haunting, sinister opening "Requiem", looming quietly before acquiring mass and density, and the turbulence of the familiar "Dies Irae". Of the soloists, Rolando Villazó*is stunning in "Ingemisco", and Anja Harteros heart-rending in "Libera Me", while the abundance of great melodies and motifs fully bears out the Requiem's reputation as being more operatic than most operas.

Download this: 'Requiem', 'Dies Irae', 'Offertorio', 'Libera Me'