Album: Verdi, Messa di Requiem, (EMI)

Antonio Pappano's Roman orchestra and chorus are unfailingly responsive, with deliciously soft strings, smart brass, tight woodwind details, a strong blend and impeccable diction.

It takes time for soloists Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazó*and René Pape to produce something more personal than the generic gasps of grand opera but the sudden simplicity of their "Agnus Dei" is worth the wait. This is a "Requiem Mass" as Violetta Valéry might have imagined it: terrible and vengeful, stern yet serene.