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Mozart: The Requiem from Sarajevo (1994)

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Cast overview:
Cecilia Gasdia ...
Soprano
Ildikó Komlósi ...
Mezzo-Soprano (as Ildiko Komlosi)
...
Tenor
...
Baritone
Zubin Mehta ...
Himself - Conductor
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Documentary | Music

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Mozart's Requiem at Sarajevo
13 August 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This performance from 1994 is not quite as good as the Bernstein(1988), Solti(1991) and especially Bohm(1971) DVDs, however it is still a wonderful performance. The video directing could have been much more expansive and intimate and the burning house image during the Rex Tremendae movement(and a couple of others) did come across as a little too heavy handed and didn't fit with the meaning of the movement(majesty of God). These aside, Mozart's Requiem, one of the greatest choral pieces and even greatest pieces ever, was a perfect choice of music to remember and pay tribute to such an unforgettably traumatic event. That it is performed in the remains of the library and accompanied by some harrowing montage images adds further to the emotional impact of the performance. And there was a lot of it, while it is deeply affecting there is an uplifting and hopeful element towards the conclusion of the Requiem, which did mirror in a way the event that the performance was paying remembrance to. The orchestra play beautifully throughout, Dies Irae has a lot of fire and Lacrimosa brims with pathos as it ought to. The chorus are also splendid, not quite with the performing as one quality that Solti's performance had but the vibrant sound and agility are there. Zubin Mehta's conducting keeps things moving swiftly but allows the music to breathe and speak for itself, the tempos are neither erratic or funereally slow which is good. All four soloists are excellent. Standing out is the most experienced of them Ruggero Raimondi, while his voice is more Don Giovanni-like bass-baritone than Sarastro-like basso cantante(that Rene Pape for Solti had) that doesn't matter because it is still powerful and sonorous with well-sustained phrases. He also looks very distinguished. Cecilia Gasdia's voice soars over with a gleaming beauty and no sign of shrillness, and she takes care to blend with the other three in their ensembles. Ildiko Komlosi, well before she started taking on heavy roles like Amneris and Santuzza, sings with a rich and fruity tone that she colours very skilfully. And while Jose Carreras sounds tired at times(stemming from perhaps his battle with leukaemia and the heavier roles he took on with Karajan's encouragement) he still delivers some very musical and soulful singing, especially during his Mors Stupebit section. In conclusion, most moving and beautifully done. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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