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Subject: Re: Met Requiem
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:37:08 -0500

text/plain (56 lines)

I was thoroughly moved by Friday night’s premiere broadcast of the Requiem.  While 
acknowledging it was a less than perfect performance, the fact this run of the Requiem is 
dedicated to the memory of Dmitri Hvorostovsky brought a sense of occasion stronger than 
that of a “mere” (hardly the correct word, but you get my point) performance.  One could 
sense, even over the airwaves, what friends in attendance told me was an air of solemnity 
hanging over the house, which was made even more emotional when Levine began the 
work.  Certainly as heard Friday night, the opening phrases lent an otherworldly eeriness to 
the proceedings.

The chorus was wonderful throughout, hauntingly quiet then raising the roof along with the 
full orchestral mass of brass, winds, strings and thunderous percussion for the Dies Irae and 
Libera me.

I'm not the biggest fan of the two female soloists, but each provided the necessary intensity 
and expression of sound required, Miss Stoyanova rising to her big note in the Libera me 
approached thrillingly and ending the work, her voice filled with emotion as the chorus 
hushed, almost barely there, imploring its benediction.  Even over the radio with 
headphones in a small studio apartment hundreds of miles away, the effect was 

Ms. Semenchuk has a sound that sometimes, for me, can be a bit inelegant, but the two 
ladies blended beautifully in their several moments.  Poor Mr. Antonenko began quite well, 
but gave out while trying to give his all.  The voice started falling apart in a way that made 
me (and I'm certain everyone listening) uncomfortable - wanting him to rally, but fearful he 
would just eventually crack open.  Pitch was only one of several problems.

By this point in his career, the 68, year old basso Ferrucio Furlanetto has earned and 
deserves the title "maestro" for he truly is. While the voice is clearly in the last stretch of his 
career, none of the soloists (nationality aside) had quite the expressiveness and elegance of 
phrasing as Maestro Furlanetto.  Raw emotion balanced with equal parts of distance and 
elegance made his (apparently only for me) the most moving performance.

Maestro Levine led all the forces with his usual attention to detail, bringing out inner voices 
of the winds here, having the strings throb there . . . just an amazing variety of sounds 
combined into a force that was powerful in every way.  There were things I felt might have 
been bettered, but I’m not picking at nits in this work and on such an occasion as this.  As 
Ms. Stoyanova's last utterances followed by that chorus of whispered awe floated away, the 
house remained in (almost) complete silence for 30 seconds . . . which seems like forever in 
such an instance.

A fitting tribute to Dima's memory from a house where he was adored.


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