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Verdi - Requiem / Fleming · Borodina · Bocelli · D'Arcangelo · Gerviev

2.9 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 27, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Verdi's Requiem demands a quartet of soloists who could be cast as leads in Aida, along with a virtuoso chorus and orchestra and a conductor who can balance the score's heaven-shaking drama with its spiritual longings. Small surprise, then, that few recordings, including this one, can fulfill all those demands. Renée Fleming's soprano is perhaps the most beautiful such instrument before the public today, and Olga Borodina's mezzo has the equivalent smoothness and texture, making for a gorgeous duet in the "Agnus Dei." Idlebrando D'Arcangelo, too, has a lovely voice, though, like so many of today's basses, it's tilted toward the top and lacks the deep black resonance that fills out the part. Andrea Bocelli? Let's just say he's no asset to the production. His fans will love him, but Verdians will be appalled. The voice is unsupported, its small size mitigated by close microphoning, and his phrasing is rudimentary. Chorus and orchestra are fine, though they lack the tonal shadings the very best bring to this music. Valery Gergiev leads a dynamic performance, ear-shattering in the "Dies Irae," reverential elsewhere. In sum, a decent Requiem that falls short of the best, including those of the stereo era led by Solti, Giulini, and Barenboim, and vintage recordings by Toscanini, de Sabata, and Serafin. --Dan Davis
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Product Details

  • Performer: Andrea Bocelli, Renée Fleming, Olga Borodina, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
  • Orchestra: Kirov Theater Kirov Theater Chorus
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (March 27, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00005A7JM
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,723 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
With a broken I am forced to give just three stars to a recording that, just a month after its release, it's becoming an (infamous) legend. First of all, all the criticism and rage unleashed by the decision of Phillips to put Bocelli in this recording will never be enough to make up for this most disrespectful act of musical vandalism. Disrespect to Gergiev, to Fleming, to Borodina, to D'Arcangelo but, especially, to Verdi and the Requiem. We are not talking of a tenor here, we are talking of some crooner who, by I don't know what life chances, got his way up to the top of the pop world. Excuses like Bocelli sings with "passion and heart" or that Phillips and Gergiev wanted to "experiment" and "humanize" the Requiem by trying to depict the suffering of real people through the voice of Bocelli are just non-sense. This was just a commercial decision where I'm almost sure Maestro Gergiev had little influence. Phillips just put over his shoulders the ungrateful task of getting the best out of this pseudo singer. Verdi would have never tolerated such an "experiment". He loved the human voice too much to have authorized the participation of a crooner in a work that is basically about voices. It will never be enough to insist, once and again, on the operatic nature of the Requiem. Every segment of the Requiem is a "mini-drama" where the voice must be put into the service of the drama. No wonder why the great interpreters of the Requiem had been the great verdian singers of all times: Leontyne Price, Zinka Milanov, Montserrat Caballe, Jussi Bjoerling, Carlo Bergonzi, just to name a few. If the person who wrote that Phillips is experimenting with a new form of viewing the Requiem is right, this is an experiment that should be resisted and rejected.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
The following have recorded the tenor role in Verdi's Missa da Requiem at least once: Francisco Araiza, Edmund Barham, Carlo Bergonzi, Jussi Björling, Andrea Bocelli, Luca Canonici, Carlo Cossutta, Anton Dermota, Placido Domingo, Roumen Doykov, Franco Farina, Eugenio Fernandi, Nicolai Gedda, Donald George, Beniamino Gigli, Franco Lo Giudice, Jerry Hadley, César Hernández, Helmut Krebs, Veriano Luchetti, Walther Ludwig, Aquiles Machado, Bruno Madeira, Gianni Mongiardino, Keith Olsen, Vincente Ombuena, Luigi Ottolini, Luciano Pavarotti, Giacinto Pradelli, Helge Roswaenge, Gabriele Sadé, Giuseppe di Stefano, Alexander Stevenson, Richard Tucker, Louis Van Tulder, Jon Vickers, Fritz Wunderlich, Alexander Young, and Giuseppe Zampieri.
Only one of them required electronic amplification in order to be heard: Andrea Bocelli. In referring to this recording (Philips 468079) as "The Ultimate Verdi Requiem," Philips' marketers are implying that the amateurish comprimario can carry his weight in the company of Araisa, Bergonzi, Björling, Domingo, Gedda, Gigli, Hadley, Pavarotti, Di Stefano, Tucker, Vickers, Wunderlich, et al.
Here's a prediction: Next year Michael Bolton will win a Grammy for his best-selling crossover album, My Favorite Wagnerian Arias!
Where's Florence Foster Jenkins when we need her?
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Given the splendor of Gergiev, Fleming and Borodina this recording has been highly touted. BIG disappointment......While Gergiev's operatic approach is viable, this performance is like a string of stop and go ideas. Yes Fleming and Borodina maintain their reputations, as does bass D'Arcangelo, but when will record producers stop pulling Bocelli out of his Pop element and let him blast away at ballads instead of blistering opera? This ends up being a commercial vehicle for Bocelli fans instead of a contribution to the bulging ranks of recorded Verdi Requiems. Makes you wonder why Gergiev consented to record this. Pass......
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This Philips recording is with the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Valery Gergiev, and featuring soloists Renee Fleming, Olga Borodina, Andrea Bocelli, and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo. The Requiem is a stunning work, arguably Verdi's finest, and much recorded. What, then, is the draw of this particular performance? Not the Kirov Orchestra, who do a fine job but are not one of the major symphony orchestras today. And certainly not the Kirov Chorus, whose articulation and enunciation are so consistently overpowered (even when they sing a capella!) that they might as well be singing a vocalise without text. No, the selling point must be tenor Andrea Bocelli, whose popularity seems to know no bounds. Although Bocelli's inclusion in this performance is undoubtedly its planned attraction to the music buying public, it is a very controversial choice. Certain purists regard Bocelli as a pop singer and pretender to the world of "serious music" and doubt his ability to equal his fellow soloists, particularly Renee Fleming and her lovely voice, who performs superbly here. I must admit to qualms about Bocelli--I am not a fan of his previous work, and when I heard his first entrance in this recording I had my worst suspicions seemingly confirmed. But as I listened further, I had to admit that I had been suffering from prejudice. While Bocelli's voice is unique, with a particularly reedy sound, most of the time he sounds in fine voice and blends quite well with the other soloists, only occasionally seeming somewhat out of context. For all of Bocelli's faults, few opera singers can lay claim to never rolling an "r" too heavily, or scooping up to a pitch too enthusiatically. And let's not forget that Verdi was the popular music of his day and place, so Bocelli's background is perfectly appropriate.Read more ›
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