Giuseppe Verdi he called himself an atheist, but in his musical theater the religious sense takes on vaguely Manzonian and comforting connotations. Therefore, he believes as an oasis of peace before the inevitable awareness of the evils of the world and the lack of communication in human relationships, or again as an unattainable landing place because it is conditioned by mechanisms which he takes charge of; a Faith that starts from man, even before the dialogue with God, and conditions his desire for spirituality, now coloring it with relaxed serenity, now with conflict with the power it represents, always with full awareness of a need for the sacred felt, but never satisfied.
Verdi, like few 19th-century opera composers, speaks precisely of religion in the restless search for the religious sense and, above all, speaks of Faith, not so much as a link with the transcendent, but as a support for hearts weary from conflicts that often characterize relationships complicated and unsolvable earthly human beings. Then, regarding the theme of death and the desire to honor the memory of Alessandro Manzoni whom Verdi esteemed and who, on the contrary, was a champion of trust in providence and of profound and sincere religiosity, the composer from Busseto composes a Requiem which places the man faced with the evidence of death with disconcerting disturbance: it is precisely the layman who, wondering about the fatal uncertainty of what will happen after the end of earthly existence, responds with disoriented and chilled anguish to the idea of what awaits him, remaining petrified.
To the Royal Theater of Turinwhere the Requiem Mass di Verdi opened the concert season on the afternoon of 8 January (with a repeat performance on the evening of 9 January), the baton of Andrew Battistoni with a thoughtful and attentive balance of expressive intentions, he constituted the true trump card of a performance which moreover confirmed the state of health of an Orchestra in really good shape and of a Choir, instructed by Andrew Secchiwhich in Dies iraebut also in the a capella pages and in the fugato of the Sanctus has highlighted truly noteworthy qualities.
For his part, Battistoni’s concertation follows a path that prefers a musical path crossed by a sense of theatrical emotional characterization to dry and stripped apocalyptic sonorities, or almost silent and terrified whispers in the face of the mirror of death. in a Dies irae stormy and solemn but never complacent, as if it were conditioned by the sense of profound emotion that soothes even the most lyrical pages giving them painful interiority, where the sound becomes warm but does not touch the strings of emotion just because Battistoni’s baton is interested in putting everything first the idea of a death narrated with almost scenic evidence, narrated as if it were photographed in sound images full of marked expressive evidence. The sounds are shaped with a variety of immediate communication, without useless aesthetics but with a concreteness that gives its execution concrete compactness and direct and sincere emotionality.
The soloists respond quite well, albeit with imbalances in vocal rendering. Among all, the soprano Angela Meade it is the one that has the right voice, at least in the Verdian sense. Some spun notes are real pearls; rare however, because they alternate with emissions where the vibrato distorts the beauty of the timbre. In the Free me, then, he attacks with uncertainty and resumes the spun note by the skin of his nose; it may also be an accident, but it reveals how his singing lacks that balance which instead possesses, despite some somewhat dry high notes, the decidedly less Verdian voice of Silvia Beltramiwhich in Liber scriptusin the incipit of the Lacrymosa It is in the Lux aeterna it imposes itself for the beautiful singing line. Even the tenor Aeneas Scala possesses sense of style, even if the voice, both in theI ingest and even more inHostias, lacks mystical suspension; the sounds are collected artfully if necessary but without really softening, so that the wisdom of the expressive intentions ends up prevailing over the vocal rendering, also due to the contained tonal attractiveness. However, the evolution that this tenor has undergone in recent seasons is undoubted and equally interesting, facing a more lyrical repertoire that has always been resolved with evident results also in this Turin rehearsal. The weak link among the soloists is the bass Gianluca Buratto. It starts out pretty good, but the rumor doesn’t run into the Refutatis It is in the Lux aeterna unfortunately he runs into some intonation deviations when he tries to dampen the sounds, losing the correct use of the emission along the way.
At the end of the performance festive applause for everyone, but above all skyrocketing enthusiasm for the Orchestra, Choir and for a direction which confirms in Battistoni, and in his now acquired maturity, one of the most prominent Italian batons of the moment.
Teatro Regio – Concert Season 2023
Silvia Beltramimezzo soprano
Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio Turin
Director Andrew Battistoni
Choir master Andrew Secchi
Turin, 8 January 2023