Verdi: Requiem (DVD)

Deutsche Grammophon
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Herbert von Karajan

This production was first performed at La Scala in 1967 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Toscanini's death before traveling to Moscow, Montreal and New York.

Karajan gives early evidence of his innovative approach to film by choosing Henri-Georges Clouzot as his director, a creator of classic "films noirs" such as "Quai des Orfevres" and "Wages of Fear".

An exceptional cast of soloists - Leontyne Price, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Fiorenza Cossotto and the young Luciano Pavarotti - makes this not only a visual but also a musical highlight.

Verdi's Requiem, inspired by the death of Italian author Alessandro Manzoni, was premiered in 1874 and ranks as one of two supreme achievements in 19th-century liturgical music next to Beethoven's Missa Solemnis - a work it resembles in its stylistic grandeur and compelling sincerity.