Andris Nelsons began this often-fiery Boston Symphony Verdi Requiem by caressing the Tanglewood Festival Chorus’s quietly enunciated lines in ‘Requiem aeternam’ and the ensuing ‘Te decet hymnus’, only taking up his baton for the ‘Dies irae’, bass drum pounding. The BSO was at its most spectacular when trumpets rang out leading into the ‘Tuba mirum’, followed by Ryan Speedo Green’s resonant ‘Mors stupebit’, expressing a more philosophical view of death than his later, terrifying, ‘Confutatis’.
The excellent vocal soloists also made a well-balanced ensemble, the standout being Oksana Volkova, her voice projecting with the heft needed for ‘Liber scriptus’ and she shone during beautiful duets with Kristine Opolais. Jonathan Tetelman began the ‘Kyrie’ boldly, and his ‘Ingemisco’ was quite moving. Opolais was at her best in the final section of the Mass, bringing it to a gentle conclusion with a pppp ‘Libera me’.
The BSO played brilliantly, strings expressive to varying emotions, woodwinds adding appropriate character, and the brass and drums providing raw force. The Chorus was outstanding in intonation and diction, holding its own, and Nelsons managed the large forces masterfully for an emotionally satisfying experience.