The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Verdi Requiem Is a Stunner

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Twenty-five years ago, when the Meyerson Symphony Center opened its doors for the first time, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra got its dream-home. Acoustically, this is one of the world's best halls; the faintest vibrations and most subtle variations in volume are audible in its rich, cavernous space.

But no matter how impressive the subtleties, every audiophile knows that if you spend a lot of money on your dream sound system, you're going to want to blast it, neighbors be damned.

This weekend, Jaap van Zweden and the DSO are showing off their "sound system" by turning the volume up to 11. Then down to one. Then back up to 11.

Verdi's Messa de Requiem is big in every sense of the word, requiring a double choir, four soloists, an enormous orchestra and around 85 minutes of your time and attention. It's a spectacle whenever it is performed, but when it is performed with musical sensitivity and stunning vocals in a space capable of absorbing and melding massive sound, it's a spectacle you don't want to miss.

Among the many highlights of this weekend's performance is soprano Hui He's voice. She was in perfect control of her instrument last night, letting melodies simmer and bubble up from inside her black-taffeta-wrapped body before launching them into the hall with deceptive ease. There are moments during this piece when her voice alone will take your breath away.

By her side, and equally as capable, is mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti. Her sound and delivery are mature and classically elegant. In duets, Cornetti and He's voices blend with intoxicating depth and warmth.

Giorgio Berrugi is the perfect romantic tenor to sing opposite Cornetti and He, but bass Ain Anger seems slightly out of his depth in this company. The choir, prepared by director Joshua Habermann, was both sensitive and strong.

Don't let this 90-minute intermission-less funeral mass intimidate you. It is a sonic and emotional feast. Grab tickets for repeat performance tonight, Saturday night and Sunday (matinee) here.

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