In its epic scale, the bravura mettle required of its four vocal soloists, and the hushed intimacy and grand hyperbole of its shifting textures, every fibre of this music demands to be treated with some degree of theatricality.
Under the baton of guest conductor Lawrence Renes, the amassed forces largely found this dramatic intent. The delicacy of the opening’s reverent yearning and the quiet consolation of the Libera Me’s penitent close was awesomely contrasted by the brutal blows of the Dies Irae’s unearthly terrors and the bright, jovial majesty of the Sanctus.
Other aspects, however, fell short of this high bar. Awkwardly sandwiched between the back of the orchestra and the front of the on-stage chorus, the quartet of imported soloists, who should be both the focal point and emotional lifeblood of the piece, felt frustratingly remote.
While it’s unclear why local artists weren’t recruited for this performance, it was nonetheless a pleasant discovery of four unfamiliar talents. American soprano Leah Crocetto proved a particular standout, displaying extraordinary clarity and control across her richly coloured range.