Star rating: ****
Venue: Usher Hall
But the three Shakespeare-inspired works that preceded were every bit as relevant in creating a mightier entity, heaving with Italianate passion and hot-blooded theatricality.
Like true Italians, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale de Saint Cecilia, wear their hearts on their sleeves. A gloriously latent impetuosity, an underlying sense of the risqué, ran through the first half orchestral performances under the malleable authority of Royal Opera House maestro Antonio Pappano. He unleashed the crisp directness of Rossini’s Otello overture, the champagne sparkle in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi overture and the menace of the storm-filled witches’ Billabile from Verdi’s Macbeth with minimum fuss, maximum impact.
Thus ground was prepared for Rossini’s Stabat Mater, featuring the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, and a triumph of cohesive ecstasy.
Pappano’s orchestra were again a source of infinite colourings, the chorus enriching that with their own responsive flavourings, whether magically sotto voce beneath the solo quartet – rapt female duo Carmen Giannattasio and Marianna Pizzolato, stirring tenor Yijie Shi, and bass Roberto Tagliavini, whose weak lower range slightly undermined the ensemble – or resplendent in the final Amen. Stirring stuff.