2011 Gramophone Award Winner :
“This is one of the great choral recordings.” ~ Gramophone
“In Pappano’s hands, the score’s theatrical urgency and narrative flair come vividly to life […] the singing is first-rate, both by the chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and by the vocal soloists. First among equals, not surprisingly, is mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, whose fierce tone and effortless technique bring dark splendor to her assignment. But she is well partnered by soprano Anna Netrebko, a florid and crystalline presence, and by tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass Ildebrando D’Arcangelo.”
~ Joshua Kossman, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 2010
“We have down the years been rather clutching at straws where recordings of Rossini’s two great choral works are concerned. The Petite Messe solennelle has had just one memorable recording; the Stabat mater has had none. Until now, that is, with this revelatory new account directed by Antonio Pappano.
A precondition for success here is the assembling of a matched quartet of technically accomplished singers blessed with a sense of the Rossini style. Pappano has this absolutely. The pairing of Anna Netrebko and Joyce DiDonato is a marriage made in musical heaven. The range demanded of the second soprano holds no terrors for DiDonato…
The recording, made in Rome’s superb Sala Santa Cecilia, is of demonstration quality, the thrill of the chase in that concluding “Amen” as perfectly rendered as the cloistered beauty of the supplicants’ distant chant in the “Eja, mater”. This is one of the great choral recordings.”
~ Richard Osborne Gramophone December 2010
“Antonio Pappano’s winning streak continues with Rossini’s Stabat Mater, a companion piece to last year’s Verdi Messa Da Requiem in its almost operatic treatment of devotional material.
It’s exquisitely realised, in settings which range from subtle, barely perceptible hints of strings to rousing orchestral crescendos. The blend of Anna Netrebko’s soprano and Joyce DiDonato’s mezzo-soprano is particularly effective, both in duet form on “Quis est homo”, and underpinned by Lawrence Brownlee’s tenor on the opening “Stabat mater dolorosa”, while Ildebrando D’Arcangelo brings a magisterial poise to his solo on ‘Pro peccatis suae gentis’.”
~ Andy Gill, The Independent, November 2010
“In this sensual-sounding sacred work, a departure from Rossini’s comic operas, the vocal dream team is completed by Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, the Italian bass Ildebrando D’Arcangelo and the orchestra and chorus of Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Antonio Pappano.
DiDonato’s silken voice soars in a duet with Netrebko’s rich, silvery soprano, while D’Arcangelo’s burnished, powerhouse bass reaches into the netherworld of a tormented soul.
The soloists are all at their vocal peak, offering a searing, hour-long stream of music plugged into an emotional power socket, eliciting hope that ends with an ominous ‘Amen’.”
~ Verena Dobnik, The Associated Press, December 2010