Stabat Mater – A Tribute to Pergolesi
The selling point is not so much Pergolesi as Anna Netrebko. Her soprano may not be classically Italianate, but you have to applaud the Russian diva’s willingness to venture from the safety of the Romantic era into the more exposed Baroque. In the cantata “Nel chiuso centro” she treats the coloratura expressively and brings a more full-bodied sound than we are used to hearing in early 18th-century music.
Italian contralto Marianna Pizzolato sounds stylistically less assured in her cantata, “Questo è il piano”, and the strings of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra can’t hide their inauthentic tone. But Pappano, on loan from EMI, draws committed playing, especially in the Stabat Mater: The two solo voices create a rich blend and the performance captures the work’s pathos and high drama.