One of my most fond memories of my time in New York City was watching Riccardo Muti rehearse Verdi’s Requiem with the New York Philharmonic. Singing all of the choral and soloists’ parts during the first rehearsal, Muti was showing his conception of the piece to the orchestra through his conducting and through his incredibly beautiful voice. Within minutes he had the entire orchestra completely under his spell.
Maestro Muti represents the best qualities of the conductors of the past — knowledge, experience, and complete conviction. His strength comes from these things, not from some overwrought false sense of drama that most conductors conjure, like an elaborate smoke screen.
Muti has recorded Verdi’s Requiem in the studio at least three and there are many performances on YouTube one can watch. Here are my favorite.