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2012 saw the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Benjamin Britten‘s mighty War Requiem, one of the most powerful pacifist statements in music — and one of the greatest works to be composed in the 20th century.

The first performance took place in 1962 in the newly consecrated Coventry Cathedral, built alongside the ruins of the bombed cathedral.

On 30 May 2012, 50 years to the day, Britten‘s masterpiece was once again performed in the cathedral, by the same orchestra and with vocal soloists from the three once warring nations.

The HD production of this momentous event is a deeply moving musical and emotional experience.

Learn more — and watch a video here.


L’OperaDou says:

This work had a profound impact on the Jury. Only two (British) members had ever heard it before. For everyone else it was a real discovery. The privileged audience attending that historic performance in Coventry Cathedral remained silent for more than a minute and a half after the musicians and singers had finished playing before starting to applaud. The Jury was equally moved and observed the same silence…

Several jury members commented on the excellent way the performance was filmed and the intensity shown by the conductor, Andris Nelsons.


Jury comments:

Œuvre magnifique, magistralement interprété. On tombe et on reste longtemps sous son charme, malgré le côté tragique. 

Wonderful atmosphere. The history of the cathedral permeated the music — made it come to life in a very visual way. I particularly loved the interaction of the tenor and baritone duets. Fantastic soprano singing from Erin Wall.

Une découverte très enrichissante. J’ai particulièrement apprécié la performance du chef d’orchestre. La réalisation a permis de mettre en évidence le niveau d’émotion comme si nous étions des musiciens et non plus des spectateurs… Excellent !!!

Marvellous voices and players— every part breathing together with one heart and soul. Everyone seemed to be bonded in a common spirit of reverence and sincerity… 

Très belle interprétation, très émouvant. Remarquablement filmé

Extraordinary orchestration and beautiful interpretation from everyone — particularly the soloists. I was very struck by the passion and inspiration everyone showed…  

Très belle interprétation, très émouvant. Remarquablement filmé

Very intense and moving with some really poignant silences that said so much… It was wonderful to see the close-ups of the conductor and see how his profound involvement with the music was expressed on his face…

Un chef d’orchestre excellent. On se laisse porter par la musique et les voix. Je suis très heureuse d’avoir eu l’occasion de découvrir cet œuvre remarquable   

Marvellous music. Very much in tune with the tragedy of the war and its consequences…



Jury ratings:
Production, staging, lighting: B+

Singing / performance: A+

HDVD production: A


Overall ranking: A


Survey results


As usual, in addition to the Jury ratings we also conducted a survey into whether Jury members want to see this production again, would buy or recommend the disc and how they feel it compares with “being there”.


Here are the main findings for the “War Requiem” from Coventry Cathedral…


"Would you like to see this production again, on TV or in  the cinema?"
75 % answered "Certainly" or "Probably"

"Will you add this DVD/Blu-Ray to your own collection?"
38 % answered "Certainly" or "Probably"

Will you recommend this DVD/Blu-Ray to your family and friends?"
66 % answered "Certainly" or "Probably"


And finally...

"How does this HD experience compare with attending a live performance?"

75 % answered "Significantly better, rather better or comparable.
















The OperaDou Jury


June Sansous shares her experience of the Coventry bombing with fellow OperaDou Jury members just before the screening of the “War Requiem”.