Runnicles’ reading is easily the most eloquent and sweeping. There was never a moment when things seemed to be on automatic pilot. Each aria, duet or ensemble came through as a show-stopper. Runnicles approach was leisurely, yet infused with drama and energy, and the daring slow pace exposed the orchestra’s fine balances and intonation.
Much of Runnicles’ work unfolds in Europe, and in Atlanta he rarely gets to perform the kind of works that are his great strengths: the big operas and the late Romantic symphonic repertory, especially Mahler. Of the nights I’ve heard him conduct, this was Runnicles’ finest hour.
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