Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Accolades Start Pouring In For Anna Netrebko's Performance

Anna²: Netrebko meets Bolena
(Photo: Kathy Willens/AP)
The first reviews are starting to appear online for Anna Netrebko's opening night debuting Donizetti's Anna Bolena for the first time ever in the Metropolitan Opera's history. First off will be the glowing review from Mike Silverman for the Associated Press: "Netrebko, always a naturally charismatic presence on stage, has now at age 40 grown into the vocal demands of the role. Her dark, syrupy, slightly melancholy tone has deepened and taken on more power, without any noticeable loss of lyric freedom at the top of her range. In fact, she has worked hard to cultivate a respectable trill — something she was criticized for lacking in earlier forays into the bel canto repertory. So she can melt our hearts one moment with a soft high C of great delicacy, then pin us to backs of our seats the next with a ferocious outburst of notes cascading over more than an octave. That mournful song about her past, 'Al dolce guidami castel nation' ('Lead me to the dear castle where I was born'), accompanied by English horn, is part of the opera's concluding scene in which Anna's mind wanders as she prepares to meet the executioner's ax. But hearing offstage revelry as Henry weds her successor, Jane Seymour (Giovanna in the opera), restores her wits, and she denounces them in a fiery finale, 'Coppia iniquia' ('Wicked couple'), which Netrebko delivers with dazzling virtuosity. Although she sang the role for the first time just last spring in
Vienna, Netrebko has already put her stamp on it. One particularly telling moment comes at the end of Act 1, when Henry has ordered Anna and several other characters thrown into prison. He tells her that a panel of judges will weigh the evidence against her — and the realization that her fate is sealed begins to sink in. 'Giudici! ... ad Anna!' ('Judges! For Anna!') she cries. Then she repeats the same lines — spoken more than sung — and finally turns the words around, 'Ad Anna! Giudici!' Many sopranos spit out the words in defiance, but Netrebko makes us feel her terror at what they imply." [Source]

Ildar Abdrazakov as King Henry VIII and Netrebko as his young bride. (Photo: Ken Howard/MET)

"Never mind Anna Bolena. One might as well name the show Anna Netrebko....Netrebko sang the reflective passages sweetly, with shimmering pianissimo tone and a lovely legato. She earned admiration for holding nothing back in forte outbursts. She comported herself with queenly dignity as needed, and with unaccustomed restraint." [Source]

Just a girl who wants to go back to the castle where she was born. (Photo: Sara Krulwich/NY Times)

"Ms. Netrebko sang an elegantly sad aria with lustrous warmth, aching vulnerability and floating high notes. When the audience broke into prolonged applause and bravos, Ms. Netrebko seemed to break character and smiled a couple of times, though her look could have been taken as appropriate to the dramatic moment, since the delusional Anna is lost in reverie about happy days with her former lover. Then at the end of this 'Mad Scene,' when Anna, restored to horrific reality, curses the king and his new queen, Giovanna (Jane Seymour), and stalks off to her execution, Ms. Netrebko dispatched Donizetti’s cabaletta, all brilliant coloratura runs and vehement phrases, with a defiance that brought down the house." [Source]

The royal couple off to a rocky start and a bloody finish. (Photo: Kathy Willens/AP)
"The new monarch — ruling not over England but the Met — is Anna Netrebko, whose radiant performance at the company’s opening night Monday catapulted her to 'prima donna assoluta': undisputed superstar. Already celebrated for her glamorous face and voice, the fiery Russian-born diva has developed into a great tragic performer. Her climactic, 30-minute mad scene set in the Tower of London ranged from despair to rage. It’s music that demands everything in a diva’s arsenal, and Netrebko delivered, her ravishing soft high C’s and delicate trills contrasting with slashing coloratura plummeting through the full soprano register. In the last moments, her voice easily soared over the full chorus and orchestra as Anna marched off to her execution." [Source]

As more articles are written, they will be linked to this posting.