Sunday, September 25, 2011

Newsweek Magazine Captures Anna Netrebko's Saucier Side

The diva feted in campaign fur.
(Photo: Christopher Anderson/Magnum)
“'Lots of opera singers are just boring. Bo-o-o-ring. C’mon: get a life! Be more extra—extra—' Extravagant? Extroverted? Is this what most opera singers lack? They’re qualities Netrebko has in abundance, part of what helps her records, in Germany and Austria at least, outsell Beyoncé, led Musical America to name her Musician of the Year in 2008, lifted her into Playboy’s list of 'sexiest babes in classical music,' and have made her that most unique of creatures: an opera singer with pop-star status. But maybe another word is better, one that Netrebko loves to use: razzle-dazzle. Or as she put it in her distinctly Russian English, 'RRRaazzzelll-Dazzzzelll': rolling the R’s, prolonging the Z’s, deepening the vowels. She makes the corny term sound like a sorcerer’s incantation. Netrebko discusses the virtues of razzle-dazzle on the terrace of an Alpine castle, encircled by Sound of Music mountains and dark forests, perched above a Technicolor turquoise lake. The castle has been converted into a luxury hotel, frequented by Arab sheiks and posh German-Austrians. As I order a drink, she grabs my hand and whispers: 'Be careful what you order. Last night I come to have some drinks, relax. I order schnapps. They bring this tiny thing. Tiny! I tell them, ‘That’s not a drink! Bring me a double!’ They bring me a double. Tiny! I say, ‘Bring me a triple.’ Finally: a normal drink. Then they bring the bill: 150 euro! For a schnapps! It’s just vodka!' The world’s most famous soprano, Anna Netrebko, can’t find the right word. This is a rarity." And after a performance of Tchaikovsky's Iolanthe the interviewer, Peter Pomerantsev, joins Ms. Netrebko and the opera's cast: "Performing with Netrebko this evening are a whole bunch of Russian singers. After the concert they’re drinking at a darkened table in the bar opposite the Opera House. Everyone’s dressed in jeans, T-shirts, and flannel shirts. The bass-baritone, Evgeny Nikitin, covered with tattoos, looks like a punk drummer. The singers drink and smoke with the resolve of soldiers on short leave, and talk of upcoming concerts like tours of duty. Like Netrebko, they are products of St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre and of one great master, the conductor Valery Gergiev." [Source]