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Duets / Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón


Release Date: 09/11/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000884502   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo PucciniGaetano DonizettiGiuseppe VerdiCharles Gounod,   ... 
Performer:  Rolando VillazónAnna NetrebkoNadine WeissmannNicola Luisotti
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko, opera's "golden couple" (or is it "dream team?"), have just released their first CD of duets. Oddly, in the DVDs in which they've co-starred--L'elisir d'amore and La traviata--their moments together, while splendid in every way, are not as memorable as their solos. For example, you're likely to recall "Di miei bollenti spiriti" and "Addio del passato" with greater fondness than the first and last act duets, and similarly, their solos (and Villazón's duet with Dulcamara) are the high points of L'elisir.

When you think of Caballé and Carreras, early in their careers, or Callas and di Stefano
Read more (not to mention Sutherland and Horne), you think of great collaborations. With Netrebko and Villazon, their voices do not particularly complement one another's; they're both just superb artists, utterly in their prime, with healthy, attractive voices and they sing well together. But the sum is precisely the equal of the parts.

That having been said, this CD gives great pleasure. It begins lusciously with the duet that closes the first act of Bohème. Both singers are in rapturous voice, their phrasing sensitive and sincere. When it comes time for Mimi to respond with "Io t'amo" the tempo slows to a virtual crawl (throughout, the singers seem to be leading the conductor, Nicola Luisotti, but it's not such a bad thing). It's odd but effective and allows the pair to linger on their off-stage high C. There are split seconds of tiny pitch variations when they're on the same note; it sounds as if Netrebko is a hair sharp--but the non-sharp singer tends to take the blame. Overall, it's a magical performance.

The first-act Lucia/Edgardo duet is passionate and tender by turns, with Villazón particularly good--note how he takes his solo softly and in a long breath--and they take Donizetti's outrageous combination of high E-flat for tenor and high C for soprano near its close, but they exchange lines. Very exciting indeed. The Duke and Gilda are roles made for them. She sounds sweet and vulnerable and he sounds like he believes what he's singing at the moment, and their final high D-flat together is a dazzler. I wish they'd sung Verdi's original cadenza instead of the usual abbreviation, however.

A hypnotic Roméo et Juliette duet follows, with gentle singing from both, and they make the most of Leila and Nadir's scene from The Pearl Fishers, turning in a languorous, smooth performance. The big duet from the third act of Manon finds Netrebko at her most seductive, and a duet from Iolanta, probably the most lyrical tenor/soprano moment in Russian opera, is a nice rarity, with Villazón very at home in the Russian idiom and the pair soaring to great emotional heights. A delicious number from Torroba's zarzuela Luisa Fernando ends the CD on a soft, tender note.

Netrebko's diction remains secondary, as it has on her other CDs, and singing with a partner whose diction is as clean and clear as Villazón's, it becomes more noticeable and unfortunate. But there's precious little to complain about--these two may not create the buzz in your head that flawlessly matched voices occasionally make, but it's a true pleasure to hear singing and communicating of this caliber.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
La Bohème: O soave fanciulla by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
Lucia di Lammermoor: Sulla tomba che rinserra...Verranno a te by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "Lucia, perdona." 
3.
Rigoletto: E' il sol dell' anima by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Nadine Weissmann (Soprano),
Nicola Luisotti ()
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "Giovanna, ho dei rimorsi..." 
4.
Roméo et Juliette: Nuit d'hyménée by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins with "“Va! je t’ai pardonné..."  
5.
Les pêcheurs de perles: De mon amie, fleur endormie by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection continues with "Dieu puissant." 
6.
Manon: Toi! Vous!...N'est ce plus ma main by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: French 
7.
Iolanta, Op. 69: Wondrous firstling of creation by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 10 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
8.
Luisa Fernanda: Cállate, corazón! Duèrmete y calla! by Federico Moreno-Torroba
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; Spain 
Date of Recording: 08/2006 
Venue:  Lukas Kirche, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Spanish 

Featured Sound Samples

Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): 14. "Va! je t'ai pardonné" - "Nuit d'hyménée"
Iolanta (Tchaikovsky): 7. "Tvoyo molcan'ye neponyatno"

Sound Samples

La Bohème / Act 1: "O soave fanciulla"
Lucia di Lammermoor / Act 1: Lucia perdona...Sulla tomba
Rigoletto / Act 1: "Giovanna, ho dei rimorsi...E il sol dell'anima"
Roméo et Juliette / Act 4: Va! je t'ai pardonné ... Nuit d'hyménée
Les pêcheurs de perles / Act 2: No.8 Chanson: "De mon amie, fleur endormie" - No.9 Duo "Léila! Léila! Dieu puissant"
Manon / Act 3: Toi! Vous!... Ah! Viens, Manon, je t'aime!
Iolanta Op.69: "Tvajo malchan'je nepan'atna"
Luisa Fernanda / Act 3: Cállate, corazón! Duèrmete y calla!

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Stunning! January 29, 2014 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "What more could you ask for? Incomparable voices and eight composers to showcase them. This disc is perfect for anyone wanting to sample operatic singing--that's why I bought it. The recommendation here is warranted." Report Abuse
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