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Duets / Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón (Limited Edition)


Release Date: 09/11/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000884610   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo PucciniGaetano DonizettiGiuseppe VerdiCharles Gounod,   ... 
Performer:  Rolando VillazónAnna Netrebko
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Hard Bound 74-page book packaging
Bonus DVD material for the original deluxe version includes:
Music Clip – La bohème
Behind the Scenes
Subtitles
Picture Gallery

R E V I E W S

Starry duets find both singers in fine voice and - mostly - in stylish form

" Netrebko and Villazón are certainly among the most justly celebrated opera singers of their still young generation, and the combining of their voices here appeals to the imagination, challenged by the difference of their respective backgrounds and timbre. They have been on tour recently with a recital programme in which most of these duets have been included, interspersed with a few solos
Read more and orchestral pieces...As recorded, the voices match well in terms of volume, and Netrebko’s brightness seems reduced in wattage sufficiently to distribute the lighting more evenly. It’s still not the voice of a Mimì (not warm enough) or a Lucia (not vulnerable) but the voice-character becomes better suited after these two, which as it happens are the opening numbers, though in the London recital there was no Donizetti and the Puccini was used for the finale...There is, however, lovely singing by Villazón, who in the Lucia duet phrases his verse of “Verrano a te” with a breadth matched by the grace of his beautifully lightened tone. The French excerpts go well, the Manon being particularly well characterised. If I say that Netrebko is her best self in the Tchaikovsky duet, that may sound like one of those penny-in-the-slot judgements of which one does well to beware: but it is so, and a most attractive self, too."
- John Steane, GRAMOPHONE

"...there’s something undeniably special here. Netrebko and Villazón deliver enough sheer charisma to justify the fuss." - BBC Music Magazine


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 (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
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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 by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Lucia, perdona..." 
3.
Rigoletto: E' il sol dell' anima by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Notes: This selection begins with "Giovanna, ho dei rimorsi..." 
4.
Roméo et Juliette: Nuit d'hyménée by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Notes: This selection begins with "“Va! je t’ai pardonné..." 
5.
Les pêcheurs de perles: Leïla! Leïla! Dieu puissant le voilà by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
Notes: This selection begins with "De mon amie..." 
6.
Manon: Toi! Vous!...N'est ce plus ma main by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1884; France 
7.
Luisa Fernanda: Cállate, corazón! Duèrmete y calla! by Federico Moreno-Torroba
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; Spain 
8.
Iolanta, Op. 69: Wondrous firstling of creation by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nicola Luisotti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Russia 

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