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Souvenirs / Anna Netrebko


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001221702   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Emmerich KálmánRichard HeubergerFranz LehárGustave Charpentier,   ... 
Performer:  Elina GarancaAnna NetrebkoPiotr BeczalaAndrew Swait
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague PhilharmoniaPrague Philharmonic Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



Netrebko and friends delight in this adventurous selection of lollipops

Any new Netrebko album these days is regarded as an event. But beware: to my mind the first few tracks of this recital are strained and find her in poor voice. Once she hits form, however, there is plenty here to charm and beguile. Across a wide repertoire, the Russian soprano is typically lustrous, her voice rich and dark-hued.

-- Gramophone [12/2008]

Unexpected delights, light but enjoyable and feel-good.

Anna Netrebko is one of my favourite sopranos; owner of a beautifully rich, voluptuous voice, with good acting skills and capable
Read more of expressive, extroverted performances, which always enchant audiences. She has it all - her artistic talent matched by her glamorous image and striking good looks. With this background, it is perhaps logical that her latest recorded recital, Souvenirs, centres on feminine glamour. This is immediately obvious from the packaging which features carefully staged photographs that showcase her beauty and sex appeal. Opening the CD case, it is obvious that this is a very “girlie” affair: all pink, with flowers and butterflies! The text of the CD booklet is in a florid, unnecessarily elaborate style where information about the music is sometimes lost amid the exaggerated praise. It gives the impression that not only should this album go unquestioned but also that one should be grateful that Netrebko decided to create it. This is supposedly - and I quote: “her most intimate recording ever”. With this work she is said to be following “... in the tradition of such opera luminaries as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Joan Sutherland and Plácido Domingo, all of whom produced acclaimed recitals of lighter music”. After all this, disappointment was beginning to set in and it was with some hesitation that I sat down finally to listen to the CD. However, as I did so, my mind began to change in its favour. This lavish compilation suits Netrebko’s lively personality and rich soprano tone to perfection. Souvenirs is pleasing, vivid and fun - sung with grace and joy. The choices are thoughtful and a great deal of care has gone into the performance of each piece, attempting to be faithful both to the composer’s possible intention and the language of the original text.

According to Netrebko’s own words this is a recital of pieces that are close to her heart and are often associated with a special memory. This is obvious from the start, as her singing clearly expresses enthusiasm, energy and mostly great warmth. We open with a show-stopper from Kálmán’s Die Csárdásfürstin, complete with mountain calls and gypsy-style tunes. She does a brilliant job. Her interpretation is full of life and passion. One can tell that she is relishing every note. This is followed by a very pleasant duet from Heuberger’s Der Opernball - one of the most enjoyable performances here. For this piece Netrebko teams up with excellent Polish tenor, Piotr Beczala. This duet was originally written for soprano and mezzo (in trousers role) but Netrebko has chosen to sing it with a male partner. The result is wonderful: their voices harmonise beautifully and their singing is full of expressive tenderness, love and heartfelt warmth.

Another highlight is Netrebko’s rendition of Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss from Lehár’s Giuditta, which is indeed hot and sounds flirty throughout. She is perhaps a bit patchy in Strauss’s Cäcilie; her singing Gimenez’s La tarantula... is not totally convincing and in Arditi’s Il bacio she is a little too slow. There are however a few especially beautiful moments in this recital. The first is the Barcarolle from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann where Netrebko joins forces with Latvian mezzo Elïna Garan?a, who has a truly gorgeous voice. Her beautifully clear tone combined with the Russian’s rich vocal colour is a particular pleasure: delicate and immensely romantic yet not sentimental. The second beautiful moment comes with Strauss’s Wiegenlied, expressively tender and sweet; and the third with Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu from his Requiem. Here Netrebko sublimely partners boy soprano Andrew Swait who has a pure but delightfully dark tone. The result is arguably one of the loveliest interpretations of this piece that I have ever heard. Finally, I must mention the two songs by Rimsky-Korsakov, which were specially orchestrated for this project. She captialsies on the opportunity with perfectly displayed high notes that are delicate yet powerful but never sound distorted or strident. Her expressive, easy and careful phrasing is present throughout but in particular during the wonderfully lyrical Solveig’s Song and Dvo?ák’s Songs my mother taught me - beautifully sung. To my mind, these are her best moments in the entire album.

Apart from showcasing Netrebko’s fabulous voice this recording is, I suppose, a self-indulgence. These pieces do not require such great effort (for her) and she obviously enjoys them. There is however another objective, which is to demonstrate the soprano’s talent for languages. Unfortunately this is not completely fulfilled. She does sing in a colourful variety of languages, including Latin, Yiddish and Andalusian dialect, however her diction is not always clear. Her vowels are on occasions sluggish, particularly in German and Italian. There is little distinction between her French and Norwegian and whether she is using Spanish or the Andalusian dialect is unclear unless one is specifically told. On some occasions, it was difficult to tell in which language she was singing without following the lyrics. I cannot really comment on Czech or Russian but, naturally enough she appears more relaxed and within her comfort zone.

The Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Prague Philharmonia under the insightful, sympathetic baton of Emmanuel Villaume give an excellent account of themselves throughout, clearly marking the individuality of each piece. They are full of feeling, lively or quietly delicate, as the situation demands, but never sentimental or overwhelming the singer. They perfectly cushion Netreko’s voice as well as that of her guests, contributing effectively to an overall pleasing effect, which is the dominant impression left by this recital.

Souvenirs turned out to be a colourful box of unexpected delights, effectively showcasing Netrebko’s beautiful voice. It lacks to my mind the elegance, quality and insight of her Russian Album, which is still her best to date. However, putting aside the excessively “girlie” packaging, this recital is a light but enjoyable and feel-good work from a singer with true star power. Opera-lovers may feel that there is some lack of depth or that this repertoire is not a real challenge for the soprano’s talent. Anna Netrebko’s fans on the other hand will almost surely run to add it to their collection.

-- Margarida Mota-Bull, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Die Csárdásfürstin: Heia, heia, in den Bergen by Emmerich Kálmán
Performer:  Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Der Opernball: Im chambre séparée "Midnight Bells" by Richard Heuberger
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
3.
Giuditta: Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4.
Louise: Depuis le jour by Gustave Charpentier
Performer:  Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; France 
Length: 5 Minutes 19 Secs. 
5.
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 2, Cäcilie by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
6.
Peer Gynt, Op. 23: no 18, Solvejg's Song by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874-1875; Norway 
Length: 5 Minutes 2 Secs. 
7.
Fortunio: Je ne vois rien...lorsque je n'etais qu'une enfant by André Messager
Performer:  Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
8.
Zigeunermelodien (7), Op. 55: no 4, Als die alte Mutter by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Bohemia 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 
9.
Lieder (5), Op. 41: no 1, Wiegenlied by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
10.
In spring, Op. 43: no 2, Not the wind, blowing from the heights by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Russia 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
11.
Songs (4), Op. 2: no 2, Enslaved by the rose, the nightingale by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
12.
Schlof sche, mein Vögele by Traditional
Performer:  Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
13.
Requiem: Pie Jesu by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor),
Andrew Swait (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
14.
L'enamourée by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
15.
La tempránica: Zapateado "La tarántula é un bicho mú malo" by Jerónimo Giménez
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
16.
Il bacio by Luigi Arditi
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
17.
La rosa y el sauce by Carlos Guastavino
Performer:  Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Argentina 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
18.
Les contes d'Hoffmann: Belle nuit, o nuit d'amour by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuel Villaume
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Giuditta (Lehár): "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss"
Zigeunermelodien (Dvorák): No 4: Als die alte Mutter
In Spring (Rimsky-Korsakov): No 2: Not the wind, blowing from the heights

Sound Samples

The Gypsy Princess / Act 1: Lied: "Heia, heia, in den Bergen ist mein Heimatland"
Der Opernball: Im chambre séparée
Giuditta / Act 4: Meine Lippen, die küssen so heiss
Louise / Act 3: "Depuis le jour"
Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Act 2: Barcarolle
Vier Lieder, Op.27: 2. Cäcilie
Peer Gynt, Op.23: Solveig's Song
Fortunio: L'orsque j'etais enfant
Gypsy Melodies, Op.55 - Instr. By Jiri Teml: 4. Kdyz mne stara matka
Fünf Lieder, Op.41: 1. Wiegenlied
'T Was Not the Wind, Op.43, No.2 - Orchestrated By Andreas N. Tarkmann
Captivated By The Rose (The Nightingale), Op.2, No.2 - Orchestrated By Andreas N. Tarkmann
Schlof sche, mein Vögele - Orchestrated By Friedrich Meyer
Requiem: Pie Jesu
L'enamourée - Orchestrated By Andreas N. Tarkmann
La rosa y el sauce
La Tempranica: Nş 2 Tiempo de zapateado "La tarántula e un bicho"
Il Bacio

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