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Anna Netrebko - Live At The Met

Release Date: 09/20/2011 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001598702  
Composer:  Vincenzo BelliniSergei ProkofievWolfgang Amadeus MozartGaetano Donizetti,   ... 
Performer:  Anna NetrebkoEkaterina SementchukDmitri HvorostovskyMariusz Kwiecien,   ... 
Conductor:  Patrick SummersValery GergievSylvain CambrelingMaurizio Benini,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ANNA NETREBKO LIVE AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA Anna Netrebko (s); various,cond; Metropolitan Op O & Ch DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON B0015987-02 (65:58 Text and Translation)

Arias and ensembles from BELLINI I Puritani. PROKOFIEV War and Peace. MOZART Don Giovanni. DONIZETTI Read more Don Pasquale. Lucia di Lammermoor. VERDI Rigoletto. GOUNOD Roméo et Juliette. OFFENBACH Les Contes d’Hoffmann. PUCCINI La Bohème

This latest CD release from soprano Anna Netrebko features highlights from her performances at the Metropolitan Opera. The cuts apparently are all taken from Met broadcasts or HD telecasts streamed to movie theaters. The production appears to be a win-win-win project for the opera house, the recording label, and, of course, Netrebko herself. The Met has gotten the publicity and the buzz surrounding the release of the CD, timed to coincide with Netrebko’s first season premiere at the house last September as Gaetano Donizetti’s regal Anna Bolena. The recording label, Deutsche Grammophon, has gotten all the musical material for a new Netrebko release without having to pay for a recording session or hire an orchestra, and the singer gets the publicity and the money from a recording that showcases some of her best roles.

The disc also celebrates the 10th anniversary of Netrebko’s career start at the Met, her early 2002 appearance as the Russian princess Natasha in Prokofiev’s War and Peace, when she was introduced to the house by her early mentor, conductor and impresario Valery Gergiev. In the booklet, Met general manager Peter Gelb relates the story of how, even before he took over the reins at the New York opera house, he pursued Netrebko to Vienna and then Salzburg to get her agreement to a long-term relationship with the Met. The Russian soprano has certainly not disappointed Gelb’s expectations; she along with, perhaps, Angela Gheorghiu, Renée Fleming, and Natalie Dessay have provided the Met with the major diva power that has put fannies in the seats over the past decade, and her current collaborations with the house show little sign of declining popularity. It is rumored on the street that Netrebko will complete Donizetti’s queen cycle at the Met in coming seasons singing leads in both Maria Stuarda and Roberto Deverieux as previous New York favorite Beverly Sills once did at New York City Opera.

Netrebko was already signed on for another Sills stunt, singing all the major female roles in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann . She wisely pulled back and sang only two of the roles, one of which, Antonia, appears here, in a duet with Hoffmann. That selection also illustrates another facet of this recording, the generous assistance Netrebko receives from other fine singers. Only five cuts are solo arias; the remainder are ensemble pieces of one type or another. The Prokofiev excerpt is a trio sung with Ekaterina Semenchuk and another Met favorite, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Netrebko’s voice in her first appearance sounds lighter, more the silvery young lyric, and the recorded sound is a bit distant and unfocused, as if the Met sound engineers were still getting their bearings. The cut from audience favorite Don Pasquale is the act III finale with Netrebko’s Norina accompanied by Mariusz Kwiecien, Simone Alaimo, and Juan Diego Flórez; Netrebko gets to demonstrate her comedic talents as well as her fine voice. Later comes a rather odd choice from Verdi’s Rigoletto , the act III trio with Sparafucile and Maddalena instead of one of Gilda’s better-known pieces, sung with Nancy Fabiola and Eric Halfvarson. The excerpt does allow the star soprano to show off her distinctive, dusky midrange and to add emotive colors to her characterization.

Netrebko sings a love duet with Roberto Alagna from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette , and another with Piotr Beczala from Puccini’s La Bohème , as well as the above-mentioned piece from Hoffmann with Joseph Calleja. Two more scenes, from Bellini’s I Puritani and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor , both recorded by Netrebko on previous releases, demonstrate her lovely, secure top range (and the famous glass harmonica) as well as her rather careful way with bel canto fioratura. Netrebko sings all the notes and doesn’t smudge, but she doesn’t go at it with quite the relish of Sills or Sutherland, or even Pons. Her strengths lie elsewhere, and they are amply on display: the velvet burnished tones, the hint of wild danger when on high, and the emotional depth and commitment she works to put into her roles. The other solo pieces heard include Zerlina’s simple little aria to the injured Masetto, Mimi’s sad goodbye aria from act III of La Bohème, and the potion aria from Roméo et Juliette . All are chosen wisely and well performed. The Met Opera Orchestra is peerless, as usual, with several conductors on the podium.

Some of the operas excerpted here are available in full with Netrebko on DVD, at the Met and elsewhere. The booklet contains texts and English translations along with photographs from all of the productions heard. Audio quality is excellent except for my minor reservation over the Prokofiev. The audience applauds but does not intrude on the singing. I am glad to have several Netrebko performances in my library, this one now included. Highly recommended.

FANFARE: Bill White
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Works on This Recording

I puritani: Qui la voce sua soave by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Patrick Summers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
War and Peace, Op. 91: I won't, I can't sleep by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Ekaterina Sementchuk (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Baritone)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943/1952; USSR 
Don Giovanni, K 527: Vedrai, carino se sei buonino by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
Don Pasquale: La moral' in tutto questo by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone), Simone Alaimo (Baritone), Juan Diego Flórez (Tenor),
Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Maurizio Benini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Italy 
Rigoletto: Ah, più non ragiono! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Eric Halfvarson (Bass)
Conductor:  Asher Fisch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Roméo et Juliette: Nuit d'hyménée by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Placido Domingo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Roméo et Juliette: Dieu, quel frisson by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Placido Domingo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Lucia di Lammermoor: Il dolce suono "Mad Scene" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Les contes d'Hoffmann: C'est une chanson d'amour by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Joseph Calleja (Tenor)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
La Bohème: Donde lieta uscì by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
La Bohème: O soave fanciulla by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 

Sound Samples

I Puritani / Act 2: Qui la voce sua soave
War And Peace, Op.91: Ya ne budu ... Duet: Kak solntze za garoi
Don Giovanni, ossia Il dissoluto punito, K.527 / Act 2: "Vedrai, carino"
Don Pasquale / Act 3: "Senz'andar lungi...La morale in tutto questo"
Rigoletto / Act 3: "Ah, più non ragiono!..."
Roméo et Juliette / Act 4: Nuit d'hymnénée!
Roméo et Juliette / Act 4: "Dieu! quel frisson" / "Amour, ranime mon courage"
Lucia di Lammermoor / Act 3: "Il dolce suono" - "Ardon gl'incensi"
Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Act 3: "Pourtant, ô ma fiancée" ... "C'est une chanson d'amour"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Donde lieta uscì"
La Bohème / Act 1: "O soave fanciulla"

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