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The Berlin Concert: Live From The Waldbühne / Domingo, Netrebko, Villazón

Domingo / Netrebko / Villazon / Dob / Armiliato
Release Date: 04/10/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000870409  
Composer:  Giuseppe VerdiFrancesco CilèaGiacomo PucciniJules Massenet,   ... 
Performer:  Placido DomingoAnna NetrebkoRolando Villazón
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This concert will take your breath away… many times over. From, perhaps, a “Three Tenors” inspired idea, spontaneously emerged a miraculously uplifting and inspiring musical event. These are not three performers trotted up on stage to put on a "crossover" show, but a showcase of three unbelievably talented and charismatic artists that are attractive in every way. By the time Rolando Villazon comes on for the first encore, you know you are experiencing a performer that absolutely, has it all. Most remarkably, this is a “must see” performance for both the classical aficionado, and most definitely, for the world at large. Sharing this with just the 20,000 in the
Read more stadium at the time was not nearly enough!

R E V I E W S:

"The Berlin Concert" is an absolute knock-out. Here we have three of today's major singers, all at the top of their form, incredibly responsive to each other, all having a fabulous time, as did the audience. This concert was given in the Waldbühne, an outdoor amphitheater in western Berlin, with a capacity of about 20,000. Tasteful amplification and large-screen TVs to permit the entire audience to hear and see the performers. Plácido Domingo and Rolando Villazón are casually dressed, Anna Netrebko ravishingly beautiful in varied costumes. High points of the program are a magnificent love duet from Otello, the big duet from The Pearl Fishers with Domingo (singing the baritone part) and Villazón, Netrebko's stunning "O mio babbino caro," and the Act I conclusion of La Bohème, with the dream duo Netrebko/Villazón. Excitement mounts as the program proceeds from one treasure to another, and the encores include Villazón's tremendously virile La danza, Domingo singing zarzuela, and Netrebko's Musetta. The concert ends with a thrilling "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" from The Land of Smiles, sung by all three, in which the interplay between the singers and the incredible singing!! are pure pleasure. While not labelled as high definition video, it easily could be, and surround sound could not be bettered—you are right there along with the cheering crowd. This is a DVD I will return to often. Get it!
Robert Benson, CLASSICAL CD REVIEW

Waldbühne (Stage in the forest) is an enormous outdoor arena, an amphitheatre in western Berlin, built in 1936 at the same time as the Olympic Stadium was erected. On the evening of 7 July 2006, two days before the World Cup final at the adjacent stadium, an audience of 20,000 gathered to see and hear three of today’s greatest opera singers in tremendous high spirits and vocal shape. Marco Armiliato and the Orchestra of Deutsche Oper opened the proceedings with a lively Nabucco overture. After that the first to enter the elegantly designed stage, with the well-known theme from the chorus Va pensiero as a contrasting middle section, was Plácido Domingo. He is casually dressed with open shirt collar, grey-bearded and today beginning to look his age but still singing phenomenally well – at 65! – with the intensity and involvement that have been his hallmark ever since he came to notice almost half a century ago. The voice is also remarkably unimpaired – he has to work harder and there is – at least in his first aria, Federico’s lament from L’Arlesiana – a slightly widened vibrato. But once he has warmed up – and I actually made the same comment recently when reviewing another outdoor concert with him at Wembley from 1987 – by and large his voice sounds much the same as it has done for at least the last 25 years. Experienced as he is, he never resorts to routine singing but goes wholeheartedly into his characters. This can be seen and heard in any number here, whether a song or an opera part, but the supreme example is undoubtedly the love duet from Otello, where every nuance, every inflexion, is so alive and deeply felt. He temporarily returns to his original voice pitch – he started as a baritone – in the duet from Les Pêcheurs de perles and in his solo in the quite extended Encores section he is deeply involved in what is possibly his favourite zarzuela aria¸ No puede ser from Sorozabál’s 1936 zarzuela La tabernera del Puerto. He sang it at Wembley in 1987 and I heard him sing it in Stockholm many years ago.

By his side two of the hottest singers in the new generation are in correspondingly superb shape. Hearing Rolando Villazon today is like being transported back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Domingo was at his sappiest. Villazon’s timbre is very similar to that of the young Domingo and he has the same engaging stage presence. His voice today rings out even freer at the top and he phrases with the utmost musicality. His first solo, the rarely heard aria from Massenet’s Le Mage has it all. Considering his slim constitution it is also a big-boned voice. In his solo encore, La danza, he sings and acts with such flair as making him a born entertainer. He is also a splendid actor and the Bohème duet with Anna Netrebko, shown mostly in close-ups, is both for acting and singing one of the most sensual and moving I have seen.

Sensual is also the word for Ms Netrebko, combining extremely good looks with lovely demeanour. Her seductive Meine Lippen sie küssen so heiss is a challenge to any operetta prima donna, present or past. She has a glorious voice, used with utter sensitivity. I have praised her singing in two recital discs recently; and she more than lives up to expectations here. O mio babbino caro is wonderfully nuanced, her Musetta is another seducer and the glimpse of her Violetta, famous from the Salzburg DVD, is also ravishing.

Maestro Armiliato and the orchestra give the singers a few minutes’ rest by playing a colourful Semiramide overture, where the wind players have a field day, and the strings soar warmly but without sentimentality in Mascagni’s eternal Intermezzo.

With three charming singing actors giving their audience a real treat, this concert is something to return to. We watched it on an evening when winter finally struck in Scandinavia and the temperature went down to -18º C, but after its 1½ hours duration it felt like Spring was approaching rapidly.

-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International

“This evening is the stuff of myth . . . Firebrand Villazón is the opera world's new seductive tenor, one who interprets everything with a wealth of colours and nuances yet still remains unpredictable. It's like love at first sight. A highlight of the evening is 'O soave fanciulla' from Puccini's La Bohème, during which Netrebko and Villazón move away from the mike towards the back of the stage, while continuing to sing almost casually. This duet reveals their vocal power, beauty, affection and passion - the audience is captivated and cheers. It does this often during the concert." -- Berliner Morgenpost, 9 July 2006


“20,000 people are seated in the amphitheatre in front of two giant screens and giant loudspeakers, viewing the artists on stage . . . millions more in a host of different countries experience a perfect TV gala by delayed live telecast . . . Netrebko demonstrates her virtues . . . The vibrant, sharply contoured voice is perfectly controlled even in the top register . . . Rolando Villazón possesses perhaps the most beautiful and flexible voice among the younger generation of tenor heroes." -- Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, 10 July 2006

“The greatest voices of their day came together again on Friday evening. They gave collectively of their best . . . His [Domingo's] vocal colours still meet the highest standards; his tones evince power and depth of feeling . . . It says much for him that he graciously shared the stage with his successor Villazón. Domingo's mere presence enchants an audience, as it can witness once again this wonder of the musical world . . . he still works his magic . . . Hardly anyone still disputes the potential of their voices, while their physical assets are beyond discussion. In her artistry, more than any other singer, Netrebko symbolizes the combination of skill, charisma and naturalness . . . Villazón is the perfect masculine counterpart. At times he can be the clowning Mexican, at others the tragic clown - by the end everyone has been touched by him. His eyebrow gestures alone can tell a story. Great opera needs protagonists like these." -- Welt am Sonntag, Berlin, 9 July 2006

“20,000 listeners thrilled by 3 super-voices . . . World-class vocal display precedes Word Cup final match: three star singers offer musical bonbons at Berlin's Waldbühne . . . The programme was - as one discerning listener put it - 'a pound of bonbons'. That's something to savour . . . The gifted tenor with the smouldering eyes and a real talent for comedy gave his all . . . In tandem with Anna Netrebko . . . he was on great form . . . Netrebko provided strong assistance. At first with shy, maidenly charm - but by the time she declared to Lehár's waltz music - with maximum conviction - that her 'lips kiss so hotly', and the three artists gave each other their mutual promise, “My heart is yours alone", the happiness of 20,000 listeners was complete." -- Hamburger Abendblatt, 10 July 2006

“The vocalism consistently stood out as superior. Grey-bearded Domingo at 65 remains a phenome¬non; with Netrebko . . . his love duet from Verdi's Otello stood up to what I vividly recall as his unforgettably powerful performance the inaugural night of the Los Angeles Music Center Opera about 20 years ago. His junior colleagues never lapsed vocally below their wonted high levels . . ." -- MusicalAmerica.com, 10 July 2006

“Gooseflesh at the 'Summit Meeting of the Stars'." -- Die Welt, Berlin, 8 July 2006

“They harmonized as though they've been appearing together forever."Gala, Hamburg, 13 July 2006“. . . unforgettable moments." -- Bunte, Munich, 13 Jul 2006

"The Berlin Concert" is an absolute knock-out. Here we have three of today's major singers, all at the top of their form, incredibly responsive to each other, all having a fabulous time, as did the audience. This concert was given in the Waldbühne, an outdoor amphitheater in western Berlin, with a capacity of about 20,000. Tasteful amplification and large-screen TVs to permit the entire audience to hear and see the performers. Plácido Domingo and Rolando Villazón are casually dressed, Anna Netrebko ravishingly beautiful in varied costumes. High points of the program are a magnificent love duet from Otello, the big duet from The Pearl Fishers with Domingo (singing the baritone part) and Villazón, Netrebko's stunning "O mio babbino caro," and the Act I conclusion of La Bohème, with the dream duo Netrebko/Villazón. Excitement mounts as the program proceeds from one treasure to another, and the encores include Villazón's tremendously virile La danza, Domingo singing zarzuela, and Netrebko's Musetta. The concert ends with a thrilling "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" from The Land of Smiles, sung by all three, in which the interplay between the singers and the incredible singing!! are pure pleasure. While not labelled as high definition video, it easily could be, and surround sound could not be bettered—you are right there along with the cheering crowd. This is a DVD I will return to often. Get it! -- Robert Benson, Classical CD Review
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Works on This Recording

1. Nabucco: Overture by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Italy 
2. L'Arlesiana: E la solita storia...Anch'io vorrei "Lamento" by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897/1937; Italy 
3. Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
4. Le mage: Ah! Parais! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1891; France 
5. Otello: Già nella notte densa by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Italy 
6. Carmen: Act 3 Prelude "Intermezzo" by Georges Bizet
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
7. Les pêcheurs de perles: Au fond du temple saint by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
8. Semiramide: Overture by Gioachino Rossini
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Italy 
9. Jurame by María Grever
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Mexico 
10. Giuditta: Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; Vienna, Austria 
11. Non ti scordar di me by Ernesto De Curtis
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Notes: Arr. Andreas N. Tarkmann 
12. La Bohème: O soave fanciulla by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
13. Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo by Pietro Mascagni
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
14. Vurria by Furio Rendine
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
15. West Side Story: Tonight by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
16. Les soirées musicales: no 8, La danza by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1830-1835; Italy 
17. La Bohème: Quando m'en vo' soletta "Musetta's Waltz" by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
18. La tabernera del puerto: No puede ser by Pablo Sorozabal
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Spain 
19. La traviata: Libiamo ne' lieti calici "Brindisi" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Placido Domingo (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
20. Das Land des Lächelns: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Placido Domingo (Tenor), Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marco Armiliato
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 

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