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Anna Netrebko - Opera
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
Gianni Schicchi
1. O mio babbino caro [2:47]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
La traviata
2. Libiamo ne’ lieti calici (Brindisi) [3:09]
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
3. Mĕsíčku na nebi hlubokém (Sont to the Moon) [5:04]
Jules MASSENET (1842–1912)
4. Suis-je gentile ainsi? … Obéissons, quand leur voix appelle [6:33]
La bohčme
5. Quando men vo (Musetta’s Waltz) [2:39]
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835)
La sonnambula
6. Ah! Non credea mirarti [4:48]
7. Ah! non giunge uman pensiero [2:36]
Giuseppe VERDI
La traviata
8. Parigi, o cara [4:24]
Charles GOUNOD (1818–1893)
9. Les grands seigneurs … Ah! je ris de me voir si belle (Jewel Song) [6:24]
Giuseppe VERDI
La traviata
10. Č strano! … Ah, fors’č lui … Follie! [4:53]
11. Sempre libera [3:35]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Don Giovanni
12. Crudele? … Non mi dir, bell’idol mio [6:34]
Giuseppe VERDI
La traviata
13. Un di felice, eterea … Ah, se ciň č ver [3:37]
Vincenzo BELLINI
La sonnambula
14. Elvino! E me tu lasci senza un tenero addio? … Sono geloso del zefiro errante [8:49]
Giuseppe VERDI
15. Ave Maria [5:11]
Bonus Track:
Vincenzo BELLINI
I Capuleti e I Montecchi
16. Eccomi … Oh! quante volte [3:48]
Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Rolando Villazón (tenor) (2, 8, 13); Saimir Pirgu (tenor) (6, 7, 11); Joseph Calleja (tenor) (14); Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor (2, 4), Coro Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi (6, 7), Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16), Wiener Philharmoniker/Carlo Rizzi (2, 8, 13), Gianandrea Noseda (3-5, 9, 12), The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Carlo Rizzi (14)
rec. Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, March 2003 (3-5, 9, 12);t Teatro Municipale Valli, Reggio Emilia, February and March 2004 (1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16); All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London, May 2005 (14), Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg, August 2005
Song texts and English translations included
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6344 [75:28]


On the front cover there is no sign of “the yellow label” logotype, which has been Deutsche Grammophon’s token at least since the beginning of the LP era. “A brand new recital disc with Anna Netrebko again!” one exclaims but it soon turns out that this is recycled material to cash in even more on their brightest shining star.

The majority of the content is culled from her first two solo discs: “Opera Arias” released in September 2003 (tr. 3-5, 9, 12) and “Sempre libera” issued in August 2004 (tr.1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15). For good measure there are three duets from the complete La traviata from Salzburg 2005 (2, 8, 13) and the long duet from La sonnambula from Joseph Calleja’s recital “The Golden Voice”, from the same year. As a bonus track (why bonus?) we get an aria from I Capuleti e I Montecchi, recorded at the sessions for the “Sempre libera” album, but as far as I could find, not released at the time. To heighten the mystery further there is no mention of the aria in the booklet, only on the back of the jewel case. All this is mixed in haphazard order. The booklet has a short text “All about Anna”, which of course it isn’t, and the sung texts with English translations – but not for the Capuleti aria, which is one of the least known items on this disc. Do I sound like a nit-picker? Probably, but I think some things could have been better done.

When it comes to what we actually hear I have no objections at all. Now in her mid-thirties and with an operatic career of close to fifteen years, she is at the zenith of her development. The stage experience and a natural affinity for acting paired with a voice that has lost nothing of its youthful timbre and has no audible scratches on the surface, vouch for unalloyed pleasure. For once when review listening I just leaned back and made very few notes on my pad, which normally is littered with comments.

Ransacking my memory and checking my pad I remember a lyrically beautiful O mio babbino caro, a largely unsentimental and simple Song to the Moon but with a deeper, tragic tone at the end. Very moving. Both her Manon and Marguerite are superb; complete recordings would be super. She is a glittering Musetta and her Amina in La sonnambula is inward and sung softly with the utmost beauty of tone. Violetta’s big aria that concludes the first act of La traviata is not from the complete recording but it feels live anyway. Here, as also briefly in the Sonnambula aria, we hear the clear, lyric tenor of Saimir Pirgu.

She is a regal Donna Anna and she sings Ave Maria from Otello with a wonderful soft legato. Just as wonderful is the soft playing of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The bonus aria also leaves nothing to be desired.

The four duets are valuable for the participation of two of the finest “new” tenors. Rolando Villazón is arguably the best tenor to have appeared since Domingo started his phenomenal career forty years ago. He has a voice that is uncannily similar to the young Domingo and he has such a rich supply of nuances that we have to go back even further, to singers like Gedda and Bergonzi, to find something comparable. Just listen to how superbly and naturally he caresses the phrases in Un di felice (tr. 13). On the next track Calleja shows the same ability to modulate his voice with wonderful pianissimo tone.

The playing of the orchestra is in every way worthy of the occasion, there are fine contributions from the two choirs and the sound is state of the art.

I can’t believe anybody buying this disc on impulse will be anything but overwhelmed by the glorious singing. You should however bear in mind that Netrebko sings just as magically on the tracks from her recital discs that are not included here; searching out those two would be even more recommendable. Add to this La traviata – there are highlights for those who don’t want the complete opera – and buy Joseph Calleja’s “The Golden Voice” and you are supplied with hours of the best singing in this genre that can be heard today.

Göran Forsling


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