Cher Public

All about Anna

Yes, yes, La Cieca realizes that parterre has gone “All Anna All the Time,” but, hey, she’s opening the Met season in a company premiere, plus we like her. Anyway, La Netrebko is profiled, covered, revealed, reported, what she eats and when and where, whom she knows and where she was and when and where she’s going—and besides that a teensy moment of tsurris with a corset, all in the Sunday Times cover story by Zachary Woolfe.

  • messa di voce

    “For “Devereux” she thought her voice had grown too heavy, and for “Stuarda” it was still too light”


    Can that be fixed by Sunday?

  • Making sure that Meade gets an orchestra rehearsal is a classy touch by Anna. One could say that she did it for sake of the newspaper interview but I have a feeling she would have done that regardless.

    • Gualtier M

      Kashania, I was present at the one performance given by Lyubov Petrova as Netrebko’s cover/alternate in “Don Pasquale”. Netrebko was there in the artist’s box on the sides dressed to the nines screaming brava and giving Petrova big thumbs up signs where everyone in the audience could see her. She definitely is a generous woman -- it didn’t come off as phony and a publicity stunt. She was genuinely enthusiastic and supportive. I love her.

      Now Parterre insiders dish me -- why is Lyubov Petrova no longer at the Met? To make room for Dancin’ Danielle or is there a nastier story? She was a wonderful Cleopatra at Glimmerglass a few years ago.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Anna Netrebko is known to be generous to her fellow singers, paraising and never speaking ill of them.

    • Well… all her colleagues are superior to her… don’t confuse honesty with generosity.

    • Tenorfach

      Please don’t confuse clever politics with being generous. I have seen and experienced quite the opposite -- mean and down right cruel.

      The sooner she “gets tired” of singing the better.


  • Camille

    Thanks for the link. All Anna all the time is fine with me.

    Glad to know that Scotto had a hand in this. After mention was made yesterday of her being in the auditorium I had suspected suchand am glad to have suspicion confirmed.

    Above all, glad to know Anna is still a bargain couture shopper!! I can still remember a fun article about her from ten years ago about the cashmere sweaters at Filene’s Basement.

    Thanks to Anna for the Lanvin tip, and lastly, SO glad to know the Century 21 has opened at Lincoln Center as I don’t have the heart to go down to the old one anymore.

    • Gualtier M

      Actually I work quite close to the one across from the WTC site. There also was one on 86th Street in Bay Ridge Brooklyn where I lived in the early 1990’s. My late father lived in Morristown New Jersey where there also was a Century 21. Now Lincoln Center -- are they following me around?

      • DonCarloFanatic

        I used to shop at the one on 86th St, but don’t remember it having anything particularly upscale. It must have grown in more ways than one.

  • La Valkyrietta

    I’m too lazy to read all that is written on Trebs, she’s no Audrey Hepburn :), but today I faced the typhoon and hit the Met Box Office. I was so glad to get Orchestra tickets for Monday, and I managed not to be sent to the back of the orchestra, and the price was not as outrageous as I feared, and I never had to go near a scalper. As Vivien Leigh used to say, “sometimes there is God, so quickly”. Oh well, “Another opening, another show…” I know she will not be to die for in the Coppia iniqua, but she will be affecting in many places. It will be exciting for me to get a live Donizetti fix. And, who knows? Maybe Anna will surprise us all and be more fabulous than we expect.

  • It’s nice to know she’s less enthusiastic about singing now. I wouldn’t have guessed she could care less. Enough Anna… ugh…

    After Caballe passes away, I think I’m giving up opera. Scotto? Puhlease!

    • Let’s hope that Mme Caballe lives a long time so the current opera scene can continue to benefit from your enthusiasm.

  • I wasn’t able to get opening night tickets, but I will be going Oct. 3. Will anyone else be there that night?

  • m. p. arazza

    “She made her Met debut the same year, in Prokofiev’s ‘War and Peace,’ but then sang only supporting roles with the company for a time.

    In 2004 and 2005 Peter Gelb, who had recently been named the Met’s next general manager, went to Austria, where he saw Ms. Netrebko in Donizetti’s ‘Elisir d’Amore’ in Vienna and Verdi’s ‘Traviata’ in Salzburg . . . He broached the idea of making her the star of the Met . . .” — Woolfe

    The “supporting roles” were: Zerlina (2003) and Musetta (2004).

    I know this is a small point, but to identify these only as “supporting roles” seems a bit disingenuous and serves to give the impression that Mr. Gelb came in and plucked her out of the chorus or something.

    (He can surely be credited with showcasing her, but was he already responsible for booking her for Gilda [2005], Norina [2006], Donna Anna [Japan, 2006]? I don’t know -- if so, he deserves that credit too, but the article doesn’t tell us.)

    • I think that in the context of a star career, Musetta and Zerlina are arguably “supporting” roles. Neither one gets the final prima donna bow, for example.

      What Gelb can claim credit for was planning the most recent several seasons of Netrebko roles, definitely a diva’s repertoire. Admittedly Netrebko did not follow through on every one of these projects (notably Violetta) but that’s not directly attributable to Gelb’s planning.

    • armerjacquino

      There’s a direct correlation with Gheorghiu here- she had sung Zerlina at CG before she came ‘from nowhere’ to star as Violetta in the Eyre TRAVIATA.

      On a not-really-related note, wasn’t Zerlina seen by the Victorians as the prima donna role in DG? I’ve never really understood that.

      • MontyNostry

        Well, Kathy Battle sang Zerlina, so it must be the prima donna role and the one to get the prima donna dressing room. I’m sure Carol Vaness would agree with Kathy all the way on that one.
        (That being said, that I do think Susanna has to work much harder than the Contessa and deserves prima donna status -- and the wedding is hers too.)

      • Yes, I’m remember discussing that here a while back. I can see people debating whether Anna or Elvira is the leading lady but Zerlina? Don’t understand it myself.

        As for Gelb and Netrebko. She was definitely on a star path at the Met with increasingly high-profile engagement. What Gelb has done is continue that progression. But he should be given credit for trying to maximise on her star potential. Though they didn’t pan out, casting her as all the Hoffman heroines and Violetta (opening on NYE no less) were the moves of a man with an astute sense of star power. That goes double for opening the season with a new production of a major diva vehicle (hopefully to be followed by Roberto Devereux in a subsequent season). And there is already excitement building for the her Tatiana that will open the Met’s season in a couple of years. Yes, these are smart moves by Gelb.

      • Camille

        That is an interesting point. Wasn’t there a production with either Patti or Christine Nilsson featured in the “and STARRING AS ZERLINA, Miss xyz”. I can’t remember the artist or place I read it but I do remember mention of this fact as it really surprised me.

        Further, Zerlina is a Zwischenfach as she is sung by mezzos and lyric soubrettes. Physique du role, I guess.

        Armerjacq, would you please tell me the exact meaning of the word “Cor”, as you have used it from time to time. It intrigues me greatly. Incidentally, I owe ‘gobsmacked’ to you! A word I love! Tksm

        • armerjacquino

          ‘Cor’ doesn’t mean anything, I’m afraid, it’s just an exclamation.

          It’s short for ‘Cor Blimey’ which back in the day was a corrupted London version of the oath ‘God blind me’, but would often be used as safe thing for respectable children to say in 1940s and 50s children’s stories, to denote surprise (often delighted surprise).

          I quite like some of those old-fashioned expressions: I overuse the word ‘smashing’, too.

          • Camille

            Well, see, “Cor blimey” DOES mean something after all, and I surely did not know that history of this expression. I do like these old phrases and only encounter some in the movies of the thirties, forties, and fifties, and I imagine they are dying out, just as the authentic New Yawker accent is becoming less pronounced. In the outer boroughs you may still here it, but it has become a CNN or BBC world we are living in where speech is so much more standardized.

            Smashing, and brilliant, and massive are all expressions I’ve heard young English persons use in the last decade or so. Anyways, thanks and keep on using these expressions as I like them! Specially gobsmacked, which is descriptive of my entire life.

          • MontyNostry

            Camille, how about ‘wicked’ to mean ‘excellent’? As in the phrase of approbation: “That’s well wicked”.

          • Camille

            Oh yes, Sir Monty, “Wicked good” has even caught on here in the States. Like the Netherlandish word “lekker” which could be applied to almost anything as an enhancer.

            Anything to get kids away from saying “Cool” or “Kewl” twenty-four hours a day, is fine with me. Or “hot” and “HAWT”, and “That’s AMAZING!”, which even old guffers use all the time, too.

      • As Ivy points out below, Patti and some of the other star light sopranos of the 19th century found Zerlina a very grateful vehicle. The 20th century attitude toward Don Giovanni is (in a very broad sense) based on the German tradition, where Donna Anna is firmly considered the most important female role. In a Fach-driven theater, Anna is your star dramatic, Zerlina your star light soprano or soubrette, and Elvira is whoever else is not busy that night, or else someone who owes the conductor a favor.

        • By the same token, one could say star sopranos like Schwarzkopf and Te Kanawa also turned Elvira in the lead role, though not to the degree that Patti was able to with Zerlina.

          But I agree with LC’s observation about fach-driven casting resulting in Donna Anna as the leading lady of the piece.

        • DurfortDM

          I am loath to challenge the Doyenne and simultaneously reveal my complete ignorance of tradition and style but, with all due respect, fuck Donna Anna. I find Elvira’s music more attractive, her character more interesting, developed and compelling. Further, though I do not, of course, dispute La C’s assertion with respect to historical attitudes I have always been inclined to view Elvira as a prima donna role. Perhaps this is also the case because, as Kashie notes, it has, at least since the middled of the 20th century often been taken people like Schwarzkopf and Te Kanawa but also people like della Casa and Jurinac and, more recently (though too early for me to have seen them in the role live, alas) Mattila and Fleming, among others (a bit earlier Varady).

          My enthusiasm for Elvira might also be influenced by the fact that Elviras tend to sing repertoire I find particularly appealing, e.g. Countess, Fiordiligi, Elsa, Eva, Marschallin, Arabella, Fidelio Leonore, Desdemona, Amelia (Boccanegra, Elisabetta, etc. Your basic full lyric come jugendlische-dramatische, the fach the above mentioned ladies exemplify with especial excellence. Plus some cute Mezzos Anna’s by contrast range all over the place from some of the same to hoch-dramatisch to coloraturas, anything from Brunnhilde to QoN (e.g. Nilson, Eaglen, Damrau, Kuzak, etc..)

          Its obviously way more complicated than that. Grummer (who otherwise fits the former fach perfectly was a famous Anna and any number have sung both (e.g. the same Mattila and Fleming -- moreover in their Primma Donna phase -, Frittoli, Vaness, Dasch, among others).

          Finally, I recently asked a reasonably celebrated soprano of my acquaintance (over 50 performances at the Met, I think, and frequent appearance at all the other major houses) who has sung both, which she preferred and she expressed in very emphatic and extended fashion her preference for Elvira.

          • DurfortDM

            And, yes, THE PD of the moment, Trebsky herself, had a bit of a coming out party with Anna at Salzburg in 2002 (which I was fortunate enough to attend, though of course I’d seen her at the Met earlier that year) and will, fortunately, I think, sing the role in 3 productions this year, including to open La Scala.

          • Camille

            Orrore!!!!!! F_____k Donn’Anna?
            Are you actually Don Giovanni in disguise??

          • MontyNostry

            It helps that Elvira is the only character in Don G who is in any way sympathetic. My view Donna Anna is a manipulative bitch, driven by guilt because she was actually enjoying whatever Giovanni was doing to her. She’s all ‘Me, me, me’, whereas Elvira is generous and has compassion, even if she is a little loopy.

          • A. Poggia Turra

            Speaking of Donna Annas, I just returned from the new Hamburg Don Giovanni by Doris Dörrie -- van den Heever, praised by the Financial Times hack, was competent, no more, no less. The star of the evening was a young tenor from Turkmenistan, Dovlet Nurgeldiyev, who sang a world-class Ottavio -- what a stunning beautiful voice, and the best part is that he knows how to use it. He even did some decorations. Will write more on the production later.

          • Camille

            Vous avez raison, M. Monty. Of course she is guilty; it’s what drives all that “Vendetta”. That’s why her “let’s wait a year to get married” to povero scemo Ottavio always gets such a big laugh from the audience. We all know she’s been using him and will find a way out of that marriage.

            Elvira IS loopy, good word to describe her, but she at least believes herself to have been married to him. Maybe then more justified in her pursuit? I am very interested to see what Barbara Frittoli does with the role as I saw/heard her sing Anna (very well with a very long phrasing line) some years back and will enjoy to see her Elvira. I do so hope she’s just not out of voice and hence the switch. I saw poor Vaness somewhere near the end of the line singing Elvira, and it was saddening to hear her, once a really fine Donn’Anna, reduced to barely making it in the higher tessitura of Elvira’s not very high tessitura.

            I have to go wash my bathroom floor.

          • DurfortDM


            I believe Frittoli was the Donna Anna to the Elvira of Vaness in that Dong G run (January 2003, Hvorostovsky as the Don) and yes Vaness performance was most unfortunate. As a big fan I felt rather bad for her. (Of course they had a second cast immediately following with Mattei, Furlanetto doing what I believe was his last Leporello and very much on the subject of this thread, Trebs as Zerlina -- Abdrakazov as Masetto, I believe). I just love a double cast of a Da Ponte opera in immediate succession. Proximate comparisons are most edifying or at the very least a lot of fun.

            I must confess Frittoli’s Elvira is for me the most interesting piece of casting. She sang her here in 2009. I went to 2 performances and she was terrible in Act I and superb in Act II of the first and vice versa in the second. It’d be really nice if she could pull it together for both. I have since heard her do exceptionally well as the
            Countess so we shall see.

            I’m afraid the rest of the cast doesn’t excite me. I like Pisaroni and Kwiecien but in respect of the casting I’d definitely take La Scala, (Mattei, Terfel, D’Arcangelo plus Trebs as DA). Berlin with Trebs and hubby as Leporello might also be fun.

          • Camille

            Mr. Durfort,

            I am not exactly certain where this will show up and must, per force, be alla breve.

            Yes, that is the performance I am speaking of. I felt very badly for Vaness as well as after her distinguished performances in Mozartean roles over a long period, I am sure she was distressed and knew what she was doing was not up to her former level. Hvorostosky was either having a very bad night or else he doesn’t do that part so well as he might. I was not pleased. I WAS very pleased by the Don G. Of Peter Mattei, whom I subsequently heard sing. I had as yet not heard of him and was rather surprised at how he so far exceeded Hvorostosky! I did not remember anymore that La Netrebko sang Zerlina, either!

            Anyway, thank you for alerting me as to the variable nature of Frittoli’s Elvira; I was unaware she had sung it before @ MET. I find that when she is good she is very good and when she is bad she’s bad. I’d much rather have that in a singer than a rounded mediocre sameness. Let us hope she’ll be good most of the time!

            I do wonder how Kwiechen will handle the role, a rather tricky one, more acting than singing, really. I almost prefer Leporello and have hummed along with “Madamina” countless times. An aria, which I, as a woman, should find horrifying, instead find to be delightful.

            Until next we meet! I find your ideas of Elvira thought-provoking. She may be played many ways, however she was meant to be a buffer between the noble pair and the common Volk pair and bounces off both. Wherein does she find her point of equilibrium? There’s the rub!
            “Misera Elvira! Che contrasti d’affetto!”

        • Camille

          Cieca honey,
          Elvia was a “di mezzo carattere” personage as I recall rightly, in the original. Supposedly someone who is ein halb mal lustig, ein halb mal traurig. Of course, old Camille could be wrong. Anna was the main protagonista and I am guessing Zerlina was a soubrette e basta?

          • DurfortDM


            Normally “Voglio far il gentiluomo, e non voglio piu servir, but in this case I’m rather inclined to be jealous of Leporello, in part because of his scenes with Elvira. I always like a production where during the Catalogue he “makes advances” toward her (though he does not, of course, invariably treat her with the *respect* she (arguably) deserves. Also the scene in Act II, where he’s disguised as the Don and makes a more or less convincing pass at her I’m alway looking for him to follow up. Of course, rather disappointingly, he never does, and indeed the scene ends in rather embarrassing fashion for everyone and Leporello himself makes a very narrow escape.

    • atalaya

      Maybe “supporting roles” isn’t the right term but Zerlina and Musetta aren’t the major roles. They can’t be labeled “minor roles” either of course (like Barbarina could.)

      As another example, Isabel Leonard has sung Stephano, Zerlina, Cherubino, and Dorabella at the Met. When she sings Rosina next week, I’d consider that her major role debut.

      • Zerlina was a favorite role of Adelina Patti’s and when she sang, her husband made sure her billing was always larger than anyone else in the cast.

  • Ann sings “Gliere Concerto for Coloratura Soprano” from 2003. All I can say is WOW! I’m a little high(ahem) now, but this is Gorgeous.

    • MontyNostry

      Very nice, but are there any trills involved?

  • zinka

    Can Anna do anything like this??You be the GIUDICI!!!!!

  • operalover9001

    Who IS this asshole?

    “This, given the formal COMMANDOpera review of Miss Netrebko’s sensational debut as Anna Bolena at the Wiener Staatsoper on April 2nd. 2011. The COMMANDOpera review was immediately quoted throughout the world of Opera within moments of going live by other venues, and is considered the definitive, gold standard review of that evening.

    In an article written on July 12 2010 COMMANDOpera drily noted: “The Metropolitan audience who applaud even banal performances wildly, cannot be counted on to do so this time. There are effete knives out for Miss Netrebko in certain quarters of the city to make certain she will NOT be favourably compared to Miss Callas. COMMANDOpera objects strenuously to this irrational behaviour, given Miss Netrebko has yet to essay the role and should be judged on the merits of her performance that evening.” For those 10 or so individuals who comprise the sole regular contributorship of a New York gossip blog, please continue to maintain your positioning there. Regardless of how gossip is cloaked, COMMANDOpera is not interested. Such drivel does not merit the respectability immediately confered upon a reader simply by being granted appearance in the COMMANDOpera comment section.”

    • Nerva Nelli

      Effete Knives!

      (I’ll buy a set…)

    • Camille

      Effete knives are used as dessert knives for very elaborate Vienna table desserts and other such refined French patisserie delicacies. I have a set myself and only use them upon occasion, like when I am entertaining the Queen or queens.

      Yeah, commando guy is trippin’.