Cher Public

Running out of adjectives

“Queen Anna is dead — long live Queen Anna! The late royal lady is Anna Bolena in Donizetti’s 1830 opera, based on the final days of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. The new monarch — ruling not over England but the Met — is Anna Netrebko, whose radiant performance at the company’s opening night Monday catapulted her to ‘prima donna assoluta’: undisputed superstar.” [New York Post]

  • Haimes

    I really feel compelled to comment here. I listend to the webstream on Monday and in general was very pleased with this moving performance. I have seen the Wien production on DVD many times and truly loved it. From my perspective, Anna sounded a little weary by the time “Coppia” came around and she did a very commendable job. I commend JJ for taking a bold, but measured stance on this one. At the moment, Anna seems well assured, keeps upping the anty and is always adding to her skill set and repetoire. She is a gorgeous woman, stage animal with a rich slavic voice who can let high notes soar, great chest voice and sing pp effectively. Yes, I heard some notes that were a bit off-pitch, but on balance who cares except the purists. Afterall this is a voice, challenging to control and always a work in progress. I will ultimately judge for myself on the 15th of October, but for now Brava to Anna. She seems to have easily surpassed her peers with elegance and grace. BTW, her interview showed that she carefully analyzes the character, historical context and listens carefully to masters of the past, e.g. Gencer, Callas and Sills. She indicates that others have indeed transposed notes in the score to augment their own capabilities. I give her credit for the beautiful chest voice that is not strained. I will say however that I preferred Garanca, but her voice can be chillingly monotonous in tonal quality at times. Garanca does however have a great range and has sung with Netrebko on many occasions to great benefit (I Capuletti) and many concerts.

    If Armillato is to be faulted, he appears to take it easy on the singers, working with them religiously rather than playing to abandon as Levine did in Don Pasquale. I like Armillato and hope that he improves after he reviews the critiques.

    Netrebko’s gown shows that she is far from Zaftig! The costumes here do not do much for her figure at all. My wife also agrees that we both enjoyed (preferred) the Wien production with Evelino Pido and Garanca, but will keep an open mind. I do think this is a work in progress and any holding back by Ms. Netrebko may be attributable to opening night jitters. Let the games carry on. As for Mr. Netrebko aka Schrott, the hair is a stupid way to gain attention. He is a one act show -- Don Giovanni. The Queen deserves much better. I hope he does break her heart or get her pregnant again.

    This is great drama -- a kudo for the MET, and maybe in some sense an improvement, but lets move on with better (less drab staging and lighting). I have always been bothered by this.

    We are all entitled to our opinions -- but for me lets continue to enjoy opera and Anna for years to come. There does not seem to be any real competition at the moment. While Meade may sing “better” in bel canto repetoire, her acting ability and physique are at best untested and challenging.

    Long live the queen and carry-on JJ- Job well done. Happy and Healthy New Year to friends of the Jewsih faith

  • Clita del Toro

    marshiemark, dear: Thanks.

    I do love Behrens and am glad that she turned you on to Netrebko. I guess we all hear things differently. I don’t find Netrebko’s singing that appealing, and there is nothing to be done about that. I find her voice very beautiful at times—e strano. Loved her pp.’s and tops in Bolena.

    • marshiemarkII

      Yes Clita dear, but it wasn’t Behrens who turned me onto Netrebko. That conversation took place three years ago. It really was Netrebko who tuned me onto Netrebko, with her glorious singing on Monday. Hugs to you!

      • Clita del Toro

        I guess I misunderstood your post. Sorry.

  • Grimoaldo:

    I absolutely love your defense of the “forgiveness of the executioner(s)” for the text of Anna B’s and Maria S’s final statements! Bravo! Excellent job.

    But I take issue with your remarks about their being “British” women. The nationality did not exist in their lifetimes and both would have rejected the attribution. Anne was an Englishwoman; Mary a Scot (but raised and educated in France). Nor did the playwrights from whom Donizetti’s libretti were devised have the faintest idea what went on among the (by that time) British upper class ladies, whatever Merchant-Ivorocity we wish to impose on them long, long, long after the fact.

    They’re not Brits. Between Boudicca and 1701, NOBODY was a Brit.

    • grimoaldo

      Thanks for kind words. Yes I take your point about “British”.

  • Alto

    NEWSWEEK on Anna: JJ is not the only one who’s out of adjectives.

  • Buster
  • manou