Cher Public

Red letter day

“Her letter scene was glorious, and her final meeting with Onegin beguiling. Netrebko leaves nothing to be desired vocally and is a consummate artist as well. She has joined the list of the greatest interpreters of this role and is a gift to the world of opera.” That’s what Der Kurier had to say about Anna Netrebko‘s role debut as Tatyana last Friday night, and now you, cher public, can get a sense of what all the fuss was about.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The orchestra is surprisingly a little ragged in spots and Andris Nelsons does not help to make this total magic for the audience. One cannot really judge from this compressed sound, but the way they are being led to play some of Tchaikowsky’s signature instrumental writing makes it all sound less romantic than it should be. Netrebko, of course, can only grow with more performances.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • louannd

    I would so love to hear another Donna Anna again. I hope she hasn’t given up that role.

  • She does not disapoint, but what highjschool band is accompanying her? Sweet jesus! I’m not sure if it is the sound or the location of the microphone but they do not sound good, and the conductor is not much to write home about either; he left her out to hang.

    • spiderman

      I guess it’s the bloody second class vienna philharmonic orchestra

      i hope somebody will complain about her horrible russian diction -- totally looking forward :))

      • Regina delle fate

        Spiderman. It’s not their rep. I heard a terrible VPO Solti-conducted Tchaik 5 at the Festival Hall years ago at the RFH, and an even worse Pathetique conducted by Gergiev and this is a revival, so minimal, if any, rehearsal. And maybe they haven’t yet “clicked” with Nelsons. He’s a talent, but like all youthful talents, in grave danger of being overhyped. Dudamel, anyone?

      • messa di voce

        What’s in the pit at the VSO frequently has very little over-lap with the VPO, and playing like this is not unusual.

    • Nerva Nelli

      So why is it Andris Nelsons gets rave reviews? Youthfulness seems to be enough for Tony T.

      I found him unimpressive in TURANDOT and QUEEN OF SPADES at the Met…

      • Belfagor

        a friend of mine assisted Nelsons on ‘Salome’ and noticed that he fixated on the orchestra and never breathed with or considered the singers -- in marked contrast to Pappano. Only hearsay but a story from the coal face……..

        • oedipe

          I’ll bet you 1000$ (or 1000€, if you prefer) that Nelsons will “consider the singers” at the VSO this coming Friday!

      • Camille

        I didn’t care for his SPADES at ALL!

        Flat as a pancake.

  • Talk of the Town

    Some clips and brief interviews with Netrebko and Hvorostovsky. For extra fun, turn on Youtube’s beta “translate captions” feature.

  • CwbyLA

    At the expense of being banned from this blog, i find Renee Fleming’s singing of the Letter Scene superior to this version by Netrebko. I think Fleming captures the emotions of the moment better than her. Of course my impression may have to do with the not so great recording and the pedestrian accompaniment by the orchestra. I like Netrebko very much and will definitely see this in the Met HD though. I am sure she will bring numerous insights to this iconic role.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Well I happen to find that this might be Netrebkos best role. Having a singer sing in the native language is very often a benefit and the role fits her to a T. Plus her sound is more suited to the music than Flemings leaner sound.

      • oedipe

        Having a singer sing in the native language is very often a benefit

        Oh, but that’s so passé, don’t you think?

        • Passe, but true :). And, IMHO, quite obvious in this clip. One of the reasons I cant stand Fleming’s Tatiana is her Russian; it’s not bad, but she always seems to work very hard to get the words right, and as a result, no time’s left for the rest. No such problem with Netrebko, obviously. Still, the orchestra is awful, and by moments it plays so quickly that she “eats up” the endings of the words, like in the phrase “wsia zhizn moia byla zalogom” -- the final m is inaudible, or missing, and she “jumps” further. anyway, in the best tradition of Parterre, I’ll say that no one will ever equal Vishnevskaja in this role, no matter what.

          • Camille

            Liana, thank you for weighing in on the Russian diction/pronunciation. It always seemed to me that in the Rusalka, as well, there were a lot of vocal accommodations going on with both she and Heppner, when compared to the diction of the Foreign Princess, a native speaker, or at least Slavic or thereabouts in origin—her name escapes me at the moment. It would seem that Americans and other stranieri have a rough time with some of those brrrrrrr sounds and tend to make vowels overly Italianate or broad, or something. It is a far leap, for most singers, almost as much the same leap to get adequate French nasal sounds.

            Oh well, what does it matter.

            Hoping spring will come soon in beautiful Poland. I just recently bought a movie entitled CHOPIN, Desire for Love, directed by Jerzy Antczak and starring Piotr Adamczyk as F. Chopin and Danuta Stenka as George Sand, and I loved every beautiful minute of it! Anyway, Chopin’s music is always springtime for me, I love him so much!

          • Camille, I liked that film too. One of my dreams is to look as good as Stenka when Im her age :). I think the diction problem can be compared with the one slavs have with the english accent; to get English diction right is pretty much immpossible for most of us, mostly the accent is “hard” and immediately identifyiable as Eastern. :). the other way round, it always seems to me as if Slavic vowels grew bigger and bigger and had to be spit out of the mouth of most singers :)

        • CwbyLA

          Certainly oedipe although i remember we had a discussion about this topic a while ago on parterre. I don’t remember all the details but I remember that someone quoted a singer who said something along the lines of everybody expecting the singers to sing well in their native language but that often times the singers are not trained to sing in their native language. The singer was trying to draw a distinction between knowing/speaking the language in every day life and singing in that language.

          • oedipe


            This topic comes back regularly, doesn’t it.
            Actually, it’s a complicated issue and I gave a whole spiel about it not long ago on Parterre.

            What you and the singer you quoted are referring to is DICTION. Many singers have a lousy diction, even in their native language. Conversely, you don’t have to be a native speaker in order to sing with a good diction.

            But there are two other aspects of language involved here: PRONUNCIATION and INTONATION. There isn’t all that much non-native speakers can do about pronunciation: they will always sound foreign, no matter what.

            Now, intonation is something that few singers ever worry about, although some pick it up intuitively, although it is THE aspect of language that enables a singer to sound idiomatic. Intonation is very important, though it’s more of an issue in some languages than in others. Here is why.

            Among the sung languages there are two main types: stress-timing languages and syllable-timing languages. Germanic languages (English, German, etc.) are “stress timed”. Latin languages (French especially) are “syllable timed”. What this means, basically, is that in French all syllables are (or sound) of equal length and intonation is based on the inflection of utterances. This is very different from English or German, where there are stresses on syllables and utterance intonation is therefore “dynamic”.

            In the case of Italian opera, bel canto especially, the text is relatively secondary; what counts most is the beauty and resonance of the sound the singer produces.

            In German opera the text is quite important. Fortunately, speakers of all Germanic languages, not just German, have a certain ease at picking up a German intonation, because their native intonation is similar to German.

            In French opera the text is essential. French culture has an OBSESSION with language. The music is subservient to the intonation (and the meaning) of the language. A native speaker may have a lousy diction when singing, but s/he has no need to learn the native intonation. Some non-native French singers have a knack and acquire the right intonation (Gedda, Keenlyside, etc.); most DON’T. But since idiomatic singing seems to be passé, at least in top opera houses, nobody gives a damn nowadays.

            Incidentally, as Liana once remarked, Polish has an intonation structure that’s very similar to French and Italian. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Beczala sounds more idiomatic in French opera than all the other non-native tenors in the top echelon.

          • oedipe

            Gee, I need an editor!

          • MontyNostry

            oedipe, I heard belatedly last week that Veronique Gens had given an all-French recital in London (Duparc, Poulenc, Debussy -- lovely repertoire) and I regretted missing it, though she is not a singer I have ever found especially interesting. I then had a listen to her on YouTube singing ‘Les chemins de l’amour’ and, once again, I found her French to be almost completely lacking any magic. I think Felicity Lott does a better job, though she is always un peu Anglo-Saxonne.

          • oedipe


            Gens is a great singer with a lot of “class”. I prefer less “classy” myself. Tout feu tout flamme, like Alagna, or Yoncheva, or Julie Fuchs. As for FLott, she is honorary French, as you probably know.

    • antikitschychick

      while AN undoubtedly accomplishes some lovely singing/phrasing and thrilling high notes in the above clip, and having noted that this was her first ever essay of the entire role on stage I tend to agree with your assessment CwbyLA, although I think its more a question of color and the weight of AN’s voice which I find too dark and heavy in parts for this role, although she does a very formidable job of lightening it at pivotal moments, at full throttle she needs heavier support than what the orchestra provides here…and the orchestra sounds underwhelming throughout…hope they improve as the run continues…
      and yes she looks very beautiful in the photo…looking forward to the Met HD.

  • damianjb1

    Is it just me or does she sound a tiny bit like Mirella Freni?

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I’ve always thought that about Netrebko. It’s a predominance of hard palate focus in the sound that they have in common, I think. To my mind it’s a pretty standard feature of Eastern European sopranos and can make a lot of them sound the same. Both Netrebko and Freni balance it nicely with their other attributes though.

      • damianjb1

        Thanks for the info -- appreciate it. When I heard Netrebko in Anna Bolena (in the cinema) I didn’t hear the similarity at all but it really struck me hearing her sing Tatyana. If she can look after her voice the way Freni did we’ll hopefully have many years of wonderful performances to come. Although Netrebko singing Lady Macbeth worries me a little.

  • OperaTeen

    Despite what folks say, I love Trebs and now I’m even more excited for her NY Tatyana!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Applause for Domingo’s first Nabucco

    • manou

      I was there and it was a very good evening indeed -- I even liked the stark black and white (Daniele) Abbado production which most of the critics were unhappy with, both here and in Milan.

      La Monastyrska was even better than when I last saw her, amazingly secure and quite thrilling throughout most of the evening. Papa Domingo (Poppadom?) was fine -- the role is ideal for him and allows for the odd senescent moment; there are flashes of his steely old tenor voice here and there. Vitalij Kowaljow is superb, but Antonenko does not make the trip from La Scala to the Garden, replaced by Andrea Caré (me neither). Luisotti is in complete command, but the star of the evening is undoubtedly the chorus, which luckily has plenty to do and does it excellently, including a very touching Va Pensiero.

      There were ovations for all -- but mostly for Monastyrska, Kowaljow, Luisotti and Balsadonna (chorus master). Poppadom got a respectable cheer, but definitely fewer decibels than expected.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        Did you not think much of Andrea Care, Manou? I saw this with Nucci the Saturday before last and I thought he was excellent -- vaguely Bergonzi-esque.

        I too liked the production in terms of the ideas behind it and the set, but I felt everybody seemed to be lacking direction and kept ending up in a line across the front, reducing it all to park and bark in modern dress.

        Monastyrska seemed far more sure of herself than when she stepped into Aida for Carosi, and I don’t think that’s just because she was playing a more assertive character. It was fantastic to hear somebody who could really dominate the role fearlessly.

        • manou

          Caré was fine -- I had just never heard of him before. It seems his career has just started and I certainly wish him well. He had very little rapport with Pizzolato, who sang beautifully but was an inert stage presence.

          You are right to note that there was the usual lineup formation for the ensembles (I think we have been banned from writing p**k and b**k), but the singing was of such distinction I did not mind too much.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            Have we really? Why was that then? It’s a pretty accurate description of what was happening, in this case.

            I agree the musical values made up for it -- a really superb offering from the ROH.

          • manou

            I think La Cieca threatened implacable retribution for anyone using the term.

          • Camille

            “punk and bunk”?????

  • mercadante

    I found the clips very interesting. I was wondering how they were going to direct an overweight matron in the role and this is genius! Instead of portraying a teenager in the first throws of sexual awakening, Netrebko portrays Tatyana as an older, but still attractive spinster in the throws of sexual re-awakening as she is attracted to an elderly, but still handsome, rogue. She probablynhad Daddy issues and he wears the same cologne as “Daddy”. A little estrogen cream for that vaginal dryness and girl is good to go. The elderly old rogue doesn’t want her because she hasn’t had her makeover, or he’s out of Viagra, or both, and she ends up in a marriage of convenience with a nice Prince who needed her dowry.

    This opens up a host of possibilities for the ageing Netrebko: Mimi, a middle aged but still attractive spinster who embroiders and finds mid-life sexual awakening with a young poet. Tosca, a middle aged, fading, butvstill attractive singer who finds sexual reawakening with a young painter. Lucia, a middle aged but still attractive spinster who finds sexual reawakening in the arms of a young Scotsman who saves her frim a charging bull.

    • operaassport

      Overweight matron? Are you serious or just another drunk troll? Where do people get shit like this? Bitch and moan, in that order, seems to be all some are capable of.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Have you seen the photograph that accompanies this piece? She looks stunning. You are quite right that she is older than the Tatyana of the first few scenes, but so is everybody who has ever sung this in a major house. She’s a pretty far cry from most people’s idea of an overweight matron.

    • manou

      I am in the throes of deciding whether to throw a Manou at mercadante.

      • bluecabochon

        I’ll do it. It’s “throes”, not “throws”. And your comments are quite woman-hating.

      • oedipe

        But Manou, sexism is ONLY in your head! It doesn’t exist! Or else it’s a chip on your shoulder…Because you know for a fact that most 40 year old women are “ageing” and have to use estrogen cream for vaginal dryness. It’s as simple as that!

        • manou

          Wrong target, oedipe. I think you are answering bluecabochon.

          I was just being the sub-editor de service

          • bluecabochon

            Do we have to throw “manure” at someone else now, too?

          • manou

            Litotes, blue, litotes. Oedipe is being sarcastic. And it is true that my name is very nearly horse sh*t.

        • operaassport

          Vaginal dryness? Dude, you’re on the wrong blog.

    • DonCarloFanatic

      mercadante, your coarse speculations do you no honor, although I imagine a deliberate May-September pairing might be interesting in some of the roles you list.

      You are wrong about Netrebko. Memory plays you false. Anyone who has seen this woman before, when she was ten years younger and of girlish slenderness, has reason to perceive her as matronly now. But anyone who has never looked at her before would come away saying this is a stunningly beautiful woman, full stop.

      • DurfortDM

        Mentioned this before but whatever her relative attractiveness (and it is considerable) it is not the slenderness or heaviness per se but the way it looks on the particular woman (and subject to the tastes of particular men … or women, of course ;)) and in Trebs case the extra weight is unflattering and she would do much better to get back to her slender self. For Pete’s sake, women compete in and medal at olympic games after having multiple children. Surely Trebs can drop 15 to 20 pounds with the help of a trainer and nutritionist she can easily afford.

        • She says she feels good with the extra weight, so why should she torture herself with diets and trainings? It’s not like she’s obese and it endangers her health. and honestly, I think that this feeling of being ok with herself cames quite well across and is now part of her attractiveness. Anyway, it’s opera and not catwalk.

          • DurfortDM

            Just to clarify (though I pretty much imply it above) its not about being cat walk appropriate (which is not, generally, my cup of tea in any case) but trying to look one’s “best”. Perhaps its me to an extent since I actually enjoy working out and would do more of it if I had more time (as I think she probably does -- sure there’s the travel but in the course of even a relatively busy day or week she probably has considerably more time to than I do). Another upside for me would also be the opportunity to in a manner more consistent with my preferences (which are not in any case strictly spartan).

            Anyway, I’m just picking a nit. ;-)

          • I’m more in favour of a balance between one’s best look and one’s best everything else. At her (ok, mine too, nearly) age it’s not so easy to stay slender and at the same time enjoy a reasonable amount of good and possibly not-so-slender-keeping food. I’d always decide for the food, since I prefer be not so slender and happy instead of slender and hungry, and looks like she does too :)

          • DurfortDM

            Yeah, mine too.

            Just an illustration of what I mean though as to a specific weight for a specific woman, let’s take Renee. A bit heavy in the early and mid 90s, just about perfect from, say 97-03, a bit too thin since then. Always very attractive, mind but there’s just this sweet spot for me.

            Still, its kind of like a bottle of Latour. I might prefer it at a certain temperature but I wouldn’t exactly pour it down the drain if it was served 4 or 5 degrees too warm or too cool. (Not that I make a habit of drinking Latour, unfortunately).

        • marshiemarkII

          What extra weight????? she looks perfect, perfectissssima. I don’t think the anorexic look of the Traviata was all that attractive. A little baby-fat can go a long way, and it probably helps her singing too. We are not talking morbidly obese here like Jane Eaglen, please! some sense of proportions! Anna is at the moment in perfect shape, if she is happy even better!

          • Not to mention that a little fat makes wrinkles much less visible :)

          • marshiemarkII

            Precisely carisssima, I sure couldn’t see any when I saw her, smooth as a baby’s ass was her face, and radiantly beautiful!

          • DurfortDM

            Not sure I’d call it anorexic, MMII. I think she looked great and based on what we know about her I doubt she was ever on a particularly strict regimen. (Now someone like Erdmann is another story, and not too much of a voice there either -- to the extent one can actually hear it at all).

            Again its a matter of a specific preference in a specific context. Saw a couple of very attractive woman (and VERY talented musicians) just last week. Both just about the same age as Trebs (give or take a year or 2 either way). One was, arguably, perhaps, “heavier” than Trebs (dunno how exactly to “translate” that, maybe BMI, whatever) but would not have been one iota more attractive to me were she to loose weight. The other was very skinny (perhaps some might even call her “anorexic”) but to me that was great look for her.

            As I say above, making some angels dance on the head of a very small pin but since the subject of Trebs’ looks came up just though I’d through in my 2 cents (though that might be an overestimation of the value of my contribution).

          • My guess would be that since it’s not so easy to get rid of the extra fat at this age, and it would require small, that unpleasant sacrifices in things she enjoys,she has no reason to try. What for, if she feels good with herself?

          • DurfortDM

            Yeah. I’m missing the gym today b.c. I have to listen to Rigoletto. ;-)

          • you should switch to dog walking. That’s my counterpart of the gym, and you can’t miss it, rigoletto or not, because the dog won’t let you. Especially one as large as mine (a pyrenean mastiff) :D

          • DurfortDM

            I suppose not!

            (But then when am I going to read the latest issue of Opera if not on the elliptical -- or, when I’m being bad, during too long rests between sets on the bench?)

          • marshiemarkII

            Carisssimo Durfort, yes maybe anorexic is a bit of an exaggeration for the Traviata look, but it is almost unnaturally beautiful, and probably not destined to last. No one can look THAT gorgeous forever….. not even Emilia Marty :-)
            Having said that, I found Anna a bit on the zaftig side at the time of the Met Bolena, both live and then I saw the HD, big round face, and plenty of avoirdupois. Today, I insist, I think she looks simply perfect, just the right amount of baby fat to be sexy, but not unpleasantly fat by any means. And I completely agree with Liana, should losing a tad more weight entail any kind of sacrifice, I’d say what for?! as long as her skin is as beautiful as it is, she will be preciously beautiful, and the envy of everyone who ever lays eyes on her!

  • I haven’t had a chance to listen to the full clip (I’ve not even had a chance to listen to the Immolation quiz!) but I have to pipe in that Netrebko looks simply smashing in that photo.

  • aulus agerius

    Well I see she’s starting to wear those sleeves that performers of a certain age incline to, so I guess gravity is beginning to take its toll.

    • marshiemarkII

      Not so aulus!!!!! categorically not so. I saw her in person for about 5 seconds, backstage as she was leaving with Bezcala, whom she had gone to visit, after the premiere of Rigoletto. She is more gorgeous than anything you can imagine, because her skin is so fresh and gorgeous!, and she has this shy look that makes her look even more alluring, because it’s as if she doesn’t know the effect she can cause on people…..
      She is also perfectly slim for her size, not anorexic slim as she was for the Traviata, but perfect for all intents and purposes. She can make a lifelong homo turn straight :-)

    • marshiemarkII

      Now why didn’t Angela Meade use one of those sleeves for the Norma at Caramoor, is totally beyond me! Those pictures in the NY Times were…. oh well I’ll keep it to himself, lest I am jumped on by the PC police….

      • Camille

        It’s good to know she would take the trouble to see Beczala as I do look forward to more of their outings together, so well matched as they are.

        Marschie, if you flip for Anna, you’ll have to get in a long, long line, you know.

        Now what were you saying about sleeves at Caramoor?

      • marshiemarkII

        CammiB, not only she went backstage, but she was completely ALLEIN weh ganz allein! we were standing by the green room door with some cast poeple, and as you know the hall is very narrow, and she had to snake her way through the several of us, who were kind of blocking the way, completely unprepossessing, and without even a hint of divism! Only when she had passed, we all looked at each other, and WOW it was SHE herself!!!!!!!! she was wearing a gorgeous body-hugging gray silk dress with a sort of 60s pattern. After she and Piotr were leaving, I was introduced, and MMII for once was completely speechless, and felt that the backbone had just been removed by a magic hand. I so wanted to tell her how much the greatest Behrens worshiped her (“whenever she appears on TV, I drop everything I am doing and just have to watch her”) but all I could say was the customary “you are wonderful in everything you do” oh so cliched and unimaginative!

        CammiB you are a provocateur! why do you want me to say what I really feel about those pictures from Caramoor :-) , do you remember those hams hanging out of that dress? By God!, girlfriend should never EVER wear a sleeveless dress, dontcha think?

        • Camille

          that was a real lost opportunity as she would have undoubtably been very touched and happy to have heard that an artist such as HB would go to the trouble of stopping everything to listen to her — I mean, she has heard the ‘wonderful’ stuff countless times now. Knowing an artist on a high level had such a consideration of her would have been giving her a real ‘gift’ --(not in the German sense, mind you!).

          I think you should sit yourself down to write a letter, NOT to Mr. Gable, but to Anna N. , and let her know just that. You could politely and decorously include compliments on your own. The important thing would be for her to know that someone who had walked the walk, so to speak, had such an opinion. Don’t you think she may have her dark mome ts at times, as we all do? Did ‘t Hildegard cherish the good opinion of Unser Heilige Leonie and take strength from that?

          You know what I mean, I am sure and will shut up now as I hear NN’s cackles of laughter in the wings.

          Denken Sie an!


          • marshiemarkII

            Oh CammiB, the letter is a wonderful idea but I prefer in person. There will be other chances in future I hope. I was invited to a dinner party at the Sherry Netherland a couple of years ago, and she was supposed to be there, along with a couple of other Met people, she didn’t show up, and the other Met people were the Hexe Zambello, and the other Hexe (don’t want to offend carisssimo Batty). Disappointing evening!
            But the hostess is a very good friend of Anna, so one day there will be another party, and hopefully MMII will still be in the good graces, and get her chance!

        • Camille

          No, the word you seek is provacatrice!

    • luvtennis

      Aulus? Really, what’s your excuse for being an anonymous asshole. Gravity? Or Advanced AGE?

      Please turn your keen powers of observation on yourself. But remember, you have to post a recent, non-photoshopped picture of yourself so we can see how accurate your assessment is.


  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    R A P E !!!!! Poised like a dart does NOT mean pick up a prop and point it at the mezzo! And so much for ‘he beats out the candle’ What a crappy staging.

  • Donna Anna

    Gawd, I love this opera and AN’s embodiment of this role makes up for the lifeless orchestral reading. Here’s Der Standard’s review:

  • DurfortDM

    Ugh! Cringe!

    …thoughT and thrOW…

    In any case, point very well taken, MMII! I’ll generally stick to my Latour analogy (though not really sure its especially apposite for Trebs or fair to Trebs: she’s much livelier and less moody -- in that negative Latour way -- though the richness might fit nicely. ;-) .)

    • oedipe


      For me Netrebko is a Burgundy. Definitely not a Bordeaux. Now Monastyrska, who was mentioned somewhere above, is more like a Bordeaux: less rich and full-bodied, but with more of a bouquet.

      • manou

        Both intoxicating.

      • peter

        If she were a white wine, she’d be a Meursault.

        • oedipe

          No way could she be a white wine! Gheorghiu, yes. Probably an Yquem.

          • peter

            Yes, Nebs is more a red wine than a white wine but if she were a white, it would have the richness of a Meurseault or a Puligny Montrachet.

            Now, Angela is definitely not a white wine. She’d be more of a Beaujolais.

          • oedipe

            Beaujolais is a wine that’s not very subtle or elaborate, and that one generally drinks pretty young. Whatever one can say about Ange’s singing, unsubtle and uncomplicated ain’t it.
            Yquem is a perfumed, flavorful wine that’s sweet without really being sweet. It’s actually full-bodied and light at the same time, like her voice.

          • peter

            Back to the cellar Oedipe! Angela’s voice may be more complex than a Beaujolais but it’s hardly full bodied. Perhaps a Pinot Noir.

          • oedipe

            Peter, a Pinot Noir is a generic name for a type of grape. There is nothing generic about Ange’s voice, it’s a voice that’s distinctive in a million.

          • Batty Masetto

            Oedipe, speaking from the heart of Pinot Noir country, I can tell you that some extremely good California wines are indeed called “pinot noir,” usually plus a local appellation.

          • peter

            OK, Oedipe. A Chambertin. No more discussion :-)

          • oedipe

            I know that, Batty. But just calling a wine “a Pinot Noir” WITHOUT an appellation makes it generic. Because Pinot Noir is just a cépage, as you well know.

            At any rate, here’s an idea: why don’t we each uncork a bottle of a favorite wine and drink to each other’s health?

          • DurfortDM

            Angela’s voice not rich enough for Yquem or any of the better Sauternes.

            Certainly not Chambertin. The voice is too rich and distinctive for the crappy stuff and really good Chambertin is much more appropriately analogized to to a high quality bass-baritone.

    • marshiemarkII

      And if the white wine were “creamy” she would remind you of……

      Bravo Durfort for your commitment to the gym also, that’s the only way to keep that unsightly avoirdupois off!

      • marshiemarkII

        Oedipe Caro, but a “creamy” white wine, certainly, no? :-) :-) :-)

        • oedipe

          Well, the Loire Valley wines are “creamy”. They are sweet wines, and the top quality ones have a lot of bouquet. What these wines are missing and Anna has in spades is heartiness. Red Burgundies are hearty.
          Calleja is probably a Loire Valley white.

          • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

            oedipe, I cannot agree that Loire Valley wines are “creamy”, nor are they always sweet; it is the home of Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé) after all. In viticultural terms, the Loire has a marginal climate; precious little dry white wine from there could be termed “creamy” -- in the sense of a full-bodied wine. Perhaps some of the better-made Sauvignons might need food, but by and large they’re easy gluggers, especially the local Chenin Blanc when vinified dry. There are some glorious stickies: I have some Huet Cuvée Constance 1997 [AOC Vouvray, made from Chenin Blanc and vinified sweet] in half-bottles which I have sampled ere now and hope to continue to enjoy for quite some time to come, especially when Dialogues is on the radio.

            For me, Anna Netrebko is a Montrachet: absolutely top-notch, even a novice “gets” it while the experts will rave until the cows come home. [As for what they’ll do whenever the cows come home, we can discuss again]. Joseph Calleja brings to mind a favourite come-hither red: the operatically-named Tancredi from Donnafugata, a powerful Sicilian Cabernet-Nero d’Avola blend. If you insist on comparing him with a white, perhaps he’s another Italian, Antinori’s Cervaro Della Sala -- a blend that nobody dreamt of before and that works an absolute treat.

            Durfort, given that there’s an elegant, “feminine” AC Margaux by the name of Ch. Durfort-Vivens, who do you feel fits the bill -- Gheorghiu, maybe?

          • oedipe

            You are quite right, Baltsamic, that was a gross oversimplification on my part of the wide variety of Loire Valley wines. Mea culpa! I was looking for a “creamy” white (which I interpreted as rich and sweet) and I didn’t want to pick a Sauterne; and I was in a hurry.

            Netrebko as a Montrachet is an excellent idea. The other possibility I was toying with was a Charmes Chambertin.

            If everybody insists on a red for Gheorghiu, I would suggest Château Margaux: sophisticated and flavorful, but not hearty. A white wine that would go with her voice would need to have panache (that’s what I mean by “full”), smoothness, and a subtle sweetness; thus, the Yquem connection. A Vouvray maybe?

            Calleja’s voice has a distinctive bouquet, it has body (and legs) and lots of sweetness, but no edge. I therefore thought of a heady white wine, a Sauterne or a Riesling Auslese. I don’t see him as a full-bodied red wine.

            Alagna, on the other hand, is definitely a red Bordeaux. Probably a Co d’Estournel: spicy and corsé, with a distinctive edge.

            I also very much like the idea of Chambertin being a bass-baritone.

            We could go on and on…

          • Buster

            Liebfraumilch = Eva Lind.

          • Nerva Nelli

            Gail V. Gilmore = Night Train

            Victoria Livengood = Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill

      • DurfortDM

        Meursault … maybe a Riesling. Really depends on vintage and producer. I suppose, maybe a Sancerre a particularly luscious one might do.