Cher Public

Woman on the verge

Anna Netrebko sings “Sola, perduta, abbandonata” from Manon Lescaut at the Rome Opera, Riccardo Muti conducting.

  • mercadante

    Well, that was as good as it gets. Brava! And working with that level of conductor seems to also bring out the best in her.

  • ML

    Nuanced, expressive, beautiful. So glad this worked for both of them!

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    Yaasss! This is amazing, more please! When is she going to do all three roles in Il Tabarro? That would be heaven. Leave Adina alone and give us more of this.

    • OpinionatedNeophyte

      Trittico that is.

    • ML

      Many thanks, La Cieca. Great stuff.

  • Meimei

    GLORIOUS now that she is *finally* in a suitable repertoire!

    • kennedet

      Agreed, Meimei.

  • Rimma Civetta

    Here (in Russian): Anna is ecstatic about working with Muti. She even asked him to work on Macbeth with her. It seems, Muti does not mind.

    • Camille

      o thank g_d for that!!

      All I could do when hearing that Massenet Manon a couple years back, squirming in my seat, was to hope she would one day sing this Manon instead, and am very happy about all this. Keep on working with Muti, Anya!
      Next stop, Tosca.

      • Camille

        And is it at all possible to get the rest of Act IV, one of my favorite things in all of Puccini? I would like to hear how she does the final lines. TY.

      • ML

        A concert Cio-Cio in Chicago would be nice for the record — and perhaps more effective than a Tosca.

      • Me too. I’ve been waiting for her to sing Manon Lescaut for years. So nice to hear her sounding so good in it.

      • Meimei

        Yes, her Massenet Manon left a lot to be desired.

    • semira mide

      If Netrebko DOES work with Muti on Macbeth, hopefully it will be in time for next year’s performance at the Met. Too bad Muti won’t be conducting.

      • Camille

        Let’s cross our fingers and hope for a miracle. Stranger things have happened.

        • ML

          Muti sub for Luisi? And you asked me yesterday if I was all there?

  • alejandro


    And I hope there’s a Puccini recital disc in the works. I also hope someone changes her mind about Tosca.

  • One is pleased to note that the phrase Putin 500, introduced in the comments section of this very blog, seems to be catching on. A protest is planned for tonight in San Francisco at Symphony Hall before the concert by Yuri Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in support of free-speech rights in Russia, LGBT rights in Russia, and by now heavens-knows-what-else.

    As a reminder, Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev, members of the Putin 500, will be back at the Metropolitan Opera next season for more Chaikovsky.

  • Zachary Woolfe reviews this performance.

    • ML

      It starts out well written and observed. Too bad he doesn’t tackle the how-come and how-done sides of the contract, inked only seven months ago — something that impinges directly on his recent lament about JK no longer being game for five-year-ahead New York bookings.

  • I, too, hope for more collaborations (even if not on stage) between maestro and soprano. Netrebko’s instrument has matured into the great Italian lirico-spinto voice of the day. And she has always shown a willingness to work hard and improve her craft. Muti is, of course, Muti. I’d love to see the fruits of an ongoing collaboration.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      “And she has always shown a willingness to work hard and improve her craft.”

      I agree there has been an admirable upward trajectory in general terms, but I’m not sure she has always shown amazing consistency in that regard.

  • coloraturafan

    • Porgy Amor

      My favorite part of the Scala DVD of Manon Lescaut is the intermezzo, a good visual document of Muti at work. No preening for the cameras, nothing flamboyant, just firm, clear, precise gestures serving an interpretation of delicate beauty. I especially like the way he brings it to down and to a close in the final bars; this is difficult to describe without a visual example, but it’s very controlled, and words such as “patrician” and “aristocratic” may come to mind. That this is my favorite part of the performance either means I’m a conducting geek or Guleghina and Cura (better in ’98 than they would be later) are not my dream team in this opera, or both. Cavani’s production too is a bit disappointing after her equally traditional but finely detailed Scala Traviata

    • Cicciabella

      We are indebted to you, coloraturafan. Netrekbo is truly fantastic in this, especially in Act IV. The role is a perfect fit for her. Muti conducts the score with great transparency and plenty of dramatic colour, but I find his tempi very slow. The Rome audience did not hide their disapproval of him, I believe. The slow pace totally undermines Tu, tu amore tu, where Netrebko is the least successful. And you can’t put on Manon Lescaut without a tenor. I can only hope that the poor guy had a very off night.

    • Camille

      Thank you very much indeed for having posted his in its entirety, coloraturafan. Very much appreciated, especially as this is a favorite opera of mine.

  • This is nice! I am not sure about you guys, but there is something in Netrebko’s voice and style of singing that reminds me of Sass, not in a bad way mind you

    • MontyNostry

      I see what you mean, Lindoro, though I think Sass had more temperament in her sound, somehow -- though she was a good deal less comfortable to listen to.

      • manou

        Sassier, perhaps?

  • armerjacquino

    Just listening to it now. Dear God, this is good.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    Maybe Netrebko’s “inas” weren’t perfect but prepared her for what she’s doing now. Souliotis, another “new Callas,” sang Lady Macbeth in her 20s, and a few years later both she and voice were gone.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      But Netrebko is c.43, and nobody is saying she should have been singing Lady Macbeth all along -- rather that there would have been a happy medium, where she might have dropped the lighter roles sooner and concentrated more on Verdi, Puccini and perhaps lyric Wagner and Strauss over the last 8-ish years, repertoire she has only very recently turned to. I think Lady Macbeth, if the role is right for her at all, is probably coming at exactly the right point.

  • There’s not much else to say. This is beautiful.

  • ML

    Does anyone know how Farnocchia did in the role tonight?

  • casualoperafan

    OK, minority opinion: It is lovely and well sung but I find it…. a bit…. monotonous. Sorry.

  • antikitschychick

    fabulous singing. Her voice is perfect for these types of Puccini roles…the climax around the four minute mark is to die for. Hopefully she will get to work with Muti on LM and use the extra time she has to prepare wisely.

    If the suits at DG are smart they’ll have her record a verismo album next. She can basically sing whatever she wants to now except for the heavy Wagner roles, but everything in the spinto rep is fair game.

    • kennedet

      My sentiments exactly anti.I never thought those ina-roles suited her whether she had the range/fiortura or not. I’m suprised these coaches,managers,etc. did not hear it in the voice earlier. It’s sounds like a “full-blown spinto currently.

      • antikitschychick

        evening kennedet :-). I was going to respond to your post but I think Cocky K really hit the nail on the head with his comment above. Staying away from heavier roles (or putting them off for as long as she could) was a conscious decision on her part as much as it was anybody else’s, plus she had contractual obligations. Happily that doesn’t seem to be holding her back any longer. Dropping out of Faust was a definitive statement in terms of the trajectory she wants to take. Where I do think the managers and the coaches failed is in not pushing her or encouraging her to move to heavier rep sooner. Based on what she has said, she made the decision based on her own judgement and also based on input from fans…and she’s taking on LM against the advice of many apparently. It might not be a perfect role assumption in terms of the vocal demands but she will def sing her heart out and it’ll be an entertaining, if not interesting characterization imo.

        • kennedet

          This must be a mutual admiration society because I concur with Cocky also. My problem is hearing that dark quality in the ina roles. As I’ve stated before, the orchestration under these roles and the imbalance of the ensemble singing when the coloring is too rich on top causes problems in the beauty of the music.

          I understand lyric roles for an up and coming spinto but to perform the ina roles because she can master the range sounded strange to my ears. I know about Netrebko’s fame and the accolades because of how she performed them but I wonder if this sound will be the new standard if you want to sing these high roles and the early Roberta Peters,Bidu Sayou,Beverly Sills sound will be a “thing of the past”. I think there was a good reason why these divas were assigned these roles.

          • antikitschychick

            Ah yes I see what you’re saying. Mutual admiration society indeed lol. I think you have nothing to fear in terms of “a new standard” being developed for those lighter “ina” roles, as she was just doing her own thing. Everyone, including her, knew that they were not the ideal roles for how her voice developed but they were relatively easy and fun for her so she sang them. I don’t think that sort of thing will catch on though…or at least I hope it wont.

            • kennedet

              O.K., Thanks for those comforting words. Voice classification these days is a subject which is highly debatable. I know voice technicians who believe if you can sing it….that’s what you are. I knew of a director who told singers to keep your voice classification hidden until you find out what they are asking for because you might be able to sing the role. There are those who could care less about voice classification and think it’s not so important in today’s opera world. It smacks of not knowing who you are! How can you make vocal decisions about your voice??!!

            • antikitschychick

              “There are those who could care less about voice classification and think it’s not so important in today’s opera world. It smacks of not knowing who you are! How can you make vocal decisions about your voice??!!”

              Well, because like anything, these sorts of classifications are very subjective and debatable as you yourself say. Take AN for example, who doesn’t neatly fit into any one category at this point. Some say she is a full lyric, others are now saying she is a spinto…others try to merge the two categories together by saying she is a ‘dramatic lyric’. In a way everyone is wrong but everyone is also right, because there are certainly elements in her voice that point to all three of these classifications. What it really boils down to imho, is the range, depth and weight of the voice, esp in the middle register. All of these vocal categorizations such as lyric, dramatic, spinto serve as markers that signify where singers abilities lie but they have no intrinsic meaning other than that which is assigned/given to them by us. When there is a case such as AN’s, such categorizations are no longer useful in determining what roles or path the singer will take, in which case I agree there is no need to box her into any such just becomes superfluous.

              I do think that certain distinctions between voices need to be made, but I don’t think those distinctions necessarily warrant categorizations such as lyric, spinto, dramatic, etc. Just my two cents on the matter.

            • kennedet

              I don’t mean to belabour this discussion because we are actually agreeing most of the time. My primary point is voice classification is important. You can debate quality, timbre, range, etc. until eternity ends but let’s not disrespect it to the point that it isn’t important anymore or a “thing” of the past.

              I heard AN in her earlier recordings going toward a spinto sound as she matured, but based on my training, I heard it early in her development…. believing that most voices grow richer as they mature. Of course, no one asked me, but I would never have given her “ina” roles whether she could handle the range/fiortura or not. I thought the sound was much too dark for those roles. Yes, this is debatable but it’s based on the the concept of voice classification. You may hear different qualities of sound but after spending time and analyzing a student’s voice…there is a quality which dominates the entire range. You then, can make a better determination of voice classification.

            • antikitschychick

              Yeah I dont think we’re disagreeing at all lol. In terms voice color you’re absolutely right, that is really important and I did neglect to mention that. I think with AN its a little tricky though because while the lower and middle ranges are indeed quite dark (and heavy) the top isn’t because she doesn’t carry all that weight up there. Now a few top notes does not a role make so I am aware that the focus of role assignation should lie elsewhere.

              I guess what I am getting at is that singers are not always going to ascribe to those types of labels. Callas is prob the best example of that.

  • Bianca Castafiore

    Ok, these videos/sound files are GONE!!!!!!!