The coming season marks the tenth anniversary of Anna Netrebko’s debut with the Metropolitan Opera, host to many of her greatest triumphs during the past decade. To celebrate this milestone, Deutsche Grammophon will release the soprano’s first live solo album, bringing together her most memorable Met moments – performances never before issued on record, most of them previously unavailable in any format – available September 20, 2011
The album, consisting of eleven tracks from nine operatic roles, includes performances with some of Netrebko’s most renowned co-stars including tenors Roberto Alagna, Joseph Calleja and Juan Diego Flórez. In addition she is supported by a starry roster of conductors including Valery Gergiev (her house debut), Plácido Domingo, James Levine, Marco Armiliato and many others. Spanning her entire Met career, from her 2002 house debut as Natasha in Prokofiev’s War and Peace to her recent appearance as Mimì in La Bohème, the excerpted performances were all recorded live on the Met stage. Arias and scenes from Don Giovanni, I Puritani, Rigoletto, Roméo et Juliette, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale are all infused with Netrebko’s unique vocal magnetism and irresistible on-stage charisma.
I listened to the album yesterday and was charmed by the accessibility of the music. The warmth of her voice was rich and tender, witting and expressive, intimate and inviting. I fell in love with her voice with I Capuleti e i Montecchi and charmed again with Tchaikovsky: In the still of the night. But I think she has really hit the mark with Live at the Metropolitan Opera.
The album begins with Bellini's tender "Qui la voce sua soave." The effortless control Anna has over her voice is amazing. She lightly caresses the music with such warmth one can imagine her alone in a small room, longing quietly for Arturo. Then Mozart's "Vedrai carino” shows Anna's classical grace. Verdi's "Ah, più non ragiono!" has such power it's hard to imagine this is the same woman who sang Qui la voce sua soave.
For your listening pleasure, here is Anna singing from I Puritani.