There’s No Madness Like Opera Madness: Netrebko’s Lucia

I went to see the Met’s HD Broadcast of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor this afternoon. Lucky for me, Rolando Villazon was sick, I cannot stand him, beautiful voice, horrible acting, so a great young Polish tenor – Piotr Beczala – took his place and did a great job. Netrebko’s back and she’s as great as ever – madness scene was as mad as they come, although Netrebko was less “wild eyes” crazy and more “I look quiet but I am very crazy on the inside” – if you get a chance to see the encore on 2/18, you should give it a chance. Click here for more details (especially if you are a young philosophical type with nothing but philosophy on your mind, get a bit of a life, see an opera, will you?)

Anna Netrebko Update: Pregnant and Cancelling a Performance Near You.

A strange number of people stumble across our page by searching for “Anna Netrebko nude” or other similar combinations of the like words – although I am puzzled why our humble blog would come up as a result, I can please the perverse reader with this combination: “Anna Netrebko pregnant”! I hope this satisfies the occasional opera-loving weirdos that come across this blog:

NYTimes: The soprano Anna Netrebko, pregnant and engaged, has withdrawn from this summer’s Salzburg Festival, Agence France-Presse reported. She was scheduled to sing at the festival opposite the tenor Rolando Villazón in Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Ms. Netrebko, 36, a Russian-born Austrian citizen (right, with her finacé, the Uruguayan-born baritone Erwin Schrott, 35), is in Vienna, filming Puccini’s “Bohème” with Mr. Villazón as her leading man. She also was to sing in Massenet’s “Manon,” opening on April 4 at the Vienna State Opera, The Associated Press reported. Her manager, Jeffrey Vanderveen, said she “will keep her engagements as long as her doctors permit it.” Helga Rabl-Stadler, president of the Salzburg Festival, said: “The nicest reason for a cancellation is a child. Anna will receive the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from us.” The Metropolitan Opera said Ms. Netrebko has withdrawn from 10 performances of its revival of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” beginning Oct. 3, but said her seven performances in Massenet’s “Manon” in December and January remained undecided.

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Winterreise: Schubert, Schäfer, Schneider.

It is snowing outside – quietly but very steadily – so a quick note on a (relatively) new record by Christine Schäfer – Ionarts provides an always insightful review of the record here: if you follow all the links in that post, you will spend at least an hour investigating the matter of Winterreise and its suitability for male/female voice.

If you had a chance to see Salzburg Festival production of The Marriage of Figaro (with Anna Netrebko), you might remember Christine Schäfer as Cherubino (DVD of that production is available) and, more recently, as Gretel in Met’s holiday production of Hansel and Gretel. It is appropriate to note, I think, that Christine Schäfer is not a newcomer to the operatic scene. I have her early (1995) recording of Robert Schumann’s songs (as a part of a great 9CD set “Songs of Robert Schumann” which I highly recommend) and I enjoy it very much. 

I am glad that she is finally getting some well-deserved attention, if only because she is also a dedicated performer of contemporary repertoire: Alban Berg’s Lulu, Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire and Boulez’s Pli selon pli are among her recordings.  With all the excitement surrounding Netrebko, I’d like to see her try something by Webern, Berg or Boulez, then I will be sold completely. Continue reading

The Clock Is Ticking: La Traviata vs. Faustus

As I am counting days until my Winter semester begins and I finally get to go back to class again, allow me to draw attention to two opera DVDs that I have recently acquired and watched/listened to: 2005 Salzburg’s La Traviata with Netrebko, Villazón and Hampson and Pascal Dusapin’s Faustus: The Last Night.  

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(UPDATES): “Met at the Movies” – Romeo et Juliette (Roberto Alagna, Anna Netrebko)

“Met at the Movies” – apparently this is an official title for a series of HD Broadcasts from Metropolitan Opera to god-only-knows how many places on the surface of the earth, if you are still living in a cave and have not heard about this program (that entered its second year on 12/15 with a broadcast of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette), then feel very very guilty and check out the information here

A friend from an operatically advanced Portland and I went to a performance at a local movie theater.  I think that despite very cold weather, a depressingly old age of the audience and an enormous amount of Russian-speaking opera lovers, we have managed to enjoy the broadcast. I think the whole “behind-the-scenes” segments between acts were very poorly done and I found them to be very distracting and, honestly, anticlimactic.  Alanga was great, even if too old to play a teenager in love, and Netrebko was a bit weak, I thought, in the first couple of Acts when she had to play a silly young girl in love, but she got increasingly better(both singing and acting) as things got a bit more tragic and gloomy – the finale was quite excellent!

This is a recap from Met’s Blog: Posted by Matt Dobkin on 12/15/2007

Today was the first of the Met’s 8 high-definition transmissions this season, and the excitement in the opera house was palpable. TV trucks were parked behind the house on Amsterdam Avenue, and camera crews raced around the house capturing behind-the-scenes action for the international audience. Continue reading

Metropolitan Opera’s First Simulcast of 2007-08 Breaks Attendance Records!

(Reposted from PlaybillArst)

17 Dec 2007

The Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in High Definition” series of live satellite transmissions into movie theaters achieved record-breaking attendance in its first weekend of the new 2007-08 season.

The first transmission, on Saturday, December 15 — Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Plácido Domingo — drew a worldwide audience of 97,000. 435 venues (477 screens) in the United States and Canada sold approximately 77,000 tickets; 100 international venues (100 screens) sold an additional 20,000 tickets.

“The success of Saturday’s HD transmission is an indication that the public’s interest in these global events is building,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. “And the demand for tickets to our transmissions parallels the increase in attendance at the opera house in the first third of the performance season. More people are interested in opera today, which is great news for the Met.”

There were 88 sold-out screens in the United States, including those in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Chicago, and at 11 performing arts centers and universities in the U.S.; 33 screens sold out in Canada.

Attendance outside of North America was very strong as well. Twenty-five venues in Europe sold out, including locations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and the Czech Republic; the presentation sold out in Puerto Rico as well. Roméo was also transmitted into venues in Belgium, Poland and Norway; it will be presented in Japan and Australia on a delayed basis. Continue reading

New York Times Magazine on Anna Netrebko.

Published: December 2, 2007

Anna Netrebko is a gifted opera singer who at 36 has already mastered many of the roles — Mimi, Violetta, Lucia, Manon — that used to go to the queenly, temperamental sopranos of the old school, with their furs, their atomizers, their entourages. She is also a media-savvy entertainer from the new school, with the knockout looks, the fans, the celebrity of a pop star. Her “Traviata” at Salzburg two years ago was such a hot ticket that scalpers were reportedly charging $7,000 a seat, and her records regularly top the charts in Europe. In the summer of 2006 she was part of a concert in Berlin that filled a stadium. Read the rest of the article.

Met’s HD Broadcast of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette (with Netrebko as Juliette) is December 15th – check the local listings for theaters in your area (US and international locations).