VERDI La Traviata - Highl. /Netrebko, Villazón, Ri

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GIUSEPPE VERDI

La Traviata
(Querschnitt · Highlights)
Netrebko · Villazón · Hampson
Konzertvereinigung
Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Carlo Rizzi
Int. Release 17 Oct. 2005
1 CD
0289 477 5953 9 CD DDD GH
Anna Netrebko's portrait of Violetta is her most compelling - and revealing - triumph yet


Track List

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)
La traviata

Act 1

Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Salvatore Cordella, Paul Gay, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor

Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Act 2

Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Thomas Hampson, Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Thomas Hampson, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Thomas Hampson, Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Thomas Hampson, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Luigi Roni, Paul Gay, Carlo Rizzi, Wiener Philharmoniker, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Rupert Huber

Rolando Villazón, Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Luigi Roni, Paul Gay, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Rupert Huber

Thomas Hampson, Rolando Villazón, Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Luigi Roni, Paul Gay, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Rupert Huber

Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Act 3

Anna Netrebko, Diane Pilcher, Luigi Roni, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Carlo Rizzi, Wiener Philharmoniker

Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Thomas Hampson, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson, Diane Pilcher, Luigi Roni, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Total Playing Time 1:19:47

. . . she is one of those rare creatures who possess the million-dollar trinity: she can sing, she can act, and she looks like a movie star . . . she's at the top of her profession. Her voice is uniquely pure, yet dark and full of colour, she has an awe-inspiring technical facility and a magnetic stage presence. Her most recent recording, of a live performance of Verdi's "La Traviata" shows off just what she can do -- dazzling coloratura, and beautiful, expressive tone. The comparisons to Maria Callas are inevitable.

For those of you who have multiple performances of "Traviata" it's a dream come true: a one-disc bargain featuring two great singers in their absolute prime. Anna Netrebko's Violetta is remarkable -- nuanced, sung with beautiful, even tone, by turns fragile and dignified, a melancholy, charismatic figure. Her phrasing and use of dynamics are thought-through and in service to the character . . . she's . . . a luscious, vulnerable Violetta. Tenor Rolando Villazón, too, is living up to his very early promise. He delivers an Alfredo filled with youthful feelings very close to the surface: adoration, longing, passion, rage, sadness, resignation. And vocally he is undoubtedly a star -- the voice, with its dark hue but bright, secure high notes, is one in a million . . . Carlo Rizzi's conducting is full of excitement and his youthful stars keep up with him well; the death scene, though morbidly slow, is similarly effective. The Vienna Philharmonic shines brightly . . . the sound is excellent . . . this CD of highlights is the perfect complement.

In this set of arias and duets from Verdi's "La Traviata", her voice is firepowered enough -- especially in killer sections, like the end of the famous "Sempre Libera" -- to blast its way into the part of your brain that thought it didn't like opera.

In this set of arias and duets from Verdi's "La Traviata", her voice is firepowered enough -- especially in killer sections, like the end of the famous "Sempre Libera" -- to blast its way into the part of your brain that thought it didn't like opera.

Mark that name -- and meet the new "it" girl of the opera world. Netrebko, whose glorious and well-schooled voice matches her physical beauty, has left audiences saucer-eyed while turning operadom on its ear . . . At every moment, Netrebko displays a voice of agility, accuracy, warmth, brilliance and power. It is touching and authoritative singing . . . Opera might never be the same.

During the past couple of years, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko has become opera's "it girl", drawing in besotted fans the world over . . .


Where the World Looks

Seduced by Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón
Salzburg's La traviata is Europe's operatic event of the year


Black market prices rose to astronomical levels and desperate fans wrote blank cheques, one of them even offering a two-week Caribbean cruise - and all for a single ticket for the first night of Salzburg's new production of Verdi's La traviata. Even before the curtain had gone up on Willy Decker's production in the Grosses Festspielhaus, these performances were already being hailed as the absolute high point of the 2005 festival. No wonder, then, that all the performances were sold out weeks in advance. And yet everyone who wanted to see or hear the production was able to do so, as it was broadcast live on both television and radio. A delayed relay was also shown on an outdoor screen.

Deutsche Grammophon, too, played its part and recorded the production, the run of seven performances ensuring that the artists enjoyed virtually the same conditions as in a studio production. The recording will be released this autumn.

If the occasion created a stir, it was because of its two stars, the names of Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón exercising a positively magical effect on opera lovers. Observers spoke not of La traviata but of "the Netrebko show". And everyone wanted a chance to hear a singer described as "one of the finest young tenors of our age".

Both singers had already appeared together on a number of previous occasions, most notably in La traviata at the Bavarian State Opera, in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette in Los Angeles and in L'elisir d'amore in Vienna, on each occasion generating veritable storms of enthusiasm. The press called them a "dream couple", and audiences agreed. Expectations were correspondingly high. "All eyes are on Anna," wrote the Berliner Morgenpost. And Anna did not disappoint them.

By the end of the first performance, if not sooner, it was clear that the Russian soprano is a remarkably charismatic artist who has helped to open up the world of opera to new audiences. Without exception, the international critics praised her vocal qualities, singling out the "bell-like purity of her tone", the "effortless lyricism of her coloratura singing" and the "golden gleam" of her voice. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung came straight to the point: "That Anna Netrebko has at her disposal an extraordinary voice is beyond question. Her soprano issues from deep in her throat and thus radiates with opulent resonance without ever tending towards heaviness. The timbre, compact yet rich in overtones, enables her to open up to her full power, but also to establish her own intensity in quiet passages." But the singer's gifts were never deployed for their own sake alone. Rather, they were used for a subtly differentiated portrayal and a consummate musical realization of the director's underlying concept, a point brought out by the critic of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, who noted the way in which Decker projected Netrebko's "social role into this 'artist opera': he emancipates the singer Netrebko from the media star. The latter dies at the end along with Violetta. In her place is born Anna Netrebko the artist." The critic of Le monde likewise observed that Netrebko, who is under exclusive contract to Deutsche Grammophon, offered a clear and moving account of Violetta's tragedy: "Elle touche trčs simplement."
Rolando Villazón was a partner entirely worthy of his leading lady. Naturally gifted as an actor, he predictably impressed his Salzburg audiences with his dazzling stage presence and thrilling portrayal, combining subtle acting skills and even more subtle vocalization. Villazón, who will soon be an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, had no difficulty in giving vocal expression to the role's dramatic outbursts as well as to its more lyrical moments and even to its buffo elements. "Rolando Villazón as Violetta's lover Alfredo Germont... also brings colour to the piece with his singularly flexible, agile, radiant and versatile bel canto instrument, from which he can summon up the entire palette of expressive values, from lyrical ecstasy to heroic metal", wrote the critic of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The festival was additionally fortunate in being able to enlist the services of the leading American baritone Thomas Hampson, a singer well known for his intellectual grasp of the roles in his repertory. As a lieder recitalist, too, he enjoys the highest acclaim, allowing him to explore every last detail of his part. His scene with Violetta in Act Two was unforgettable.

The performance ended with frenetic applause and a spontaneous standing ovation. Not since Karajan's heyday have we seen such scenes in Salzburg, claimed the Vienna Kronenzeitung. The whole world gazed on a true operatic event. The artists fulfilled their promise.

Norbert Christen
8/2006



Highlights from The Press: Critical Acclaim

“Her voice is meltingly beautiful . . . Her performance is disarming.” The New York Times

“She’s touching – very simply, very honestly.” Le Monde

“She may be the hottest temptation since opera was invented.” Stern magazine

”I need music to be able to open up. To express something without the support of music is hard for me to imagine . . . You actually need four different voices to be able to sing [Violetta]. And you have to act, too . . . once I get on to the stage, everything becomes easy – I’m there and I sing. I simply feel best when I’m on stage.”
Anna Netrebko

The very few voices like hers prosper under the close scrutiny of recordings, as her soprano never admits any flaws. In the unhelpfully cavernous acoustics of the Grosses Festspielhaus she sounded no less impressive: the softest singing always carried, but she could also fill this vast open space with apparently little effort. Netrebko could bring class to Violetta anywhere in the world, but in Salzburg she went one better and played the role as the producer wanted, as a tough and tarty modern woman, fired by the will to live when she finds that her time is running out... he [Villazón] is a born creature of the stage and the physical performance he gives is so alive that it provides any extra volume... Villazón can be a whirlwind of activity, getting to parts of the character that the rest never knew were there.
Financial Times (London), 9 August 2005

With talent and looks to burn, she has the world at her feet... she is such a singing actress, you thought mainly of Violetta, not of Anna Netrebko. Seldom has this character's torment been so well portrayed. Miss Netrebko tore your heart out, eschewing anything cheap... Speaking of perfection: I am reminded, once more, that Verdi has written a perfect opera, in "La traviata." And these Salzburg forces have given it its maximum impact. Wednesday night's was a shattering experience.
The New York Sun, 12 August 2005

Salzburg's glorious new "La traviata"... lives up to the hype. Needless to say, Anna Netrebko has other, more pertinent qualities that make her uncommonly qualified to star in this opera, but let's not underestimate those looks... For many years I have admired Netrebko in her home theater, the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg, but never have I experienced from her a performance of such dramatic brilliance and intensity. She pretty much gives the lie to the old saw that Violetta's vocal demands are so diverse that two different types of singer are needed to cope with them.
MusicalAmerica.com, 16 August 2005

Both exude youth, life and high spirits. It's almost unnecessary to add that, to top it all off, they also sing so fabulously well. Anna Netrebko with her unmistakable dark, guttural timbre... has already portrayed the role several times before and has clearly worked hard at it. Dramatically, her performance is the strongest... Rolando Villazón as Violetta's lover Alfredo Germont... also brings colour to the piece with his singularly flexible, agile, radiant and versatile bel canto instrument, from which he can summon up the entire palette of expressive values, from lyrical ecstasy to heroic metal... Anna Netrebko dies so beautifully that it's pure pleasure to watch her graceful reeling and swaying, stumbling and final collapse.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9 August 2005

Hardly has the final applause burst out in Salzburg's Grosses Festspielhaus when the entire audience rises to its feet... signalling a triumph for her, for Anna Netrebko, the much hyped, desired and loved to death... Because Netrebko, already precisely defining emotional nuances and levels of intensity in her acting, can transpose these qualities almost literally into her singing. The expression is right at every moment. Her voice, moreover, effortlessly fills the entire space... From the second act her high notes are poured out in a gentle stream; even piano passages are so concentrated in tone that her singing always seems transparently light... Willy Decker isn't just telling Violetta's story, but also Anna Netrebko's. He projects - and this is apparent throughout - her social role into this "artist opera": he emancipates the singer Netrebko from the media star. The latter dies at the end along with Violetta. In her place is born Anna Netrebko the artist.
Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), 9 August 2005

... A great evening of opera. All eyes are on Anna. With good reason.
Die Welt (Berlin), 9 August 2005
A mega-event? Yes, but much more than that. A great artistic event.... outstanding achievements. Above all by Anna Netrebko, who in Salzburg repeats her triumphs of Munich and Vienna as the ideal title heroine. What's so impressive is not just the bell-like purity of her tone and the clean coloratura of her supple, rounded soprano, which carries well in every register; she also grips and moves us with the emotionality of her delivery, the expressive power of her flexible voice, which easily encompasses radiant exultation, lyrical fulfilment and subtle piano nuances. No less impressive opposite her was Rolando Villazón as an exceptionally spirited Alfredo, who uses his dark lyric tenor with a burning ardour whose intensity could hardly be surpassed.
Kleine Zeitung (Vienna), 9 August 2005

That Anna Netrebko has at her disposal an extraordinary voice is beyond question. Her soprano issues from deep in her throat and thus radiates with opulent resonance without ever tending towards heaviness. The timbre, compact yet rich in overtones, enables her to open up to her full power, but also to establish her own intensity in quiet passages... The stormy fortunes of her love affair with Alfredo is completely gripping because Rolando Villazón, with his splendid, carefully schooled tenor, introduces dazzling effects but also maintains dramatic intensity... La traviata is and always will be a singer's opera, and in Salzburg this was realized on the highest level.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 9 August 2005

The absolute dream couple of the operatic world.
Salzburger Nachrichten, 8 August 2005

Anna Netrebko has a unique voice of golden luminous power, velvety sweetness, youthful lyricism. Even her coloratura to a certain degree comes from the depths of her soul... Anna Netrebko doesn't need making into a star. She is one.
Salzburger Nachrichten, 9 August 2005

Preceded by endless hype, the superstar fulfilled every promise... Anna Netrebko is above all an excellent singing actress, who puts her virtually flawless voice at Verdi's service and brings enormous eroticism, tragedy and intensity to her portrayal of the unfortunate courtesan.
Kurier (Vienna), 9 August 2005

... her timbre is superb, her visual presence never overdone - a sort of diva on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She's touching - very simply, very honestly... Always musically elegant, Villazón gives his heart and soul, and it pays dividends: a triumph for him as well... The production is intelligent and not without poetry... In short, this traviata, very well conducted by Carlo Rizzi, doesn't put a foot wrong.
Le Monde (Paris), 9 August 2005

Villazón's Alfredo is heroic and sumptuous in timbre, hardly less brilliant than the Domingo "sun"... And Netrebko's Violetta... is equally tremendous technically and stylistically, never short-breathed or lacking in flexibility or intensity.
Libération.fr, 11 August 2005

Anna Netrebko sang splendidly and her reading of Violetta's letters was impassioned and adroit... the young Mexican tenor... hypnotized the audience with his musical power and stage presence.
El País (Madrid), 9 August 2005