Anna Netrebko · Elina Garanca Ildebrando D'Arcangelo Chor und Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper Evelino Pidò
Staged by Eric Génovèse Video Director: Brian Large
Int. Release 04 Nov. 2011
1 Blu-ray Video
0440 073 4728 7
STEREO: PCM / SURROUND: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 Picture Format: 1080i High Definition / 16:9 Subtitles: Italian/English/German/French/Spanish A production of ORF and Unitel Classica in co-production with ARTE in cooperation with Wiener Staatsoper
. . . [On Anna Netrebko]: I am rather impressed with her debut in the role . . . What is notable on this DVD is how big her sound has become . . . [she has vocally] filled out, expanding that dark opaque timbre of hers. She floats some pretty phenomenal pianissimo notes . . . [Netrebko] cuts a pretty, carnal, and tempestuous figure on stage . . . the showdown between Anna and Giovanna is brilliant . . . Garanca is the finest Seymour I've come across, her luscious, smooth mezzo soaring above those accompaniments beautifully, and she colors and shapes a line like the great names of the past. A decent actress, too, capturing Jane's brittle mix of ambition and guilt well. Netrebko is a very fine lead . . . Elisabeth Kulman is a sweet nimble Smeaton . . . Francesco Meli has the right, bright timbre, and can sing very softly . . . the Vienna forces play exquisitely for Evelino Pidò . . . I can't think of a better bel conductor than Pidò, keeping the energy up . . . without losing detail or being too yielding to his stars. This is definitely the first choice on DVD . . . Sound is very full-bodied, and picture is good . . . [Brian Large's] video direction is logical, discreet, and trusting of singers to handle close-ups in reaction to what other characters are doing.
Record Review /
Barnaby Rayfield ,
Fanfare (Tenafly, NJ) / 01. March 2012
The pathetic is a good emotion for Anna Netrebko . . . but her sudden moments of rage are also thrilling. Her voice is strong, lovely and easy here . . . Her ornaments are elegantly inserted in the line . . . Her mad scene holds attention through its varied tantrums . . . She appears to be having the time of her life . . . Elina Garanca, as Giovanna Seymour, possesses dulcet bel canto phrasing and evenness over a wide range, and she blends her voice with Netrebko's flawlessly. As Percy, Francisco Meli has an attractive tenor . . . Elisabeth Kulman is boyishly pretty as Smeton, Dan Paul Dumitrescu effective as Anna's politician brother Rochefort. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is truly imposing as Henry VIII . . . [his bass is] a menacing presence in his duets with Anna and with Seymour . . . Evelino Pidò keeps this long and somewhat lugubrious score moving at a lively pace, the flurries of agitated strings that indicate some fresh disaster light but insistent, the bel canto lines flowing gracefully.
Record Review /
Opera News (New York) / 01. March 2012
Man kann diese Aufnahme nur empfehlen. Sie ist nämlich noch besser als die Aufführung . . . [Brian Large]: meisterliche Bildregie . . . Die Netrebko hat so eine neue Repertoiretür souverän aufgestoßen, überrascht vor allem mit ihrer üppig dunklen Mittellage, aus der die Spitzentöne raketengleich emporschnellen. Die Garanca, ein scharf geschnittener Mezzo-Brillant, glitzert und funkelt, schwingt sich vokal oft noch über den Sopran. So wachsen sie beide, sich an der jeweils anderen messend, über sich hinaus. Dieses Donizetti-Duell will man nahe sehen. Hier kann man es.
Record Review /
Fono Forum (Euskirchen) / 01. December 2011
. . . [musikalisch] lohnt sich das Dokument in jedem Fall. Nicht nur wegen Anna Netrebko, die ihrer Anna Bolena, dank dunkler und dramatischer gewordener Stimme, ein anrührend menschliches, sehr persönliches Profil zu geben weiß und einen überzeugenden Mittelweg zwischen Koloraturkunst und dramatischem Furor findet . . . eine stimmlich wie darstellerisch sensationelle Elina Garanca . . . Elisabeth Kulman ergänzt als Smeton die edle Damenriege . . . [Evelino Pidò] entlockt dem Staatsopernorchester einen überraschend kultivierten Donizetti-Sound, wie man ihn in diesem Haus bisher nur selten zu hören bekam.
Record Review /
Bühne (Wien) / 01. December 2011
. . . Ildebrando d'Arcangelo [est un] basse au timbre riche et sonore . . . Pido dirige avec goût un orchestre plein de séductions . . .
Record Review /
Diapason (Paris) / 01. January 2012
DONIZETTI: ANNA BOLENA
'An event with a captial 'E'' (Financial Times)
With her sensational role debut at the Vienna State Opera, superstar diva Anna Netrebko takes ‘one giant leap forward to claiming the title of diva assoluta del mondo’ (Opera News) with a performance of rare vocal and dramatic power. Her much anticipated reprisal of this role, at the season opening of the Metropolitan Opera in New York in September 2011, is already the talk of the opera world
The Russian soprano sings the role of the unjustly accused second wife of British King Henry VIII, ‘veering between indignant fury and tender righteousness’ and demonstrating a new level of confidence in her technique with excellent ‘passagework, particularly in trills, and seamless runs even to the lowest notes’ (Opera News)
The performance also stars DG mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, in ‘a fantastic display of bel canto’ (Opera News) as Anna's rival Giovanna Seymour. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo brings his beautifully dark tone to the role of Enrico and young Italian tenor Francesco Meli sings the demanding role of Lord Percy with a ‘youthful virility’ (Agence France Press), promising great things for the future. On the podium Evelino Pidò 'drew playing of unusual precision and refinement...making every note matter' (Financial Times)
This release presents an opportunity to experience the magic of a truly unique Vienna premiere, which was streamed to the public in the square outside the opera house, broadcast live to over 100 cinemas and broadcast on radio. The excitement around this occasion was entirely justified by the fantastic performances given by an incomparable cast of established and rising opera superstars and the DVD/BD will be a must-have for all fans of great opera
This release is timed to tie in with Anna's performances of the same piece at the Met. The Met production was cine casted worldwide on 15 October.
The Met opening is not the only opera highlight in Anna’s schedule this season. She will also have her debut at the prestigious Scala of Milan in December, where she opens the season in Don Giovanni with Bryn Terfel. Plenty of opportunities to boost her new releases and her Opera catalogue!
At the end of July 2002 a gifted but largely unknown soprano, Anna N., became an overnight star in the Salzburg Festival production of Don Giovanni. Over the next nine years La Netrebko matured and continued to grow as an artist, and in April 2011 she took another important step in her international career in the spotlight of a new production at the Vienna State Opera.
A singer’s life is ultimately very finite and requires her to change direction at an early age. Anna Netrebko’s voice is gradually growing darker and heavier and can now bear the weight of more dramatic roles, allowing her to explore what for her is a new repertory. This time the role was one ennobled by memories of Maria Callas: the Tudor queen, Anne Boleyn, in Donizetti’s opera from 1830 – his thirty-first in all, and the first to be really successful. It was a novelty not only for the soprano herself but also for the Vienna State Opera.
Netrebko goes her royal way with her head held high, even if, at the end of Eric Génovèse’s static yet functional production, that head not unexpectedly ends up beneath one of the many doors that open and close like guillotines. A bare set and rustling costumes have to suffice as a backdrop for this remote but thrilling bel canto opera in which vocal sparks soon start to fly: this is no empty vehicle for a star performer showing off her vocal acrobatics like a circus act. Rather, it requires five singers of almost equal standing, striving with one another in their sufferings and in their love. In Evelino Pidò, moreover, they had a conductor capable of supporting them with the State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, from both of which he was able to draw a maximum of tonal nuance and emotionally charged colour.
It is clear from the live recording of the 1957 Milan production that Maria Callas played the part of Anne Boleyn as a tigress, even turning against her own public. By contrast, Edita Gruberova – the most famous exponent of the role today – weaves a translucent web of wistful coloratura. Netrebko, for her part, chooses a third way. Historically, Anne Boleyn was far from being innocent of her royal fate, for she was involved in a plot that led Henry VIII to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and that resulted in England’s secession from the Church of Rome. But Anna Netrebko turns the character into a woman who, knowingly unknowing, helplessly seeks to dominate the situation, both attacked and admired as she gropes her way through a world of convention and intrigue, empathy and equanimity.
Her voice begins softly but gains in composure and attack, imperceptibly dominating the stage until by the multi-sectional final scene – and thanks in no small measure to Donizetti’s inspired ability to build to an impressive climax – she rules the stage, dying and at the same time finding herself reborn. We see and hear how the notes on the printed page acquire a vocal presence and an unwonted degree of psychological insight and how a soprano becomes a prima donna as an experienced singer enters upon new ground, which she does both authoritatively and movingly, asserting her right to the role from the very outset.
Anne’s rival for the affections of the English king is Jane Seymour, and in Elīna Garanča’s bright-toned mezzo-soprano this same endeavour is reflected as if in a diamond. Two equally gifted singers face each other, eager to attack and inspiring each other to ever greater heights, as jealousy and ambition flash ambivalently in their multifaceted confrontations. In the one corner is the ice-blue blonde, in the other the lilac-clad brunette. In a paradoxical role reversal typical of operatic duels, Garanča often sings the upper part, Netrebko the lower one. Francesco Meli transforms the role of Lord Richard Percy – Anne’s first love – from a thankless third party to a worthy lover with virile steel in his voice, while Elisabeth Kulman brings her earthy mezzo-soprano to the part of the fatally infatuated Smeaton. As Henry VIII, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo prefers melodious nobility to the historical Henry’s thunderous bombast.
But it is no accident that this regal opera is called Anna Bolena, and in this rightly acclaimed production from the Vienna State Opera such a soprano queen was born thanks to a second Anna. Manuel Brug