Anna Netrebko ‒ Biography

It is rare for an artist to break through the boundaries of classical music stardom and gain wide recognition as an authentic operatic diva, but Anna Netrebko has achieved that and more. In the mere decade of her recording career she has not only seduced the classical world with the beauty of her voice, her superb vocal control and supreme musicality; she has also become an iconic figure. Anna Netrebko is not just a grand diva but a woman with personality and charisma whose vivacious style and dazzling stage presence receive as much attention as her musical artistry.

Netrebko first started pulses racing with a triumphant Salzburg Festival debut in 2002 as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and has since performed with nearly all the world’s great opera companies.

Major venues have played host to some of her greatest triumphs. In New York she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2002 and has since returned every season to perform all her signature roles. In 2011, she opened the Metropolitan Opera season to rave reviews as Donizetti’s tragic Anna Bolena. In her second consecutive season opening in 2012 she was irresistible as Adina in Donizetti’s comic gem, L’elisir d’amore. 2013 sees her third consecutive season opening when she returns to New York as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin ‒ proving her unique status as “diva assoluta” of the Metropolitan Opera. Her New York performances have been seen by audiences around the world as part of the Met’s “Live in HD” cinecasts.

In Vienna ‒ her home since applying for Austrian citizenship ‒ she first sang the title role of Anna Bolena at the Vienna State Opera, a performance that has been captured on DVD. She gave her role debut as Tatyana in 2013. In 2011 she made her company debut at La Scala in Milan singing Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. In 2012 her memorable Mimě in La bohčme won praise from critics and audiences alike.

Her worldwide appeal is apparent in her busy schedule. In coming months she is singing in Britten’s War Requiem at the Mariinsky Theatre and at the Salzburg Festival, making her role debut as Verdi’s heroine Giovanna d’Arco at the Salzburg Festival, singing her first Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust at the Royal Opera House, followed by the Vienna State Opera and Baden-Baden, and making her role debut as Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s masterpiece at the Bavarian State Opera.

To have come so far in little over ten years is remarkable, and Deutsche Grammophon has been with her every step of the way. On her journey Netrebko has sold more than 3.8 million recordings on the Yellow Label and in August 2013 she releases her first solo studio album in over five years. A decade after the award-winning Opera Arias, which launched her stellar recording career, she reunites with conductor Gianandrea Noseda, a renowned Verdi specialist, to continue this extraordinary musical journey, offering the definitive soprano album of Giuseppe Verdi’s anniversary year.

Already hailed as one of the most anticipated classical albums of 2013, the release features a sumptuous all-Verdi programme as a birthday tribute to the master of Italian grand opera. Accompanied by the Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino, Netrebko brings her passionate intensity to selections from Il trovatore, Macbeth, I vespri siciliani, Don Carlo, Giovanna d’Arco, Otello and La forza del destino.

Netrebko’s extensive discography includes bestselling solo albums ‒ Sempre Libera, Russian Album, Souvenirs, In the Still of Night, and Anna Netrebko: Live at the Metropolitan Opera ‒ and many operas, including La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohčme, and I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Highlights from her videography include DVD or Blu-ray discs of La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, I puritani, Manon, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale, and Anna Bolena; plus a DVD of music videos, titled Anna Netrebko: The Woman, The Voice. Her CD Duets, with tenor Rolando Villazón, set a record for the best European debut ever for a classical album, climbing to the top of the pop charts in several countries.

Among the honours and awards of Anna Netrebko’s meteoric career are Grammy nominations for her recordings Violetta and Russian Album; Musical America’s 2008 “Musician of the Year”; Germany’s prestigious Bambi Award; the UK’s Classic BRIT Awards for “Singer of the Year” and “Female Artist of the Year”; and nine German ECHO Klassik awards. In 2005, President Vladimir Putin awarded her the Russian State Prize, the country’s highest award in the field of arts and literature; in 2008 he gave her the title “People’s Artist of Russia”.

Anna Netrebko was born in 1971 in Krasnodar, Russia, and studied vocal performance at the St Petersburg Conservatory. She auditioned for the Mariinsky Theatre, where she was spotted by Valery Gergiev, who became her vocal mentor. She made her operatic stage debut at the Mariinsky, aged 22, singing Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. One year later she made her American debut at the San Francisco Opera. In 2002 she gave her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera and her breakthrough performance at the Salzburg Festival.

The following ten years saw a remarkable story of successive artistic triumphs around the world. In 2008 she gave birth to a baby boy. Motherhood reinforced her strong empathy for children, which was already an integral facet of Netrebko’s character, and resulted in her becoming an ambassador for SOS Childrens Villages and finally setting up a charitable foundation for children in need in 2012.

In 2014 she is scheduled to perform at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, further widening the reach of a classical singer whose musicality is second to none but who also has mass appeal as a truly rounded character; a woman of the world. Her variety of interests all contribute to her musical artistry and provide insight into Netebko’s ability to immerse herself so deeply in a role, whether tragic or comic. It is easy to see why Gramophone declaimed: “. . . when I hear Anna Netrebko sing, live, I don’t want her to stop . . . Remember the days of rapturous standing ovations, when the sound of a singer’s voice would really drive people wild? That’s the kind of voice Netrebko has . . . She is also a stage animal . . . she is fuelled by sheer talent and instinct . . . I’d take Netrebko over anyone out there, any time.”

4/2013

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