[Domingo]: Whether as Rigoletto or Simon Boccanegra he has always convinced as an actor . . . Vocal strength, taste and expression were available in capacious quantities and quality from the other three principals . . . to give great delight to the audience and this watcher. Anna Netrebko sings wonderfully: creamy tone, excellent expression allied to create a wholly integrated performance. Add her trill in "Tacea la notte in placida" with tonal characterisation throughout part four and no wonder the audience went wild. Consider also her capacity to hold the vocal line, as Barenboim slowed the tempi and pointed the accents and her career in this, for her, newish fach is off to a flying start . . . [Marina Prudenskaya]: Her beautiful, smooth, even tone, ideal legato and capacity for vocal expression brought back memories of those halcyon years when Verdi mezzos of this quality were more common. No crude chest notes, just excellent singing in both of Azucena's arias. Matching her for vocal elegance and smoothness was Adrian Sampetrean as Ferrando.
Soloists include the great Plácido Domingo as Manrico, superb Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Leonora and mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya as the formidable Azucena. The characters burn with the passions of love, hatred, sexual desire and revenge that eventually destroy them.
Netrebko, surely in her vocal prime, is perfectly suited for the role of Leonora. Hers is rich, thick voice, large scale when it is at its best . . . There is a luxuriant richness that makes her perfect for the two big arias and, in both "Tacea la notte" and "D'amor sull'ali rosee" she uses the full majesty of her voice to tremendous effect. It's marvellous to hear the way she shades her voice to the role's requirements, and she can go from a thrilling climax to a delicate "pianissimo" in a heartbeat. She also has both the colour and the power required to cut through the big ensembles, and she acts well through the director's concept . . . In short, she is a triumph and well worth seeking out. Prudenskaya does every bit as good a job with Azucena . . . Her finest attribute is the way she uses her lower register, which is nothing short of thrilling. From the moment she opens her mouth in "Stride la vampa", she sends a bolt of lightning through both the music and the stage action, ravishing in the lower writing but electrifying in the top notes, most obviously when reliving the death of her son. She is also beautiful in "Ai nostril monti", and her final shriek of triumph is thrilling . . . [Gaston Rivero] has a ringing quality that is very appealing and which makes him distinctive in the company . . . The lesser roles are well taken, and Adrian Sâmpetrean's Ferrando is especially compelling, commanding and authoritative in the scenes wherein he appears . . . [Barenboim] has a brilliant ability to read a musical situation and to support his singers . . . The picture and surround sound quality are very good . . .
In his green and tenor days he was a magnificent Manrico, and now as a baritone he's a sturdy Conte di Luna . . . Domingo knows how to do it and delivers Di Luna's great aria "Il balen del suo sorriso" with grace and style . . . [ Anna Lapkovskaja's Azucena]: a chilling "Stride la vampa" and a heartbreaking final scene with a chest register that sounds like gravel rolling over velvet . . . And naturally Daniel Barenboim gives us a confidently personal reading of Verdi's great score.
. . . Netrebko gives a completely authoritative performance . . . she has voice to spare and nothing sounds beyond her -- not the Act 1 cabaletta (both verses, skilfully negotiated), not the confrontation with the Conte di Luna (pulsating with drama and desperation), and certainly not her super-confident "D'amor sull'ali rosee", crowned with high-class floated top notes . . . [Domingo's] majestic tenor-baritone, boosted by an undimmed ability to command the stage, comes good by the end . . . Supported by high-quality playing from his Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim sounds . . . urgently engaged in the Verdi idiom.
Die Staatsoper reüssiert mit Verdis "Trovatore" in Traumbesetzung . . . [Daniel Barenboim bewältigte den "Trovatore" mit] ebenso viel Feingefühl wie Bravour . . . Anna Netrebko verfügt mit ihrem dunkel-fülligen und inzwischen voluminösen Sopran über scheinbar schier unbegrenzte Kraftreserven. Vor allem aber schillert und funkelt dieses warme, vulkanische Timbre in den vielfältigsten Farben . . . Schon in der berühmten Kavatine des ersten Aktes schwelgt und zwitschert sie und haucht ihre Liebesseufzer ins Publikum, dass es ihr so schnell niemand nachmacht . . . Das grösste Geheimnis dieser Sängerin ist womöglich ihre stimmliche und darstellerische Unmittelbarkeit, eine Art höhere Naivität, die das Glück des sinnlich erfüllten Augenblicks zum höchsten Gut erklärt . . . [Plácido Domingo]: Seine Bühnenpräsenz ist immer noch ungebrochen . . . [die fabelhafte russische Mezzosopranistin Marina Prudenskaya] begegnet der Netrebko auf Augenhöhe als eine atemberaubende Interpretin der Azucena. Mit ihrem abgründig dunkel schillernden Timbre und einer dennoch stets kontrollierten und schlanken Tongebung bringt sie in ihrer Kanzone "Strinde la vampa" den ganzen Albdruck zum Klingen, der auf dieser Frau lastet . . . Das Berliner Publikum jubelt. Das Konzept eines Abends der kalkulierten Superlative ist tatsächlich weitgehend aufgegangen.
. . . [Netrebko]: [eine] treffsicher intonierte Cabaletta "Di tale amor che dirsi" . . . [sie] berührt mit einer fein ziselierten "S'amor sull'ali rosee"-Arie . . . Flexibel, dabei subtil, durchaus auch mal zupackend laut, nie schneidend lärmig . . . ist der Dirigeransatz Daniel Barenboims.