VERDI La Traviata Netrebko Rizzi

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GIUSEPPE VERDI

La Traviata
Netrebko · Villazón · Hampson
Schneiderman · Pilcher
Konzertvereinigung
Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Carlo Rizzi
Int. Release 14 Oct. 2005
2 CDs
CD DDD 0289 477 5933 1 GH 2


Track List

CD 1: Verdi: La Traviata

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)
La traviata

Act 1

1.
0:00
3:37

Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

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

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

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

Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Salvatore Cordella, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

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

Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Act 2

Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Rolando Villazón, Diane Pilcher, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Anna Netrebko, Diane Pilcher, Dritan Luca, Thomas Hampson, 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

Anna Netrebko, Diane Pilcher, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Rolando Villazón, Dritan Luca, Wilhelm Schwinghammer, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Thomas Hampson, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Thomas Hampson, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Total Playing Time 1:10:39

CD 2: Verdi: La Traviata

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)
La traviata

Act 2

Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Luigi Roni, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Rupert Huber

Helene Schneidermann, Herman Wallen, Luigi Roni, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Rupert Huber

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

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

9.
0:00
3:38

Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

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

Anna Netrebko, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Luigi Roni

Diane Pilcher, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlo Rizzi

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 53:33

New dream couple

. . . the CD release is marvellous . . . [Netrebko's downfall at the hands of Giorgio Germont is] intensely moving . . . [her reaction to Alfredo's public insult of her is] bringing delicate nobility to the role. The set is worth buying for this reason alone, and the death scene is as emotionally draining as one could hope . . . Netrebko is blessed by being partnered by the multi-facted Alfredo of Rollando Villazón . . . the result is pleasing. Ardently sung, Villazón's take on the role combines intelligence and lyricism . . . [Hampson]: the insight he brings as Germont "père" is more than compensatory. In particular he deals well with his big entrance at Flora's party, setting off a "largo concertante" of great passion and surprisingly even ensemble values . . . neither weathered Verdians nor diehard Netrebko fans will be disappointed.

Taken from Willy Decker's 2005 Salzburg Festival production, this recording of "La traviata" is the finest recent account by far . . . (Anna Netrebko's) singing of Acts II and III is heartbreaking and her blend with her co-prinicipals is superb. Thomas Hampson's cultured, grave Germont is wonderful, while Rolando Villazón's Alfredo is intelligent and radiantly sung.

The hottest ticket of this summer's festival . . .Verdi's irresistible tear-jerker is the first new recording in more than 10 years . . . this is the version to get: another major step forward for both Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón, two young soloists approaching the height of their powers. With a strong supporting cast led by the likes of Thomas Hampson, this thrilling version caputures two wonderful virtuosi of just the right age singing their hearts out and breaking yours.

Rolando Villazón's Alfredo is the star, beautifully moulded and lyrical singing enhanced by vocal characterisation of high quality . . . Carlo Rizzi conducts a tightly coiled performance.

An exciting, passionate account of the opera . . .

Here the star of the show is the tenor Rolando Villazón as Alfredo Germont, who has a virile, honey voice . . . His Violetta is Anna Netrebko, whose voice is brilliant . . .

No outside clock, no red sofa, adoring male army, low-cut dresses or general minimalist chic. This edition of Willy Decker's Salzburg Festival production, hugely acclaimed in August, comes in sound only. Though "only" seems the wrong word when Verdi's Violetta is portrayed by the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko . . . she uses her miraculous voice to deliver what might be the most multidimensional opera performance yet caught by microphones alone . . . Atmosphere, that's what this set has in spades; plus tremendous electricity, sourced where it matters most, in the singers' throats . . . a dark-hued soprano, evenly spread across, its range, as richly toned and expressive in pianissimo as when the chandelier shakes . . . With Netrebko we get deep and subtle penetration into the fainting courtesan's drama, present in every inflection . . . She's magnetic; she's an artist; she's a star. Virile, flexible, with a golden sheen, Villazón's tenor is an almost equal attraction . . . Rizzi, sequestered with the Vienna Philharmonic, stirs up a splendid noise . . . he knows this production is something special: a "Traviata" so dramatically intense and vocally secure that no other contemporary contender can beat it.

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.

Netrebko is the real thing as the brave, determined Violetta; even in the recording, where you can't see her spectacular physical beauty, the beauty of her voice is more than enough to carry the day.

. . . in Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon this 2005 Salzburg Festival performance has a pair whose electric interactions and brilliant singing are irresistible . . . this "Traviata" triumphs . . .

The heroine of this piece, Violetta, must be sung by an artist who is actually three types of soprano. In the first act she must be coloratura, in the second, spinto, and in the third, lyric. Many sopranos pull off one or two of these; Netrebko does very well with all three. Moreover, she brings tremendous dramatic intuition to the role, making us
believe what is happening. Her Act I and III arias are outstanding. Villazon provides an energetic and impetuous portrayal of Violetta¿s lover, Alfredo Germont, that is superbly vocalized and passionately acted . . . Conductor Carlo Rizzi leads in an alert, empathetic, and spirited manner, drawing superb results from his Viennese musicians. The recorded sound is ideal. The voices are clear, the orchestra warm and focused, and the offstage effects ideally balanced. This is one of the best new recordings of a familiar opera to come along in years.

Sie hat es geschafft: Anna Netrebko hat tatsächlich dem enormen Druck standzuhalten vermocht, der an diesem besonderen Abend auf ihr lastete. Mit außerordentlicher Nervenstärke, Konzentration und einer fast abgebrüht routinierten Mobililsierung aller Kräfte meisterte sie die Aufgabe, vor einem mit ins Extrem gesteigerter Erwartungshaltung gesättigten Auditorium, vor Mikrofonen und Kameras für TV-Übertragung, CD- und DVD-Aufnahmen nicht nur zu bestehen, sondern mit einer letztendlich hochklassigen Leistung echte Begeisterung auszulösen . . . Hier zeigte sich deutlich, dass Anna Netrebko eben nicht das von Null auf Hundert gepuschte Sopransternchen ist, sondern eine Sängerin mit in Ruhe gereifter Technik und über viele Jahre gesammelter Bühnenerfahrung . . . Die nun ruhig auf dem Atem liegende Stimme verströmt puren Wohlklang, ist hervorragend fokussiert, um mühelos im riesigen Rund des großen Salzburger Festspielhauses zu stehen; sie phrasiert mit sicherem Gespür für vokale Höhepunkte, meistert die dramatischen Aufschwünge des zweiten Aktes ebenso souverän wie eindringlich und hat spätestens mit ihrer innigen, schlichten und gerade dadurch so emotionalen Interpretation der letzten Arie ("Addio, del passato") das Publikum vollends neu erobert. Rolando Villazón ist der Russin ein idealer Partner. Auch er verfügt über die Gabe eines natürlichen Spiels, auch er geht mit ansteckender Begeisterung daran, das szenische Potenzial seiner Rolle voll auszuschöpfen: ein jugendlich heißblütiger, ehrlich und ungestüm liebender, leidender Alfredo. Villazón weiß, dass sein Tenor über alle stimmlichen Mittel für diese Partie verfügt . . . Und so ist seine Gestaltung von Beginn an souverän, die attraktive, baritonal grundierte und doch höhensichere Stimme allen technischen Feinheiten der Partie sicher gewachsen, die Darbietung . . . stilistisch absolut erstklassig. Kurz: ein Weltklassetenor im Vollbesitzt seiner Kräfte . . . Sehr dicht am Text, vor allem aber äußerst musikalisch inszeniert entsteht höchst spannungsvolles, emotionsgeladenes Operntheater. Keine regielichen Eskapaden, nur dezente, Musik und Handlung geschickt um anregende Aspekte erweiternde Modifikationen; keine überbordende Szenerie auf der riesigen Bühne, sondern volle Konzentration auf die Hauptpersonen in einem klaren, fast spartanisch ausgestatteten Bühnenbild.

. . . diese Frau ist große Oper!

Ikone für die Verbindung von Schönheit-Jugend-Kunst . . . Anna Netrebko ist in vielerlei Hinsicht eine Ausnahmeerscheinung.

Anna Netrebko vermag auch auf der Hörbühne zu bestehen. Sie singt die Titelpartie . . . mit einer vokalen Perfektion, einem Schattierungsreichtum und einer berührenden Ausdruckskraft, die kaum Konkurrenz scheuen muss.

. . . sehr eindrucksvoll, weil expressiv . . .

La mise en scène de Willy Decker, éloquente, intelligente, est sans défaut . . . Rolando Villazón campe un Alfredo juvénile et passioné . . . Thomas Hampson (Germont) joue -- bien! -- la force tranquille. A leur côté, Anna Netrebko mise sur son physique, toutes jambes dehors: elle est d'une sensualité irrésistible, d'une présence féline.

. . . Anna Netrebko est bien l¿élément central. Elle tient sous le charme par une vocalité impeccable et raffinée, comme par la somptuosité d¿un timbre de velours. Alors qu¿on pouvait en douter un peu à voir l¿engagement fulgurant de l¿actrice, le chant ne souffre en rien des exigences de la scène . . . Sa Violetta, d¿une jeunesse et d¿une santé vocale insolentes, est bien plus broyée par le destin que minée par un mal intérieur, conformément au parti scénique . . . Rolando Villazón . . . offre . . . une parfaite incarnation du personnage, dans sa jeunesse emportée, un peu folle et inexpérimentée, et la beauté irrésistible du timbre, ainsi qu¿une déconcertante facilité . . . Thomas Hampson . . . triomphait par son engagement et sa véhémence . . . l¿orchestre superbe . . . de même que les choeurs et la prise de son. On attendait plutôt le DVD, mais, telle quelle, cette Traviata volcanique figurera en très bonne place sur nos rayons . . . Signalons que DG en diffuse également un disque d¿extraits.

. . . Anna Netrebko is surely the central element. Underneath all the charm she boasts a flawless and refined vocal technique, with a sumptuous, velvety timbre. Though one might worry about it a bit while watching her passionate engagement as an actress, her singing in fact doesn¿t suffer at all at the demands of the drama . . . Her Violetta, youthful and vocally in peak condition, is much more crushed by fate than eaten away by internal illness, conforming to the role in this conception of the drama . . . Rolando Villazón . . . offers . . . a perfect incarnation of his character in all its hot-tempered youthfulness, a bit wild and inexperienced, and the beauty of his timbre and his astounding facility are irresistible . . . Thomas Hampson . . . triumphs with commitment and vehemence . . . the orchestra is superb . . . as are the chorus and the engineering. Though one might want to wait for the DVD, the volcanic "Traviata" recording we have here will assume an honoured place on our shelves. DG is also releasing a disc of excerpts.

. . . le disque en traduit bien les sortilèges: Thomas Hampson est un Germont racé et vocalement incisif. Rolando Villazón est sans doute le plus élégant des Alfredo, rôle idéal pour sa voix souple et brilliante . . . elle possède une plastique d¿actrice italienne. Là, elle prouve qu¿elle est aussi une vraie chanteuse, ce qu¿un disque récent avec Abbado chez le même éditeur avait laissé entendre: sa Violetta . . . nous touche par son engagement dramatique et par un timbre soyeux. Tous les espoirs lui semblent permis.

Une version musclée qui réunit l¿ardente. Anna Netrebko et le superbe Rolando Villazón, au généreux phrasé.

Carlo Rizzi a gravé ici une «Traviata» historique, enregistrée live cette année au festival de Salzbourg. Elle dépasse les plus grandes, aussi bien celle de Riccardo Muti en 1982 avec Renata Scotto que les nombreuses de Callas, qui connurent des succès populaires . . . la jeune Anna Netrebko est une Violette absolument divine. Rolando Villazón un Alfred passionant et Thomas Hampson un père émouvant. Anna Netrebko, en effet, allie la beauté à la fragilité, ce qui renvoie à l¿oubli les divas du siècle précédent pour des raisons estétiques évidentes; elle possède une élégance de voix delicieuse qui concurrence les plus grandes soprani. Menant son orchestre avec beauoup d¿intelligence, Carlo Rizzi évite de faire de ce drame bourgeois louis-philippard . . . und pathos social (la pauvre prostituée qui meurt d¿avoir voulu devenir quelqu¿un) mais ce qu¿avait voulu créer Verdi, une oeuvre de compassion pour la femme, que son siècle maudissait.

Carlo Rizzi has recorded a historic "Traviata", live from this past year¿s Salzburg Festival. It surpasses its great predecessors, even such popular favourites as Riccardo Muti¿s 1982 recording with Renata Scotto and the several sets featuring Callas . . . The young Anna Netrebko is an absolutely divine Violetta, Rolando Villazón is a passionate Alfredo and Thomas Hampson is deeply moving as his father. Anna Netrebko combines beauty and fragility, and indeed it is this fusion that, on sheer aesthetic grounds, could consign to oblivion some divas of the preceding century; Netrebko possesses a delicious vocal elegance to compare with the greatest sopranos of the past. Directing his orchestra with real intelligence, Carlo Rizzi avoids turning the opera into a bourgeois period drama of social pathos (the poor prostitute who dies while aspiring to a higher station in life) during the reign of Louis-Philippe, instead realizing what Verdi intended: a work of compassion for women that is also a condemnation of the age in which it is set.

. . . la soprano Anna Netrebko rayonne. Hélas . . . elle y est . . . remarquable . . . On suit également ses respirations et la réplique hardie du ténor Rolando Villazón, formidablement impliqué dans le rôle d¿Alfredo et dont (on l¿a déjà souligné dans ces colonnes) certaines de ses intonations rappellent sans contest un certain Domingo . . .

El doble CD de "La Traviata" de Anna Netrebko y Rolando Villazón, en el sello DG, ya es record de ventas en el mercado centroeuropeo. Tras alcanzar el disco de platino en Austria ¿ un hecho sin precendentes en el mercado discográfico de aquel país ¿ Netrebko y Villazón recibieron de manos del Presidente de Universal Music en Alemania, Frank Briegmann, otro disco de platino por las más de 200.000 copias vendidas hasta el momento. El acto coincidió con el lanzamiento de "La Traviata" en formato DVD, de los que ya se han vendido más de 25.000 ejemplares.


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 très 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

Critical Acclaim for Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón's Performances of La traviata in Salzburg

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