Anna Netrebko ‒ Biography
It is rare for an artist to break through the boundaries of classical music stardom and achieve recognition in the wider world, but Anna Netrebko has achieved that and more. In a recording career spanning less than fifteen years so far, she has not only seduced the classical scene with the beauty of her voice, her superb vocal control and supreme musicality, she has also become an international icon. More than an operatic diva, Anna Netrebko is an enormously charismatic individual whose style and stage presence are as celebrated as her musicianship. A passionate advocate for children’s causes, she supports a number of charitable organisations, including SOS-Kinderdorf International and the Russian Children’s Welfare Society. She is a global ambassador for Chopard jewellery.
Born in 1971 in Krasnodar, Russia, Netrebko studied vocal performance at the St Petersburg Conservatory. When she auditioned for the Mariinsky Theatre, 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 US debut at the San Francisco Opera. She really started pulses racing in the international opera world with a triumphant Salzburg Festival debut in 2002 as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Since then she has gone on to perform with nearly all the world’s great opera companies, displaying consummate skill and naturalness as she inhabits each new role, including Mozart’s Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Puccini’s Mimì (La bohème) and Manon Lescaut; Verdi’s Violetta (La traviata), Gilda, Leonora, Lady Macbeth and Giovanna d’Arco; Bellini’s Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Elvira (I puritani) and Amina (La sonnambula); Donizetti’s Norina (Don Pasquale), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Lucia di Lammermoor and Anna Bolena; Massenet’s Manon; Gounod’s Juliette; Tchaikovsky’s Tatiana (Eugene Onegin) and Iolanta; Wagner’s Elsa (Lohengrin); and, most recently, Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur.
Her debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera also came in 2002, and she has returned every season since, becoming the only soprano to have opened the season in three consecutive years (2011–13), as well as captivating audiences worldwide thanks to the Met’s “Live in HD” cinecasts. Anna Netrebko appears every season at the Vienna State Opera – she has lived in Vienna for many years and obtained Austrian citizenship in 2006. Having made her La Scala debut in 2011 as Donna Anna, she returned to Milan in 2012, giving performances as Mimì that won praise from critics and audiences alike. She made her role debut as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth at the Bavarian State Opera in 2014 and was invited back to La Scala to open the 2015-16 season in a production of the same composer’s Giovanna d’Arco, the work’s first performance there for over 150 years and Netrebko’s first stage appearance in its title role.
She began 2016 in another Verdi role, that of Leonora (Il trovatore) at the Paris Opéra. This was followed in May by her highly anticipated role debut as Elsa in Lohengrin, alongside Piotr Beczala in the title role, conducted by Christian Thielemann at the Dresden Semperoper. Netrebko’s first Wagnerian role was widely praised, Die Zeit emphasising the “richness and warmth that emanated from the rounded sound of a perfectly focused, excess-free vocalisation”. Lohengrin was released internationally on 7 July 2017 as Deutsche Grammophon’s first ever Ultra HD 4K opera recording (also available on DVD/Blu-ray and eVideo).
Another operatic highlight of 2016 was also recorded live by DG: Anna Netrebko’s portrayal of Manon Lescaut at one of three concert performances of Puccini’s work at last summer’s Salzburg Festival in which she starred opposite her husband, tenor Yusif Eyvazov. Manon Lescaut – Live from Salzburg was released in December 2016, coinciding with Netrebko’s appearances in the role at the Met.
Deutsche Grammophon has been with the soprano since the beginning of her remarkable recording career. Early highlights of Netrebko’s extensive discography include bestselling solo albums – Sempre libera, Russian Album, Souvenirs, In the Still of Night, and Anna Netrebko: Live at the Metropolitan Opera – and complete opera recordings of La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème and I Capuleti e i Montecchi, among others. DVD/Blu-ray highlights include La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, I puritani, Manon, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale and Anna Bolena, as well as 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.
The 2013 release of her first solo studio album in over five years – Verdi, featuring a superb collection of arias under renowned Verdi specialist Gianandrea Noseda – was followed by recordings of Eugene Onegin, Giovanna d’Arco and Il trovatore. In November 2014 came a stunning new recording with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin of Strauss’s Four Last Songs (paired with Ein Heldenleben), and in January 2015 she starred in the title role of a live recording of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. This was followed in October and November 2015 respectively by DVD/Blu-ray releases of Macbeth (from the Met, conducted by Fabio Luisi) and Don Giovanni (from La Scala, with Bryn Terfel, conducted by Daniel Barenboim). Verismo (September 2016) was recorded with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano. Featuring Netrebko’s portrayals of Puccini’s Manon, Butterfly and Tosca, Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur and Giordano’s Maddalena (Andrea Chénier), among others, it revealed the success with which the singer is continuing to expand her vocal and artistic range, not to mention earning her a Grammy nomination in the Classical solo vocal album category.
That versatility is showcased once again in her latest audio release for DG, Romanza, in which she ventures for the first time beyond the realm of the traditional core repertoire. The eighteen love songs that feature on the album were written by producer Igor Krutoy especially for Anna Netrebko and her husband Yusif Eyvazov. Set for release in September 2017 (and paired with a bonus disc of popular classical arias from the soprano’s DG catalogue), this anthology of tailor-made romantic ballads reflects the unique personal and artistic relationship between these two stellar artists.
The couple have just made their respective role debuts as Adriana and Maurizio in the Mariinsky’s new production of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur and will be appearing on stage together in the next few months in Berlin, Melbourne and Sydney, performing a selection of operatic arias and duets. Netrebko will be returning to Verdi for this summer’s Salzburg Festival, making her role debut as Aida, under the baton of Riccardo Muti. She then appears at the Vienna Staatsoper as Leonora and Adriana. Further highlights of the 2017-18 season include Andrea Chénier at La Scala, La traviata at the Paris Opéra, Macbeth at Covent Garden with Sir Antonio Pappano and Tosca at the Met.
Anna Netrebko has been awarded many honours and prizes over the course of her career so far. In 2005, she was awarded the Russian State Prize, the country’s highest award in the field of arts and literature. In 2008 she was given the title of “People’s Artist of Russia”, and in 2014 was invited to sing the Olympic Hymn live at the internationally televised opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Internationally, she has received three Grammy nominations, for her CDs Violetta, Russian Album and Verismo; 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 eleven German ECHO Klassik awards, including “Female Singer of the Year” in 2014 and 2016. In February this year she was granted the distinguished title of “Kammersängerin” at a ceremony at the Vienna Staatsoper, and on 7 May 2017, while headlining at the Met’s 50th-anniversary gala concert, Netrebko was named “Female Singer of the Year” at the International Opera Awards.