Russian Album

Works by / Werke von
Glinka · Prokofiev · Rachmaninov
Rimsky-Korsakov · Tchaikovsky
Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre
Valery Gergiev
Int. Release 27 Oct. 2006
1 CD / Download
0289 477 6151 8
Lyrics in Russian and English:
Lyrics in Russian, German and French:
0289 477 6151 8 CD DDD GH
Anna Netrebko presents the most beautiful arias in Russian repertoire

Track List

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
Iolanta Op.69, TH 11

Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943)
12 Songs, Op.21

Oh, Do Not Sing To Me (Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne) Op.4, No.4

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 - 1908)
The Tale Of Tsar Saltan

Act 2

Anna Netrebko, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

The Snow Maiden

Opera in four Acts with a Prologue


Anna Netrebko, Zlata Bulycheva, Ilya Bannik, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

Act 4

Anna Netrebko, Dmitry Voropaev, Vladimir Moroz, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre

The Tsar's Bride

Act 4

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804 - 1857)
A Life for the Tsar

Ivan Susanin (Gorodetsky)

Act 1

Anna Netrebko, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

Sergei Prokofiev (1891 - 1953)
War and Peace, Op.91

Anna Netrebko, Zlata Bulycheva, Dmitry Voropaev, Alexander Morozov, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943)
Francesca da Rimini op.25

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
Eugene Onegin, Op.24, TH.5

Act 1

Anna Netrebko, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

Total Playing Time 1:03:18

. . . soprano Anna Netrebko here sings a glorious selection of her native Russian music . . . Looking like a believable romantic beauty doesn't hurt; nor does having the voice of a dirty angel. How a slip of a girl produces such a rich sound is a mystery, but the mix of sensuality and purity is delicious.

Her repertoire brings every part of her creative personality alive and the results blaze with intensity. The voice is as lustrous, full-bodied and dark-hued as ever but with extra flashes of steel and silver -- perfect for cutting through the colourful orchestrations of Rimsky-Korsakov in arias from The Tsar's Bride and The Snow Maiden. She brings ecstatic pathos to an aria from Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, and is dazzling in Tatyana's Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin. With perfect idiomatic support from Gergiev, it shows Netrebko at the height of her powers.

The programme of Russian arias and three orchestrated songs has integrity and will introduce more cautious fans to some ravishing repertoire . . .

. . . her latest record confirms her stature as a genuine and serious artist . . . [the arias & songs] suit Netrebko¿s bright-edged Slavonic soprano to perfection. The radiant top register is the glory of this voice, compensating for a lack of colour in the lower notes that robs her singing of variety, and she is an idiomatic interpreter . . . Her timbre combines girlishness and dramatic power, whetting the appetite for her Tatyana. Gergiev¿s accompaniments are first-rate.

. . . Anna Netrebko is on incandescent form in this disc of relatively unfamiliar Russian arias. Interestingly, it also shows her in a new light. While previous discs have highlighted her range, her technique and, of course, her rich and glorious voice, this collection of songs and operatic arias demonstrates a quite different level of identification with her material, and the results have a core of inevitability and intensity about them that I haven't heard from her before. Here is scalp tingling beauty, a striking ease and naturalness of vocal production, and a sheer moment -to-moment excitement that it would be hard to imagine a non-native soprano producing. She brings everything to life . . . Valery Gergiev's conducting of his Mariinsky Orchestra wraps around her sound like a cashmere shawl . . . This is, undoubtedly, my disc of the year.

She is young, with real presence in the theatre, and with a voice that seems to know no fear . . . Francesca's aria "O weep not, my Paolo" from Rachmaninov's "Francesca da Rimini" is opulent and beautifully sung by Netrebko. As Antonida in her Act 1 Cavatina and Rondo from Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar" she lightens the voice to considerable effect. This is indeed a young woman waiting by the river for her man to return . . . that makes Netrebko such an exciting singer in the theatre. Too often she slips into dreamy reveries. There's fine soft singing in Rachmaninov's song "Sing not to me, beautiful maiden" and a melting tone in Marfa's Act 4 scene and aria from Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Tsar's Bride" . . . [Gergiev] is a generous collaborator. The perky little waltz that dances its way through Natasha's visit encounter with Anatol in "War and Peace" is as sweetly ironic as Prokofiev would have wanted.

HEAR: "The Russian Album" by sexy soprano Anna Netrebko . . . Think of her as the Anna Kournikova of classical music ¿ only with talent.

Netrebko may be a gorgeous media star, but the 35-year-old Russian soprano is also an inspired, immediately captivating vocal artist . . . This album, by far her best yet, showcases Netrebko in her native repertoire, and the Russian material boasts melodies to rival any Italian collection . . . Netrebko benefits from ideal partners . . . It's only January, but this disc will end up one of the year's best.

Netrebko reveals the beauty of Russian opera . . . deeply personal . . . Her "Russian Album" is a collection of some of the most beautiful songs and arias from the Russian repertoire. In addition to the wonderful melodies, the orchestrations are incredibly rich and well suited to the virtuoso forces of the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Gotta Love it! . . . Her new CD from Deutsche Grammophon, ¿Russian Album,¿ finds her lush, lyric voice in top form.

. . . it's musically the most interesting . . . she sings with luscious tone . . .

While this is arguably soprano Anna Netrebko's least "commercial" recital to date ¿ although it's already reached the top 10 on Germany's pop chart ¿ it's musically the most interesting.

Soprano Anna Netrebko gleams in this anthology of Russian music. Beautifully supported by conductor Valery Gergiev and his Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Netrebko deploys her formidable technique across a spectrum of tender musical emotions. The CD opens with a murmurous song by Tchaikovsky and two gems by Rachmaninoff. The Rimsky-Korsakov section finds Netrebko balancing playfulness and poignancy in "The Snow Maiden" and spinning out a long, verdant line in "The Czar's Bride." She builds a sweet sense of anticipation as a bride-to-be in Glinka's "A Life for the Czar" and joins tenor Dmitry Voropaev, mezzo Zlata Bulycheva and bass Alexandr Morozov in an extract from Prokofiev's "War and Peace." With the Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," Netrebko crafts an eloquent exposition of introspection and passion.

Soprano Anna Netrebko gleams in this anthology of Russian music. Beautifully supported by conductor Valery Gergiev and his Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Netrebko deploys her formidable technique across a spectrum of tender musical emotions.

During the past couple of years, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko has become opera's "it girl", drawing in besotted fans the world over . . .

. . . lovely to look at and just as lovely to hear on this new recording of songs from her homeland. . . . Netrebko's beautiful, rich voice soars in music she was born to sing

. . . a scorching hot star . . . What she has, in abundance, is charisma, or magnetism. She is . . . a real singing actress . . . ravishing and magnificent . . .

Anna¿s voice is now ideally suited to the songs and soprano arias of her homeland . . . My favourite track at the moment . . . is an arrangement by Michael Rot of Rachmaninov¿s Song Op. 21, No. 7 . . . I¿m in spine-chilling heaven throughout the two-and-a-half minutes of this ecstatically beautiful piece.

The lovely Anna Netrebko remains a glamorous singer, pure of voice, with always-musical phrasing and some exquisitely high soft singing. Particularly fine are a little-known Tchaikovsky Romance with castanets, bassoon, and piccolo adding color; the vivid, Italianate selection from Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar"; two lyrical Rachmaninov songs (here scored for orchestra); and the Letter Scene from "Eugene Onegin", which is delivered with the drama of a true singing actress . . . it's great to have this Russian repertoire sung so beautifully on CD.

. . . I for one was captivated by her lovely portrayal of Elvira and if one needed any further proof that Anna Netrebko is a sensationally talented vocalist, I would offer her "Russian Album" as Exhibit A . . . This is haunting vocalism -- perfectly so in her "War and Peace" aria. Natasha is a role she has made her own: a star-making portrayal she has performed around the world and which served for her official Metropolitan Opera debut . . . Netrebko is delightful in Glinka's intricate and lively Cavatina and Rondo, with sparkling coloratura. Glinka's music is unaccountably neglected, and what a case Netrebko makes for him! The Rachmaninoff songs are lovely, and the "Snow Maiden" aria makes one long for the performance and complete recording promised in the accompanying literature. The Letter Scene is brilliant, among the finest on records . . . Gergiev proves equal to Stokowski in that repertoire, and his conducting on the entire album goes beyond idiomatic to exciting, vital, and flawless -- Netrebko's artistic collaborator in every sense of the word. This is beautiful, largely unfamiliar repertoire sung to perfection. DG's engineers have ideally conveyed her not-easily-captured, rich, full-bodied spinto soprano. Truly one of the top vocal releases of recent times, this is a must.

. . . Anna Netrebko is a sensationally talented vocalist, I would offer her ¿Russian Album¿ as Exhibit A. (I can only imagine if these were scratchy shellac records -- if they bore the name, say Medea Mei-Figner or Antonia Neshdanova -- how record collectors would go wild for them.) This is haunting vocalism -- perfectly so in her ¿War and Peace¿ aria. Natasha is a role she has made her own . . . Netrebko is delightful in Glinka¿s intricate and lively Cavatina and Rondo, with sparkling coloratura. Glinka¿s music is unaccountably neglected, and what a case Netrebko makes for him! The Rachmaninoff songs are lovely, and the ¿Snow Maiden¿ aria makes one long for the performance and complete recording promised in the accompanying literature. The Letter Scene is brilliant, among the finest on the records . . . Gergiev proves equal to Stokowski in that repertoire, and his conducting on the entire Album goes beyond idiomatic to exiciting, vital and flawless -- Netrebko¿s artistic collaborator in every sense of the word. This is beautiful, largely unfamiliar repertoire sung to perfection. DG¿s engineers have ideally conveyed her not-easily-captured, rich, full-bodied spinto soprano. Truly one of the top vocal releases of recent times, this is a must.

. . . threadiness of timbre is normal for young coloratura sopranos, and falls off on its own in time. It has. What has emerged from that vocal cocoon is a voice of firm, radiant tone, laser-like focus and considerable expressive range . . . In her Russian Album, with Gergiev leading the Orchestra of the Mariinski Theatre, ideal musical partners in this repertoire, she engages. There isn't a slack moment. This music is mother's milk for Netrebko, and her investment in every note of it is unstinting. The frame is Tchaikovsky, whose music begins and ends the CD and breaks for his exquisite "Romance" (Op. 38, No. 6) midway. The opening Arioso from Iolanta, the story of a young woman awakened from blindness by love, is heart-wrenching in its limpid beauty. The finale, Tatyana's Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, emerges a probing exploration of the young heroine's disillusion and heartbreak. I've heard only great Tatyanas live, but Netrebko, who has yet to sing the part onstage, erases memories of all of them. Her word-centered delivery of the scene is complemented by the rhythmic freedom and perfectly gauged sense of coloration and weighting of the text throughout the CD. It steers clear of sensationalism going to the searing heart of Tatyana's drama. Similarly, in the rapturous, doomed sensuality of the excerpt from Rachmaninov's Francesca da Rimini, she unleashes soaring passions without a hint of oversinging. The second of the composer's two orchestrated songs, Op. 4, No. 4, my single favorite track, is rendered with almost unbearable tenderness. Four selections from operas by Rimsky-Korsakov, which Gergiev has worked tirelessly to restore to the respect they deserve, find her creating complete characterizations in the span of five minutes or less.

The best of them? Easy: Anna Netrebko's enchanting, masterful "Russian Album" . . .

. . . many of the tracks here have a cool, matter-of-fact quality mixed with an ache of sadness. So when the music calls for an emotional outburst, as in Rachmaninoff's "Ne poy, krasavitsa, prim ne" or "Onegin's" letter scene, Netrebko's emotion seems even greater, more thrilling. Thrilling, too, is Valery Gergiev's command of the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater.

Anna Netrebko und Rolando Villazón - die Chemie zwischen den beiden Stars harmoniert perfekt. Mit unbändiger Energie feuern sie sich gegenseitig zu immer neuen Höhenflügen an. Man hört und sieht ihnen staunend an, wie viel Spaß sie beim gemeinsamen Funkenschlag haben. Als sie im Januar 2005 "Roméo und Juliette" zum ersten Mal gemeinsam sangen, stellten sie das Opernhaus von Los Angeles auf den Kopf. Legendär wurde ihr "La Traviata"-Erfolg im vorletzten Salzburger Festspielsommer . . . Anna Netrebko hat den Sexappeal auf die Opernbühnen gebracht - mit dem betörenden, leicht verschatteten Timbre ihrer lyrischen Stimme, vor allem aber mit ihrer blendenden Erscheinung. Der schwarzgelockte Villazón ist dazu der feurige Latin Lover mit einem beweglichen Tenor, der die sinnlichsten Farben und Nuancen bereithält. Sie gibt zu, von ihm erst gelernt zu haben, auf der Bühne ganz und gar aus sich herauszugehen . . . Ihre Stimme fühlt sich in der italienischen Oper wohl, aber auch im heimischen Repertoire, wie ihr neues "Russian Album" eindrucksvoll beweist . . . wenn sie die Bühnenbretter besteigen, werden sie zum einmaligen, unzertrennlichen Traumpaar der Oper.

Und wieder staunt man beim Hören über die ungeheure Leuchtkraft von Netrebkos so schönem Sopran. Oder darüber wie sie die Seelenregungen ihrer Heldinnen herausarbeitete (Russian Album).

Auf den Händen getragen von Valery Gergiev und seinem Mariinski-Orchester, findet Anna Netrebko bei Liedern und Arien aus russischen Opern zur Bestform.

. . . schlank und geradezu edel im Ton . . . (Russian Album)

Jung und schön. Als Donna Anna bei den Salzburger Festspielen hat die Netrebko die Opernszene aufgescheucht. Da hätte wohl jeder gern der Don Giovanni sein wollen: Schwarzhaarig, jung, attraktiv, und fast noch mädchenhaft in ihrer Art vermittelte sie eine starke Ahnung davon, was den »Burlador de Sevilla« alle Regeln der Vorsicht vergessen und ins Haus einer befreundete Familie eindringen ließ . . . Die schöne Sopranistin ist . . . eine ernsthafte Sängerin . . . sie singt nicht mit typisch russischer, nach hinten verrutschter Kraft-Stimme, sondern schlank und geradezu edel im Ton . . . In den Ausschnitten aus Rimskij-Korsakows Opern verströmt die Sängerin eine ganze Palette von Farben, und in Prokofjews »Krieg und Frieden« trifft sie den einfachen, kunstvolksliedhaften Tonfall, der vom Komponisten angestrebt war, sehr genau . . . Wer Valery Gergiev für einen wüsten Pultfetzer hält, darf getrost die Ohren weit aufmachen und zuhören, zu welcher Intimität und Transparenz der Dirigent sein Mariinkij-Theater-Orchester anfeuert . . .

Ganz oben nichts Neues: Mit russischen Gefühlstönen bleibt die Goldkehle aus St. Petersburg unerreicht.

. . . wer immer noch behauptet, ihr Gesang sei nur hübsch, wird hier Ohren machen. Die Dunkelheit, die Geschmeidigkeit und der immer wieder aufblitzende dramatische Furor sind hinreissend. Die Höhe ein grosser Diven-Seufzer, die Mittellage lebendige Gestaltungsebene . . . zu finale erzählt sie die Briefszene aus "Eugen Onegin" so lebendig, als stände sie auf der Bühne. Das dritte und beste Netrebko-Rezital zeigt, dass diese Sängerin . . . mit ihrer Stimme . . . viele Grossartigkeiten zu bieten hat.

Es dauert nur wenige Töne, dann hat sie einen . . . Hier klingt zusammen, was zusammengehört . . . Und dann singt diese Frau ein kleines Arioso aus der Tschaikowsky-Oper "Jolanta", und man ist entzückt. Wegen dieser leuchtenden Sopranstimme, die später die Klangwogen des Orchesters überstrahlt, mehr aber noch wegen eines Gesangs mit so geheimnisvoll verschatteten Vokalen, dass man sofort den Eindruck hat: Hier geht jemand sehr genau und deutlich mit einer ihm vertrauten Sprache um. Der Normalhörer versteht kein Wort, weiß nicht einmal worum es geht, wird aber durch den Klang der Sprache in die Musik hineingezogen . . . das klingt gut.

Es ist die bisher schönste Solo-CD der Netrebko . . . mit dem "Russischen Album" erleben wir eine gefühlvolle junge Frau in unterschiedlichen Rollen, die in ihrer angeborenen Musiksprache von jene Emotionen erzählt, welche ihre Seele, ihr Gemüt bewegen, ihr Handeln bestimmen. Jede Szene hat Überzeugungskraft, stimmliche Schönheit paart sich mit Intensität des Audrucks, vor allem aber: Die Stimme der Netrebko hat jene Wärme, Sinnlichkeit, Leidenschaft, die aus Operfiguren Menschen macht.

Am 30.11. erhält Star-Sopranistin Anna Netrebko in Stuttgart "für ihre märchenhafte Karriere" den Bambi-Medienpreis für Klassik . . . Wer also immer noch glaubt, die Netrebko sei bloß eine bildhübsche Medien-Kreatur, der höre sich ihre neue Platte, das Russische Album, an. Da hört man, ohne sie zu sehen, wie einzigartig sie heute singt . . . November ist Netrebko-Monat . . . Es ist die bisher schönste Solo-CD der Netrebko und so etwas wie eine Heimkehr . . .

Lobenswert, die russische Oper der Romantik auch bei uns stärker zu verbreiten. Mit samtig weicher, leicht abgedunkelter Stimme und traumhaften Höhen gibt Anna Netrebko Kostproben ihrer Glanzrollen aus Prokofjews "Krieg und Frieden" oder die wunderbar frei und natürlich gestaltete Cavatine aus Glinkas "Ein Leben für den Zaren". Valery Gergiev und das Orchester "Mariinskij" begleiten die Netrebko ungemein feinfühlig, besonders in den melancholisch verträumten Szenen aus Rimski-Korsakows "Schneeglöckchen".

Von wegen trällerndes Glamour-Girl: Anna Netrebko beweist auf ihrem "Russian Album", dass sie auch die Charakterrollen von Prokofieff bis Tschaikowsky beherrscht. Unter Valery Gergiev, dessen Mariinsky-Orchester gefühlig assistiert, zeigt ihr farbstarker Sopran so viel Ausdruckstiefe wie nie. Ganz ohne altbackenen Schwulst glänzt die Neu-Österreicherin mit verhangenen, wunderbar aufblühenden Kantilenen. Hinreißend die Rachmaninoff-Lieder: sehr melancholisch, sehr anrührend.

Das [Timbre] der Netrebko wie dunkles Gold auf rotem Samt . . . Anna Netrebko formuliert beredt, faltet die Phrasen dramatisch auf, mit leuchtendem Ton, ohne das Sul-fiato-Singen und die flüssige Phrasierung zu verlieren. In ihrer Muttersprache stimmt auch das Wort-Ton-Verhältnis, ist nicht zugunsten des Klangs verschoben . . .

So luxuriös wie sich Anna Netrebko auf den Plakaten zur CD und dem Cover im weißen Pelz präsentiert, so luxuriös klingt die Stimme der Wahlösterreicherin in den russischen Arien und Liedern ¿ zum Dahinschmelzen schön. Warm, weich, frei und ausdrucksvoll. Russisches Sentimento setzt Anna Netrebko sparsam ein, stattdessen überträgt sie italienisches Belcanto auf die russische Arien wie der aus Glinkas »Leben für den Zaren« und die elegantissimo gesungene Walzer-Romanze von Tschaikowsky. Viele Farben hat die Stimme, die in den Liedern von Rachmaninow noch silbrig leicht wie eine Feder schwebt, in den großen Arien von Rimsky-Korsakov . . . Dass Melancholie, große Gefühle und die russische Oper Anna Netrebko am Herzen liegen, hört man in der Briefszene aus Tschaikowskys »Eugen Onegin«, in der die Stimme aufblüht und mit einer Ausdruckstiefe ins dramatische Fach spaziert . . . Purer Luxus für Ohren und Seele.

Anna Netrebko stellt nun zum ersten Mal ihre reine, kraftvolle Stimme in den Dienst russischer Komponisten und singt ein Programm mit einigen der schönsten Lieder und Arien aus deren Opern. Es ist eine äußerst persönliche Aufnahme . . . Welch ein fantastisches Team, um der Welt die Kostbarkeiten der russischen Oper nahe zu bringen!

Das russische Album von Anna Netrebko . . . ist bereits nach der Veröffentlichung auf dem achten Platz der Popcharts gelandet.

Die Netrebko führt durch eine wundersame, vielfältige Opernwelt, die ¿ mit Ausnahmen ¿ im Westen recht unbekannt ist . . . Die Netrebko singt mit leuchtendem, perfekt geführten Ton, dramatischen Aplomb und kluger Phrasierung. Selbst dem Sprachunkundigen fällt die unangestrengte Diktion auf, was die Eignung des Russischen zur Singsprache bestätigt.

Wie gut die russische Schule ist, und wie nachhaltig, hört man nun in den Arien von Prokofjew, Tschaikowsky oder in den Liedern von Rachmaninow. Netrebko hat . . . eine Innigkeit zur Musik und ihren Charakteren, eine Natürlichkeit, die im russischen Repertoire größer ist als im italienischen ¿ plötzlich leistet sie sich sogar vokale Zerbrechlichkeit. Valery Gergiev schwelgt dafür im russischen Klang. Eine durchaus spannende Mischung.

. . . die Sopranistin macht einem das Hören der Platte leicht. Da ist zunächst einmal die Stimme, welche die Konzentration auf sich zieht, dunkel gefärbt, mit einer Fülle, die sich in allen Lagen erhält. Der Klang kommt von weiter hinten in der Kehle als es bei Sängerinnen westlicher Provenienz der Fall zu sein pflegt ¿ in diesem Sinne verleugnet Anna Netrebko ihre vokalen »Wurzeln« nicht . . . Netrebko verbindet warmen Glanz mit guter Fokussierung und führt ihre Stimme ebenmäßig und beweglich. Auch zum Programm des Recitals findet man ohne Weiteres Zugang . . . Vor allem in weiten Phrasen punkten der Reiz des Timbres und das satte Legato . . . Zu den Höhepunkten der CD gehören . . . die Stücke Rimsky-Korsakows, wo das feine, dabei aber stets körperhafte Piano zu besonderer Wirkung gebracht wird. Am eindrücklichsten aber erscheint die Natascha in einer Szene aus Prokofjews »Krieg und Frieden«. Hier entfaltet das Organ Netrebkos eine Fülle von Farben, und im Zusammenspiel mit einer prägnanten Diktion und einer nuancenreichen Phrasierung erhält der Vortrag eine dringlichere Intensität.

Ohne Hellseherei kann man eines sicher sagen: Dieses Album mit russischen Arien und Romanzen wird sicherlich das meistverkaufte seiner Art werden . . . ein De-luxe-Programm allererster Güte . . . außer der Tatjana-Arie aus Peter Tschaikowskys »Eugen Onegin« (1879), die drängend-glutvoll dieses fein und überlegen zusammengestellte Programm beschließt, findet sich kein einziger Wunschkonzert-Hit ¿ aber viele seltene Perlen der russischen Oper. Am Pult seines so rauschhaft wie zart aufspielenden Mariinsky-Orchesters steht einmal mehr Valery Gergiev, der sich neuerlich als beredter Anwalt dieses Opernrepertoires erweist . . . In dieser elegisch-verträumten, romanzenhaft aufblühenden, melodische Linien getragen ausspinnenden Musikwelt bewegt sie sich traumsicher und trittfest. Die Stimme klingt klar und ist bestens fokussiert, die Höhe ist leicht, die Mittellage profund. Ihr Legato schwebt mit feinem Vibrato dahin ¿ und doch ist da immer dieser rauchige Hauch auf der Stimme, die sie schon nach wenigen Takten unverwechselbar macht.

Anna Netrebko spinnt aus diesem erlesenen Material feinste Koloraturen, verdichtet mühelos eine Linie zu dramatischem Ausdruck, behält selbst im Forte die perfekte Kontrolle über Atem und Ton . . . Die Auswahl für ein »Russisches Album« . . . gelang . . . ganz hervorragend . . . Romanzen von Rachmaninov singt sie mit erlesener Dezenz, strömendem Atem und überhaupt nicht langweilig; noch duftiger, zauberhafter gelingen ihr vier Szenen aus Opern von Rimsky-Korsakov ¿ Musik, über der man Raum und Zeit vergisst.

. . . sie hat der Klassik ein frisches Gesicht gegeben. Mit ihr ist Oper fast so cool wie Kino . . . Sie tut es gefasst, mit sicher geführter, fein abschattierter Stimme und befreit das Repertoire vom gaumigen Gurgeln vergangener Tage. Eine Wohltat . . .

Hier ist Netrebko ganz bei sich, angeleitet von ihrem Entdecker Valery Gergiev, in russisch-heimischem Repertoire von Tschaikowski, Rimski-Korsakow, Glinka und Prokofiew, das sie leider nur mehr selten auf der Bühne singt.

Sa voix superbe et désormais très bien conduite lui obéit au doigt et à l'¿il.

Une merveille, que ce disque . . . Sous la direction, aussi vigoureuse qu'inspirée, de Valery Gergiev, la voilà au meilleur d'elle-même. Et d'abord, quel programme! . . . on est plongé dans ce monde de la mélodie russe, si différent du lied allemand . . . tous les airs reflètent ce mélange de mélancolie et d'exaltation qui est le propre des Russes. Anna Netrebko est exquisément lyrique . . . qui est sûr, c'est qu'elle incarne à merveille la russitude, cette sentimentalité diffuse où s'abandonne les yeux fermés, avec l'impression que rien n'existe au-delà de cette palpitation chatoyante. Eh oui! "L'âme russe" est là, divinement présente. Dans la réussite de ce disque, impossible de ne pas souligner le rôle de Valery Gergiev et la beauté de couleurs sombres de son orchestre. L'ensemble ne forme pas une compilation d'airs connus, mais une plongée magique dans le pays de l'immense et de l'infini, qui ne confine, comme disait Reiner Maria Rilke, qu'avec Dieu.

. . . en el presente CD, tan astuta como afortunada, vuelve a sus raíces con un exquisito recital ruso desplegando su innegable talento. . . . Podría aventurarse que por su genuina intensidad y lirismo, Netrebko en "The Russian Album" es "The real thing".

Anna Netrebko about her Russian Album

Coming Full Circle

Although I came out of the tradition of the Russian vocal school and grew up with it, I have deliberately taken my time before going into the studio with repertoire from my motherland. But this project has actually been on our wish-list right from the beginning and fulfils a strong personal desire of mine. The “Russian Album" came into being in collaboration with Valery Gergiev: a programme of some of the most beautiful Russian songs and arias, recorded at the site of our first shared successes, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, where Gergiev discovered me and from where he has continually mentored me in my career.

Since Valery engaged me for his ensemble, the reception of Russian opera in the world has progressed in a wonderfully satisfying way: ten years ago Russian opera was much less known outside Russia, but that is changed now - and it's because Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky are working very hard and doing many wonderful new productions. It is to the performances of these productions in London, Milan and the US that I ultimately owe the beginning of my career - for example our appearance with Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila eleven years ago in San Francisco. I return there quite often, but that particular performance is still in people's memories. That means that this opera, this music, is still ringing in their ears. I think that's wonderful.

Now listeners can enjoy the fruit of our collaboration on the present CD, including some of the most beautiful moments in all of Russian opera, such as Natasha's aria “Èudo, kak khoroša ona" from Prokofiev's War and Peace or the “Letter Scene" from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

What is so special about a programme from the Golden Age of Romantic Russian opera? Quite simply this: apart from the wonderful melodies, there's the uniquely rich orchestration; and for me personally, it's of course wonderful that I can sing texts in my mother tongue. Five days to rehearse and sing a piece of Russian music was such a treat for me! Some of the operas are familiar to the international public, but this CD contains many undiscovered treasures. Valery explains that the concept of Russian opera was virtually non-existent 200 years ago. Now, it's possible to speak about more than just the five or six that are familiar all over the world - also about the incredibly beautiful operas by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glinka and the less familiar ones by Tchaikovsky. For example, Valery never doubted that Rimsky-Korsakov's Snow Maiden would be a great success. “You'd have to be deaf and blind not to like it," he always says. We can hardly wait to take this particular work around the world with the Mariinsky Opera Company.

Some of the roles on this CD I've already sung in Mariinsky productions, and, by the way, I'd love to sing them live on stage again. Officially I still belong to the company, and I try to be available whenever Valery needs me. But it's not easy to shift to the Russian idiom at short notice when you've just sung a big part in the Italian or French repertoire. I need time to get my voice into the right shape. Russian music is extremely emotional and requires a big, dark sound. So you have to start by working on your breath control. You really have to support the voice well, or you won't make it through to the end of the opera!

It means so much to me to be able to record Russian music with this wonderful orchestra, and with Valery. I consider it an honour to record these beautiful soprano arias in my homeland. Many of them have probably not been recorded for a long time - that makes the honour even greater. And maybe this has only been our first step together on CD, and many more recordings will follow in the future, maybe even DVDs dedicated to our beloved Russian repertoire. Valery has often emphasised that a main concern of his is opening up the treasure trove of Russian opera repertoire to the world - and I'm delighted to be a part of that!
Anna Netrebko


Anna Netrebko: Russian Album

After astonishing debuts as an unknown young singer, Anna Netrebko is now one of the world's favourite opera heroines. Her performances in opera and concert sell out immediately and her starry presence is continually in demand for high-profile dates such as this summer's gala concert at the Football World Cup in Berlin. Anna Netrebko's luscious soprano has glittered in Mozart, Verdi, Gounod, Donizetti and Puccini. She is preparing for a recording of La Bohème (Mimì) in April 2007. But although she's a thoroughbred, Russian-trained singer, Anna Netrebko has never focused on Russian repertoire for her recordings. Now, for the first time, she's ready to lavish her pure, powerful voice on composers from her homeland, in a programme of some of the most beautiful arias and songs in the Russian repertoire.

This is a deeply personal recording, made in the opera house where she first found stardom, St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, working with a conductor who has been her mentor and friend since he picked her for his opera company - Valery Gergiev. What a fantastic team to interpret the treasures of Russian opera for the world! Gergiev has often said he is happy to dedicate a large part of his life to doing just this, and Anna Netrebko is happy to be part of this mission.

"Ten years ago Russian opera was much less known outside Russia, but that is changed now - and it's because Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky are working very hard and doing many wonderful new productions," she says. Gergiev is justifiably proud of his cultural heritage. "The Russians have accomplished a great deal in opera. I think we regard ourselves as the fortunate bearers of one of the most important traditions in music history. And together with Anechka [his familiar name for Anna], in works like Prokofiev's War and Peace and Betrothal in a Monastery, we've tested it in the proving ground of London, Milan and America."

Anna herself is very pleased to have introduced American audiences to Glinka. "Eleven years ago we appeared in San Francisco in Ruslan and Lyudmila. I return there quite often and people still remember that occasion as something really significant. This opera, this music, is still ringing in people's ears, and I think that's wonderful."

Gergiev says Anna was largely responsible for this triumph. "We took an insane risk on entrusting Anechka, then a very young singer with no experience, with an absolutely central, extremely difficult, virtuosic role. But I thought to myself that if everything worked out, the success and the joy would be that much greater. And the result was tremendous. Anna showed she was ideal for the part - not just her vocal skill and power, but her acting. It was so natural. Seldom in life does a risk pay off like this one did."

Audiences can enjoy the fruits of their fantastic collaboration on this disc. Here is an aria from Anna's signature role, Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace, which launched her career in the West in 2002 with ecstatic reviews from critics. Gergiev says this role was made for her. "Even if she learns many more new parts, this will remain one of the chief roles in the life of Anna Netrebko. That's because this type of heroine perfectly fits her dramatic, vocal and musical possibilities. And she also corresponds ideally to the character's visual conception." Also included is Tatyana's heartrending Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Unlike many sopranos who tackle the role, Anna looks and sounds like the beautiful, passionate and naive young girl Tchaikovsky had in mind, although she hasn't yet sung Tatyana on stage. That is a treat still to come.

What is so special about this repertoire from the Golden Age of Russian Romantic opera? Anna answers immediately, "Apart from the wonderful melodies, there's such impressively rich orchestration!" Of course it helps that the drama is in her mother tongue. "To sing Russian music for five whole days is such a joy for me!" Some of the operas are familiar to international audiences but many are hidden gems. Gergiev explains: "Though the concept of Russian opera was virtually non-existent 200 years ago, it's now possible to speak not only of the five or six familiar operas, but also of those incredibly beautiful operas by Rimsky-Korsakov, Glinka, and the lesser known ones by Tchaikovsky." He is in no doubt that Rimsky-Korsakov's Snow Maiden is a winner. "It's an absolutely splendid opera. You'd have to be deaf and blind not to like it!" He says he can't wait to take it round the world with Anna Netrebko and his Mariinsky Opera Company.

Anna has sung some of these roles on stage in Mariinsky productions - she is still nominally part of the company, and always tries to be free when Valery Gergiev asks for her. But she admits it is a challenge to fly in from singing a major role in the Italian or French repertoire and to have to switch to the Russian idiom. "I have to allow time to put my voice in the right position. Although the roles I sing are not too heavy for me, Russian music is very emotional and it needs quite a heavy sound. So you must work on breath control. You have to support it well, or you won't make it to the end of the opera!"

Anna Netrebko has waited many years to make this Russian Album, and is delighted with the end result. "It means so much to me to be able to record Russian music with this wonderful orchestra, and with Valery. And I'm really happy to have the honour of recording these wonderful soprano arias in my homeland. Some of them may not have been recorded for a very long time, and that also is a very great honour." Gergiev adds, "I think this is only a first step we're taking today with Anna." He looks forward to capturing more of Anna's greatest moments on CD and DVD. Netrebko fans will be pleased to know that there may be more of this glorious music in the pipeline.

Amanda Holloway