COMPOSERS: Bellini, Berlioz, Donizetti, DvorŠák & Puccini, Gounod, Massenet, Mozart
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Anna Netrebko
WORKS: Arias by Mozart, Berlioz, Massenet, Donizetti, Bellini, Gounod, DvorŠák & Puccini
PERFORMER: Anna Netrebko; Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna PO/Gianandrea Noseda
CATALOGUE NO: 474 240-2
It’s not all that long since Anna Netrebko burst upon the operatic world, first in St Petersburg and then in San Francisco. With gorgeous looks allied to a sparkling soprano, she was perfect casting as Glinka’s fairytale princess Ludmila, but it was clear that her voice would take her in a different direction from that of most other Russian sopranos. Now, in her first recording since being signed to DG, she shows where she is heading: indeed, she has already sung several of these French and Italian roles, and she projects some of the bigger parts with a power that would have been hard to predict just a few years ago.
In spite of lively yet sympathetic accompaniments from the Vienna Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda (a one-time Kirov Opera colleague) and recent coaching from Renata Scotto, her opening Mozart arias (Ilia and Donna Anna) still sound a little undercharacterised. Beautiful singing is not enough here, and she could make more of the words. But once we reach Teresa’s plaintive aria from Act I of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini, there is real presence, and she glitters as Massenet’s Manon while also finding pathos. Her bel canto numbers from Lucia di Lammermoor and La sonnambula show off her pearly tone and line-spinning musicality, and she is very moving in a refreshingly unindulgent account of Rusalka’s ‘Song to the Moon’. The full, balanced recorded sound helps to make both her brilliant Marguerite and coquettish Musetta equally delightful.