Thursday, April 7, 2011

Netrebko as Anna: Can no one really touch her?

A lot of fuss is being made about Anna Netrebko's ability (or inability if you see it that way) to perform the title role in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. I've listened to the recordings and videos from the prima in Vienna and find her rather exciting, if not the last word (or even close) to real bel canto style.

Several friends have argued no one in the past - at least since Callas - can properly take on the role, and that "no one today" - or even in the last ten years can compete with Anna as Anna. I'd have to disagree.

Here is Carol Vaness, not a singer I (or anyone else) would typically associate with Donizetti, but here she is in an absolutely thrilling reading of "Coppia Iniqua":

Two more Anna's who take the unwritten high note option at the end adding a degree of frisson to the proceedings:

First up, Mariella Devia who seems as if by the role possessed - wonderfully so:

And finally, a Netrebko contemporary, Elena Mosuc, who brings a Sills-like razzle dazzle to the role, and interpolates (wildly) some thrilling high notes and sends the crowd into a frenzy!

So, in my opinion the notion that no one can touch Nebs is a faulty one. She's exciting but hardly the last word in the role.

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