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Anna Netrebko Reigns Supreme in 2016-17 with Verismo on DG, Plus House Role Debuts in New York, Paris, Moscow, and More

Last season reaffirmed Anna Netrebko’s standing as the undisputed prima donna of our time. Inspiring an eleven-minute ovation, her season-opening appearance in the title role of a new production of Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco at La Scala was, as the Guardian put it, “a first night to remember.” Likewise, her New York recital debut succeeded in selling out the Metropolitan Opera, and her first foray into Wagner as Elsa at the Dresden Semperoper proved a bona fide sensation—Die Welt reported that “some rave about their best Lohengrin ever.” Last season also marked an important personal milestone for the soprano: she married tenor Yusif Eyvazov in a ceremony in Vienna.

Now Netrebko launches 2016-17 with her first solo release in two years: Verismo, which captures her voice in full bloom in some of the most iconic arias and duets from the eponymous period in Italian opera. The new season showcases the soprano in four now-signature roles, namely Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Tchaikovsky’s Tatiana, and Verdi’s Lady Macbeth and Leonora, at the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Bolshoi Theater, where she makes her long-awaited house debut. As Opera News recently remarked, “Netrebko has now arrived at her artistic destination and has achieved unqualified success.

Verismo on DG

Recorded with Antonio Pappano and the Choir and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Verismo is due for release on September 2. A carefully crafted collection of title role arias and duets from Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Adriana Lecouvreur, Andrea Chénier, and more, it marks a major career milestone for the soprano, illuminating her ability to imbue the stylistic and psychological complexities of verismo with her characteristic intensity and expressive power.

On several tracks of the new album, Netrebko is joined by her new husband and frequent co-star, Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov. Having first met when starring opposite one another in Rome Opera’s Manon Lescaut in March 2014, the couple went on to marry this past December. Netrebko’s previous solo titles for Deutsche Grammophon – including Opera Arias (2003), Sempre Libera (2004), Russian Album (2008), and Verdi (2013) – were all bestsellers, and her discography has been recognized with two Grammy nominations, a Gramophone Award, the UK’s Classical BRIT Awards for “Singer of the Year” and “Female Artist of the Year,” and eleven German ECHO Klassik Awards to date.

Manon Lescaut: North American role debut at Met and house debut at Bolshoi

As Verismo’s repertoire reflects, Netrebko is making her mark on increasingly dramatic roles. It is arias and duets from Acts II and IV of Manon Lescaut that form the centerpiece of the new album, and Puccini’s flawed heroine is also the vehicle for her return to the Metropolitan Opera. Making her first North American appearances in the role that, at Rome Opera two seasons ago, “seemed made to measure for her talents” (Opera News), the Russian soprano stars opposite tenor Marcelo Álvarez under the baton of Marco Armiliato in Richard Eyre’s noir-inspired production (Nov 14–Dec 3).

Although it was in her native Russia that Netrebko made her stage debut, at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, she has yet to appear at the legendary Bolshoi Theater. At long last, she makes her company debut at the Moscow house, headlining Manon Lescaut with Yusif Eyvazov in a treatment by Adolf Shapiro (Oct 16–22).

Eugene Onegin’s Tatiana: opposite Hvorostovsky at the Met, plus house role debut in Paris

Next spring finds Netrebko back at the Metropolitan Opera, where she reprises another now-signature role: Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (March 30–April 22). In the same Deborah Warner production with which Netrebko opened the Met’s 2013-14 season, she will be joined by fellow Russian superstar Dmitri Hvorostovsky, with whom she has long enjoyed a close musical collaboration. With Robin Ticciati on the podium, their final performance will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world, in the Met’s Live in HD series. Having graced the award-winning series each season since its inception ten years ago, Netrebko is the acknowledged face of The Met: Live in HD; click here to see a compilation of her Met: Live in HD highlights.

Later next spring, the soprano revisits her Tatiana portrayal in her house role debut at the Paris Opera, where she appears opposite Peter Mattei in Willy Decker’s celebrated staging, with Edward Gardner leading from the pit (May 16–31).

Lady Macbeth at Bavarian State Opera

Marking a key turning point in her career, it was at the Bavarian State Opera that Netrebko gave her first performances as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth, before “pull[ing] off one of the greatest triumphs in recent Met history” (Bloomberg) in the same role, when New York magazine reported: “Maybe she was just born to sing this role. … Her performance is an explosion of graceful filigree, scalding arias, and vocal intensity.” The New York Times agreed:

“You knew the role was hers. … This was incisive, exacting Verdi singing, with gleaming top notes. She is a soprano with star power in the best sense, a charismatic expressivity that pervades every element of her performance.”

Captured live in HD and subsequently released on video, it was this that scored the soprano the 2016 ECHO Klassik Award for Female Singer of the Year. Now, in the same Martin Kušej production of Macbeth in which she first portrayed Verdi’s anti-heroine, she returns to Munich in a cast with Franco Vassallo and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Dec 18–27).

Leonora in Il trovatore at Vienna State Opera, and more

Leonora is another of the Verdi icons with which Netrebko has recently dominated productions from the Met to the Salzburg Festival, where her account of the role was “completely authoritative” (Gramophone). At the Vienna State Opera this winter, she premieres a new production of Il trovatore by Daniele Abbado (Feb 5–18). She sings opposite Roberto Alagna under Marco Armiliato, who conducted her first Met performances in the role, as documented in the 2016 season premiere of PBS’s Great Performances at the Met.

Two more title roles round out Netrebko’s operatic season. She returns to La Scala as Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata (March 9–14), bringing the one-time signature role out of retirement for three farewell performances in Liliana Cavani’s classic production, and stars in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur – as featured on Verismo – at the Mariinsky Theatre (June 19 & 22). She also undertakes multiple concert engagements, making a series of high-profile appearances with Yusif Eyvazov at the Cologne Philharmonie (Sep 1), the Philharmonie de Paris (Feb 27), and other key international venues in cities from Toronto to Muscat, Oman (see full tour details below); as well as headlining a pair of star-studded gala concerts in New York: the annual Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala, now back at Carnegie Hall (Oct 30), and the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th Anniversary Gala, which celebrates half a century in the company’s current home (May 7).

To download high-resolution photographs, click here.

Anna Netrebko: 2016-17 engagements

Sep 1–Oct 1
Concerts with Yusif Eyvazov, tenor
 Sep 1: Cologne, Germany (Kölner Philharmonie)
Sep 7: Sochi, Russia (New Wave Hall)
Sep 29: Budapest, Hungary (Palace of Arts)
Oct 1: Moscow, Russian Federation (Barvikha Luxury Village Concert Hall)

Oct 16, 19, & 22
Moscow, Russia
Bolshoi Theater (house debut)
Puccini: Manon Lescaut (title role)

Oct 30
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
2016 Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala

Nov 14, 18, 25, 30 & Dec 3
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Puccini: Manon Lescaut (title role; house role debut)

Dec 18, 21 & 27
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper
Verdi: Macbeth (Lady Macbeth)

Feb 5, 9, 12, 15 & 18
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Staatsoper
Verdi: Il Trovatore (Leonora; new production)

Feb 27 & March 3
Concerts with Yusif Eyvazov, tenor
Feb 27: Paris, France (Philharmonie de Paris)
March 3: Muscat, Oman (Royal Opera House Muscat)

March 9, 11 & 14
Milan, Italy
Teatro alla Scala
Verdi: La Traviata (Violetta)
March 30; April 3, 7, 12, 15, 18 & 22*
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin (Tatiana)
* Final performance will be broadcast worldwide in Met’s Live in HD series

April 25 & 30
Concerts with Yusif Eyvazov, tenor
April 25: Toronto, Canada (Four Seasons Center)
April 30: Calgary, Canada (Jack Singer Concert Hall)

May 7
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
50th Anniversary Gala Concert

May 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, & 31
Paris, France
Opéra National de Paris
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin (Tatiana; house role debut)

June 19 & 22
St. Petersburg, Russia
Mariinsky Theatre
Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur (title role)

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© 21C Media Group, August 2016

Photo:Kirk Edwards

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