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Anna Netrebko returns to the stage for Lucia di Lammermoor

Anna Netrebko makes her highly-anticipated return to the stage this January, following a six-month maternity leave, to sing the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, first at the Mariinksy Theatre in her hometown of St. Petersburg on January 14, and then at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on January 26. (The Russian soprano and her fiancé, bass-baritone Erwin Schrott, gave birth to their son, Tiago Aruã Schrott, on September 5, 2008.) The Metropolitan Opera production marks the first time the Russian soprano has performed the role in New York. She will be partnered onstage with tenor Rolando Villazón, in their first joint appearances at the Met since April 2007, when the company celebrated its 40th anniversary at Lincoln Center with a gala featuring them. The two star singers released an album of duets on Deutsche Grammophon in 2007 that became an international bestseller.

Anna Netrebko’s February 7 performance of Lucia di Lammermoor will be transmitted by The Met: Live in HD to movie theaters worldwide, making this her third consecutive Live in HD transmission from the Met. All four of her Met performances of Lucia are sold out. In a recent interview with the Metropolitan Opera’s Matt Dobkin, published in January’s Met Playbill, the diva talks about making her return to the stage. Excerpts follow:

Matt Dobkin: This is your first time singing Lucia at the Met. What’s your history with the role?

Anna Netrebko: The first time I heard Lucia I thought, “Oh, my God, how can anybody sing that? No way!” But later I tried it, and immediately, from the first phrase, it felt so good.

MD: Musicologist Philip Gossett has composed a new cadenza for the mad scene especially for you. How did this idea come about?

AN: When I sang the role in Los Angeles, I realized that everything was very comfortable – but this cadenza scares me. But what you do in the cadenza is up to the soprano – you can sing it without any instrument, you can add notes – whatever you want. The only thing is, it has to be spectacular!

MD: What’s your approach to the character of Lucia?

AN: Lucia can be done in many different ways. The craziness can be different. Lucia can be funny cuckoo, she can be evil cuckoo, she can be sad-and-heartbroken cuckoo. It’s really up to you. And it really depends on the staging. Mary Zimmerman’s production is very beautiful, and there’s a lot of freedom for the singers. I will have great partners, so I think we can create something very special.

Following her Met Lucia, Anna Netrebko continues on to London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for performances as Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, opposite Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca’s Romeo, in March 2009. The occasion marks Netrebko’s first performance of the bel canto role since her triumphal debut at the Opéra National de Paris, Bastille last June. Netrebko and Garanca’s recording of the opera, made during a performance in Vienna in spring 2008, will be released by Deutsche Grammophon to coincide with their London appearances.

In June, Anna Netrebko returns to San Francisco Opera, where she made her North American debut in 1995, for a run of performances as Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata. Maestro Donald Runnicles, a longtime colleague of Netrebko’s, conducts his final production as Music Director of the San Francisco Opera. Netrebko also presents her critically acclaimed portrayal of Violetta earlier in the spring at the Vienna State Opera and, in her debut, at the Zurich Opera. Other highlights from Netrebko’s spring and summer 2009 calendar include Lucia at the Vienna State Opera and her return to the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for Mimì in La bohème. On the concert stage, Netrebko performs with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in May at London’s Royal Festival Hall and in Braunschweig. Over the summer of 2009, she returns to the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden for the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolantha and performs a recital with Daniel Barenboim in Salzburg.

Released last November, Souvenirs, Anna Netrebko’s fourth solo album for Deutsche Grammophon, has received substantial praise from critics: it has been made an Opera News “Critic’s Choice” and a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”, besides being named one of NPR’s “Best CDs of 2008”. In its review of the recording, Opera News wrote, “Anna Netrebko’s voluptuous voice and extroverted delivery are right at home in this splashy recital of light fare drawn from operetta and song literature.” Netrebko can be seen performing selections from Souvenirs on television screens across the US in 2009 in a Great Performances special on PBS titled Domingo, Netrebko, & Villazón: Three Stars in Vienna. The program was recorded last June, when the three singers performed an outdoor concert in front of more than 10,000 people at the Imperial Park of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. Check local listings for show times.

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Anna Netrebko – Souvenirs
1. EMMERICH KÁLMÁN (1882-1953): Heia in den Bergen from Die Csardásfürstin (Leo Stein, Béla Jenbach)
2. RICHARD HEUBERGER (1850-1914): Im Chambre séparée from Der Opernball (Victor Léon, Heinrich von Waldberg)
3. FRANZ LÉHAR (1870-1948): Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss from Giuditta (Paul Knepler, Fritz Löhner)
4. GUSTAVE CHARPENTIER (1860-1956): Depuis le jour from Louise (Gustave Charpentier)
5. JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-80): Barcarole from Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Jules Barbier)
6. RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Cäcilie Op. 27, No. 2 (Heinrich Hart)
7. EDWARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Solveigs Sang from Peer Gynt (Henrik Ibsen)
8. ANDRÉ MESSAGER (1853-1929): Lorsque je n’étais qu’une enfant from Fortunio (G. A. de Caillavet, Robert de Flers, after Alfred de Musset)
9. ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Kdyz mne stará matka, Op. 55, No. 4 (Als die alte Mutter) (Adolf Heyduk, arr. Jiri Teml)
10. RICHARD STRAUSS: Wiegenlied, Op. 41, No. 1 (Richard Dehmel)
11. NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): Ne veter, veya s vïsotï, Op. 43, No. 2 (Not the wind, blowing from the heights) (Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, arr. Andreas N. Tarkmann)
12. NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Vostochnïy romans: Plenivshis’ rozoy, solovey, Op. 2, No. 2 (Eastern Song: Enslaved by the rose, the nightingale) (Aleksej Vasil’yevich Kol’tsov, arr. Andreas N. Tarkmann)
13. TRAD. JEWISH: Schlof sche, mein Vögele (arr. Friedrich Meyer)
14. ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER (b.1948) Pie Jesu from Requiem
15. REYNALDO HAHN (1874-1947): L’Énamourée (Théodore de Banville, arr. Andreas N. Tarkmann)
16. CARLOS GUASTAVINO (1912-2000): La rosa y el sauce (Francisco Silva, arr. Guillo Espel)
17. GERÓNIMO GIMÉNEZ (1854-1923): La Tarántula from La Tempranica (Julián Romea)
18. LUIGI ARDITI (1822-1903): Il bacio (Gottardo Aldighieri)

Anna Netrebko, soprano
Elina Garanca, mezzo-soprano (track 5); Piotr Beczala, tenor (tr. 2); Andrew Swait, boy soprano (tr. 14)
Prague Philharmonic Choir (tracks 1, 5, 13, 14) / Chorus Master: Lukás Vasilek
Prague Philharmonia / Emmanuel Villaume

Anna Netrebko’s recent and upcoming releases

Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Deutsche Grammophon)
Two-CD set, available in spring 2009
Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Joseph Calleja, Robert Gleadow, Tiziano Bracci; Wiener Symphoniker / Fabio Luisi; Wiener Singakademie

CD, available now (Deutsche Grammophon)
Anna Netrebko
Works by G. Charpentier, Dvorák, Giménez, Grieg, Guastavino, Hahn, Heuberger, Kálmán, Léhar, Lloyd Webber, Messager, Offenbach, Rimsky-Korsakov, R. Strauss
Elina Garanca, Piotr Beczala, Andrew Swait; Prague Philharmonia / Emmanuel Villaume

Massenet: Manon
Two DVD-set, available now (Unitel)
Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Alfredo Daza, Christof Fischesser, Remy Corazza, Arttu Kataja, Hanan Alattar; Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim

Massenet: Manon
Two Blu-ray Disc-set, available now (Unitel)
Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón

Bellini: I Puritani
Blu-ray Disc, available now (Deutsche Grammophon / MET)
Anna Netrebko, Eduardo Valdes, Maria Zifchak, Franco Vassallo, John Relyea, Eric Cutler, Valerian Ruminski; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra / Chorus and Ballet / Patrick Summers

The Opera Gala – Live from Baden-Baden
Blu-ray Disc, available now (Unitel)
Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier; SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg / Marco Armiliato

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Blu-ray Disc, available now (Unitel / Salzburger Festspiele)
Anna Netrebko, Bo Skovhus, Dorothea Röschmann, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Christine Schäfer, Eva Liebau; Wiener Philharmoniker / Nikolaus Harnoncourt

The Berlin Concert: Live from the Waldbühne
Blu-ray Disc, available now (Unitel)
Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, Rolando Villazón; Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin / Marco Armiliato
Anna Netrebko: upcoming appearances
January 14 & 17
Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
Lucia di Lammermoor / title role

January 26 & 29; February 3 & 7*
Metropolitan Opera, New York
Lucia di Lammermoor / title role
*The Met: Live in HD broadcast

March 2, 5, 7, & 30; April 2, 7, & 11
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
I Capuleti e i Montecchi / Giulietta

March 14, 17, 21, & 24
Vienna State Opera
Lucia di Lammermoor / title role

April 22, 26, & 29
Zurich Opera (debut)
La traviata / Violetta

May 16
Braunschweig, Germany
Concert with Dmitri Hvorostovsky

May 19
Royal Festival Hall, London
Concert with Dmitri Hvorostovsky

May 24, 28, & 31
Bavarian State Opera, Munich
La bohème / Mimì

June 13, 16, 19, 25, & 28
San Francisco Opera
La traviata / Violetta

July 18, 21, 24, & 27, 2009
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden
Iolantha / title role

August 17, 2009
Salzburg Festival
Recital with Daniel Barenboim

January 14, 2009

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