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A Night with Netrebko
on 17 May 2010
I am not always a fan of everything this singer does; her bel canto singing leaves something to be desired and her diction in some languages isn't great. But what I DO admire is her refusal to rest on her laurels, and instead explores a wide repertoire. This is what makes her an exciting performer: she takes risks (a rare thing today).
I was sad when she said, some time ago, that she was turning her back on Russian repertoire. Her Russian Album is one of her finest recordings. Happily she has relented and returned to her homeland (spiritually at least) for this recording.
Not all is perfect. Her voice often sounded a bit too unwieldy for the niceties of coloratura. On this evidence it has got larger and darker too, with the beginning of some vibrato problems. Nevertheless, no one since Vishnevskaya has sung these songs so convincingly (and Netrebko is sweeter toned than the magnificent Galina).
The Rimsky-Korsakov songs are the least well known. What a shame - they are enchanting and not without depth. The famous Rose and Nightingale has been recorded by Netrebko before - on her Sounvenirs album (with soupy orchestration). I prefer the original piano here (Barenboim no less). The Tchaikovsky songs have a different flavour and make this a really worthwhile and interesting disc.
To conclude: not as mellifluous or sheerly beautiful as one might expect, but nevertheless a really fascinating disc with some unjustly neglected music suitably and passionately revived.