Monday, August 7, 2017

Anna Netrebko Sings Her First ‘Aida’ in Salzburg

by Zachary Woolfe

New York Times

August 7, 2017

For those of us who admire the soprano Anna Netrebko, it’s been a heady time. During the past few years, as her voice has darkened and swelled, she’s added a flood of new roles by Puccini, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and even Wagner that demand lyric sensitivity but also searing power.

Tosca comes next season, and Maddalena in “Andrea Chénier.” But first, she has taken on one of the pinnacles, Verdi’s Aida, in a coolly impersonal production that opened on Sunday as the centerpiece of this year’s Salzburg Festival. It brings together Ms. Netrebko for just the second time with Riccardo Muti, perhaps our finest Verdi conductor, and pairs them with the celebrated photographer and video artist Shirin Neshat, directing her first opera.

Ms. Netrebko is ready for Aida — or at least ready to spend more time with her. Her arias on Sunday were steady, careful, earnest. Like everyone who works with the exacting, showboat-phobic Mr. Muti, she sang with clean, even modest classiness. So too did the tenor Francesco Meli, a polished, sweet-toned Radamès, and, as the jealous Amneris, the mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, restrained to the point of weakness.


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