Wednesday, March 29, 2017
We present, by popular request, a revised Slipped Disc power list: 1 Anna Netrebko and Yusuf Eyvazov 2 Minnesota music director Osmo Vänskä and concertmaster Erin Keefe 3 Powerhouse Daniel Barenboim, pianist and festival director Elena Bashkirova 4 LSO chief Sir Simon Rattle, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena 5 Boston chief Andris Nelsons, hyper soprano Kristine Opolais 6 Trumpeter Alison Balsom and new husband, director Sam Mendes 7 Tenor Roberto Alagna, soprano Aleksandra Kurzak 8 Soprano Sonya Yoncheva, conductor Domingo Hindoyan 9 Soprano Elina Garanca, conductor Karel Mark Chichon 10 Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky and pianist Viktoria Postnikova, together since 1969 11 Conductor David Robertson and pianist Orli Shaham 12 Composers Kaija Saariaho and Jean-Baptiste Barrière 13 Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, conductor Rafael Payare 14 Glyndebourne hosts Gus Christie and Danielle DeNiese 15 Violinist Nicola Benedetti, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich 16 Composer György Kurtág, pianist Marta Kurtág 17 Israeli composers Noam Sherriff and Ella Sheriff 18 Met boss Peter Gelb, conductor Kerry-Lynn Wilson 19 Pianist David Fray, director Chiara Muti 20 Cellist David Finckel and pianistWu Han, chamber music entrepreneurs
The magnificent mezzo shares some thoughts on her 89th birthday: ‘When Jon Vickers sang … I began to weep on the stage’ ‘There is no such thing as the best: if you say today that Anna Netrebko, who has lots of promotion, is the best opera star in the world, this is not true.’ ‘Maria Callas did not have a beautiful voice, but what she made of it, the interpretation – unbelievable!’ ‘Ich würde nie wieder Sängerin werden.’ ‘At my funeral I want Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt Abhanden gekommen. Sung by me, of course. But I’m not sure which recording.’ Many more happy birthdays, Christa Ludwig! Read more here.
Statement by the Vienna State Opera: Dmitri Hvorostovsky is postponing scheduled recitals in Kaliningrad and Minsk over the coming week and canceling his Wiener Staatsoper recital on March 7 after being advised by his doctors to continue treatment for his brain tumour during this period. The Wiener Staatsoper is currently looking for a replacement, which will be announced as soon as possible. In a statement, Dmitri Hvorostovsky said, “I had been greatly looking forward to these recitals, and it truly pains me to have to withdraw from them. However, right now I must follow doctor’s orders and focus on my recovery. I sincerely appreciate all of the love and support that has been shown to me by my family, friends, and fans.” Hvorostovsky plans to return to performing in April with a concert in Toronto with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov and a recital in Dublin.
Arturo Toscanini, asked what was required to cast Il Trovatore, is said to have replied: ‘Only the four best singers in the world’. Vienna did not quite achieve that elite distinction in its first new Trovatore of the 21st century, but it came close, breathtakingly close. It is hard to imagine there is a more moving Leonora anywhere at the moment than Anna Netrebko, visually eye-catching and vocally incomparable. She commands the stage with ease and uses her pianissimo to even greater effect than her formidable great fortes. Roberto Alagna gave his all as Manrico, sometimes more than his all, so determined was he to surmount the massed sound of two armies and an orchestra. In tender moments, notably in duet with his doomed mother Azucena, he was compassion itself. Luciana D’Intino’s Azucena walked the edge of madness across four acts while simultaneously giving the impression of being the only sane person on stage, secure in her vocal serenity. Ludovic Tezier was beyond evil as the Conte di Luna, expressing his awareness of the wrong he was doing with several shades of musical subtlety. Daniele Abbado directed with taste and discretion, setting the opera in the Spanish Civil War; Marco Armiliano conducted with an Abbado-like cohesion; and the chorus and Vienna Philharmonic orchestra were, as so often, in a class all their own. The bonus? Jongmin Park, was a flawless Ferrando, rolling out the complicated backstory without one superfluous gesture. A Vienna ensemble member, aged 30, he may well be the next great bass. When opera is this intense, you wonder why it can’t always be like this. Netrebko with conductor Armiliato. Photo (c) Michael Poehn
Daniele Abbado’s new setting of Il Trovatore, the first new production since 2001 in the house where his father was once music director, resets Verdi’s masterpiece intriguingly in the Spanish civil war. Netrebko sings Leonore. Ludovic Tézier is Conte di Luna. Roberto Alagna sings Manrico. Marco Armiliato conducts. Slipped Disc will be there.
Music director Riccardo Chailly has announced that the 2018 season with open with Andrea Chénier, starring Anna Netrebko and her husband Yusif Eyvazov. When was a major-house opera season last launched by a married pair of singers? Quiz fiends, here’s your chance.
Great opera singers