Hot video: Anna Netrebko warms up for Dresden New Year

Not altogether clear what language she’s singing, and comments have been disallowed.


Netrebko Ausschnitt from Staatskapelle Dresden on Vimeo.


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anna netrebko dresden


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  • She is not a good singer but does seem to attract some sort of audience & however uninformed they are to the art of singing they like her. She does remind one of
    those chubby Matryoshka dolls & no matter what she sings or wears she
    always comes across as a provincial
    star .

    • She has been the most popular soprano in the world for several years. But to me, she just sounds like she has a wobble and she often looks 10 years older than she is. Others like her singing and looks…. that’s fine. Taste is subjective. I won’t be contributing any money to her projects.

    • Milka and Christy,

      Your lack of sophistication and rudeness astonishes me. Do either of you know anything about singing, opera aor music. I doubt it. You are both self-proclaimed arbiters for taste and seem to delight in Netrebko bashing. It is too bad that Norman Lebrecht does not have the courage to put you on moderation or ban you outright.

      Shame on you for rude behavior, poor ethics and simple arrogance. You are entitled to your opinion, but taking glee in bashing Netrebko is downright insulting behavior

      • Well, I thought my comment acknowledging her success and that others enjoy her singing was very fair. I’ve acknowledged her place at the top, that she routinely outsells others, and that many love her singing. Perhaps you may be a tad touchy on this issue?

        I find sometimes it’s difficult for some to understand that a singer they may love, others may not. I acknowledge Netrebko’s successes – including in the recent Macbeth. I am very knowledgeable about opera. I do not appreciate her myself. I’m sorry I do not agree with your position.

        But most of all, I will not contribute money to any project she is involved in for political reasons. I don’t request anyone else do the same. It is my choice and my decision.

        • She grew up 200 miles from Donetsk and it is entirely natural that she would support the opera company there in these difficult times.

          Are you just anti-Russian?

      • SDReader,

        I have never been anti-Russian. There are wonderful, brave people in Russia, and many Russians who are terrific here in the US. In the classical music world, the Russian diaspora has become extremely important to the success of smaller companies.

        I am anti signing a letter supporting Putin, standing by an illegal flag, and handing a check to a man the US prohibits from doing any business with US nationals and companies because of alleged ties to weapons smuggling and support for separatism.

        There are many organizations helping those within Donetsk, and I’m sure they would have accepted her assistance and delivered it.

        Regardless, why does it matter so much? It is my opinion. I have never been a Trebs devotee, despite understanding that many, many are. Now, I’ve made a decision based on my own research and knowledge not to support any of her projects. This is my right, is it not?

        • One that is a symbol of a group using military force to overthrow a legitimately elected government and publicly requests and accepts help in their military campaign from a foreign government and its military. If a group within Texas had launched military action against their own local government, then Mexico had sent tanks into Texas to “protect” Spanish speakers, killing 5000 people and displacing a million, and they created a flag for the New Mexico Republic, that flag would be illegal.

        • Oh… and if a Mexican singer had handed a check to a Mexican on a sanctions list for weapons smuggling and separatism, to be used at a theater in the occupied zone in Texas, where he had earlier led an uprising leading to, so far, 5000 deaths, that singer would be ostracized and perhaps put on a sanctions list.

  • Language is German and is the opening song of the character Sylva, Act I, from Kalman’s Die Csárdásfürstin. The most popular of all his operettas.

    As one of the “uninformed” I quite enjoyed it.

  • No New Year performance is scheduled in Dresden, afaik. It’s tonight, starting right now (22h00) on ZDF, a complete traversal of “Csárdásfürstin” with Thielemann conducting a starry cast, including Pavol Breslik and Juan Diego Flórez.

  • Sdreader, modesty restrains me….. ……….Ms. Netrebko is as bad or worse than
    the famous Australian yodeler Sutherland whom one couldn’t understand in any language.Mr. Breslik
    has a more accomplished technique as a singer than Netrebko but is a very poor artist in understanding how to use his voice in serving the music
    and text ..Florez is an acquired taste..
    All three are an example of the famous
    Anna Russell observation on singers
    having resonance where their brains ought to be .Mr. Thielmann being the
    artist will save the day and put all three singers in a good light .

    • The language is indeed German, and Netrebko isn’t at all hard to understand here at all. If you have trouble figuring out what language it is, Norman, that is probably because you don’t understand much German, as you have demonstrated on multiple occasions – which is actually a serious drawback for understanding the cultural and literary world of your favorite composer Mahler. If you can’t read – and thoroughly understand – the literature which inspired Mahler in the original language, you have no hope of really getting inside his mental world, as Mahler expert Bernstein once pointed out, too:

  • To Milka. Dear Milka, I am very surprised that you are not on a board of directors of Metropolitan Opera, La Scala or ROH. It is weird that Daniel Barenboim and Placido Domingo are not aware of your brilliant ideas and opinions about who is who in the opera world. With such deep understanding of opera you would be valuable asset to these places. Also, too bad that you did not give an advice to J.D. Flores prior to the scheduled concert in Dresden. I am sure, that the best lyric tenor of our times would not even sat his foot on the same stage with such, in your opinion, mediocre singer as Mrs. Netrebko is. I feel sorry that your talent of selection of opera singers is so highly underappreciated and wish you best of luck in your future efforts to restore the truth.

    • Dear Ark ,there are so many more important adventures than opera .
      One is too busy to address that now half
      dead art form other than to note it being almost dead .. Did you mean the
      ridiculous Domingo of the 3 tenors
      schtick ?and someone named” Flores”
      the best lyric tenor of our times ? much
      laughter here …of course you jest !
      If not , you have much to learn …….

  • Ms Milka, you are always the fist one to say some nasty things about Anna Netrebko. If you personally do not like her, its your own matter. But when you try to represent yourself as a major arbiter who understands singing and musical performance and other matters better than anyone in the world, I will ask you to express yourself less agressively. We can make our own choices without your pressing.

  • Norman, Just in case you might have taken certain strictures to heart about the need to be fully cognisant with the German language, may I point out that the link to a SPIEGEL article given by another contributor here nowhere confirms the assertion that Bernstein believed you had to be fully conversant with German literature in order to get inside Mahler’s mental world. What Bernstein does say in the article is that Mahler’s music is for him the essence of German music. There is, in fact, no reference to German literature anywhere in the article and the critic Hans Mayer expressly underlines the fact that Mahler’s music is autobiographical. It would in any case be absurd to argue that some present-day conductors of Mahler’s music, of which there are some quite distinguished exponents, couldn’t adequately do justice to the music without a background in German language and literature. Mahler’s music is much too universal to be put into that little cabinet.

  • Bravo Christy for your comments regarding Ms Netrebko’s attempted “apolitical donation” to the Donetsk Opera. Your Texas analogy makes the situation crystal clear for readers. Nicely written !

  • I also totally agree with you. I will not be supporting any projects where Ms.Netrebko is involved, nor supporting any of the other Russian artists who signed the petition in support of Mr.Putin’s actions in Crimea. As you said, there are plenty of other wonderful talented Russian artists. Let’s support them instead.

  • I wonder, what the above people who are mixing politics with art would say about Kalman himself. His Die Csárdásfürstin was played for the first time in 1915. No mention of war! No siding with Germany, Austria, etc. cause. And now, 100 years later, suddenly politics and art are intertwined! I believe, such an attitude is degrading art. I also believe, that if you have nothing good to say, then better say nothing. Obviously, everybody is entitled to his/her’s opinions. However, negativity in the present case stems mainly from superimposing art and politics. And this is outright wrong! Opera and operetta were invented by nobility for nobility. For older generations of nobility the idea of mixing art and politics would be simply unacceptable.

    • I believe the most obvious answer is that this is not 1915, we are not nobility (thankfully opera is now for everyone), and there is nothing I can do about artists who are no longer with us. 😉

      • Keep in mind, though, that the world is still being run by the very same nobility (in whatever field and form). And that this nobility do not give (you know what) to what the rest of us is thinking.In fact, they collect records on all of us based on what we say publicly and they are very happy when the rest is in darkness…

  • To Ark,

    By “the above people who are mixing politics with art”, I would have to disagree with you that it is those of us commenting on this blog : it is the Netrebko’s, Gergiev’s and Spivakov’s who have chosen to mix it. It is a shame and disappointment indeed, as these are all artists whom I greatly admire musically despite their personal political beliefs. By publicly stating, even brandishing their politics, it is THEY who have forced us, as audiences & as fellow performers to be aware of & complicit(or not) in their politics by listening to or performing with them. Choose a blind eye if you will for now: it’s your prerogative & completely understandable, if you have no particular personal ties to Russia or Ukraine. For those of us who do, or choose to be informed about the unfortunate situtation there, it is not so easy to pretend these artists’ personal beliefs are merely their own free right as individuals:THEY are the ones who have chosen to make public what could have been respected as their own private choice. I fully accept their right to state publicly what they feel they believe in, but then Ms.Netrebko, Mr. Gergiev & Mr. Spivakov shouldn’t be surprised if others who don’t share those views, do not want to work with them or listen to them.

    • Dear Katpal, if you, as you claim, know well history of opera, recall names of many singers under Hitler and Mussolini regimes. Most notable are Beniamino Gigli and Marica Rokk. Is their names linked with regimes they were representing nowadays? As far as I know, the answer is “NO”. What makes you think that the names you are mentioned are much less significant in the history of music? Furthermore, once you’ve touched them, you have to follow your own logic and include into list people like P.Domingo, D.Barenboim, and even J,.D.Flores who wholeheartedly are supporting mrs. Netrebko. Surely, you should go on and accuse administrations of MET, La Scala, Viena State Opera and so on…These are bastions of what I call “nobility”. Once you’ve made such an extension of your logic, you will realize how futile such efforts of yours are since it is the same nobility who put one nation against another and so on. Thus, please, then be consistent in your logical constructions and blame the right people if you cannot contain yourself …

  • The 12.31 comment by katpal from 6 pm makes good sense, while the same evening’s response by ark shows either inability or unwillingness to understand the situation.

    • To M2N2K. Should you be a scientist, say, in physics or mathematics, you would be aware of two world-wide depositories and (just type these addresses on the www and you will see what I am talking about). Those who contribute into one of these do not contribute to the other one. How come? Could it be that in science instead of one scientific truth there are many? was created exactly with the purpose to give a cahnce to scientists whose opinions differs from commonly accepted. It looks like a fair solution to the disagreements happening between scientists. This is wrong, however. In deposited scientific papers are written in accordance with the commonly accepted standards.That is with numerical data compared against experiment, with proofs, etc. At the same time those who publish at publish there only because there are no respectable scientific journals which would publish such type of papers. Should these two groups belong to different nations and should the war break, then the scientists contributing into would be completely defeated/destroyed/eliminated since what they GENUINELY believe is science, is actually not science at all ! In peaceful times, situation is simpler. Nobody who reads and contributes to will read, or quote papers from I am afraid, exactly the same situation exists in the domain of arts, and in opera in particular. If it was not clear from my previous post, I hope, this one makes my point loud and clear….

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