Anna Netrebko is working on her German

Anna Netrebko is working on her German


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2016

The Russian-Austrian soprano tells Das Opernglas, out today, that she has set aside the whole of April to master the German language, in readiness for her Wagner debut as Lohengrin’s Elsa in May.

Christian Thielemann will conduct the production in Dresden. He’ll make sure she speaks good German.

anna netrebko bed


  • Brian B says:

    Domingo never did, why should she have to?

    • Max Grimm says:

      Some might consider it appropriate for a person with Austrian citizenship & passport since 2006 to be able to speak at least a little German.

      • Frederick West says:

        Agree entirely, and she won’t get through much in just a month, let alone ‘master’ the language.

        • Eddie Mars says:

          Она уже хорошо разговаривает по немецкий. Задача теперь – освоить язык, чтобы свободно петь Вагнера. Но ты прекрасно по русский говоришь а, Фредди?

          • Frederick West says:

            Ooh look! Someone must have released a new set of emojis. How exciting.

          • Max Grimm says:

            “Она уже хорошо разговаривает по немецкий.”

            As I don’t know her personally, that may very well be the case. But why then does she continue to speak English, when in Germany/Austria, conversing with German speaking journalists or a German speaking audience?

          • Eddie Mars says:

            Why do we all write in English on the SD messageboards? Because English is the *standard* international language of communication.

            Look at the reaction above, when a monolingualist is confronted with something not in English? Laughable. Some pathetic jabber about emojis.

            Ms Netrebko was, of course, married to an Austrian singer for some years, and I bet they were not chatting to each other in Russian.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            Frederick, old bean!

            If you’re finding it dashedly tricky to manage foreign lingo, you could always resort to SHOUTINGIN ENGLISH – the habitual way in which Anglo-Saxons try to interact with the bally wops and dagos?

            Or try to do a drawing of what you want, on a piece of paper?

            I’m sure it will be a spiffing success for you.

          • Max Grimm says:

            I see your point about English being the standard international language, but don’t see why it should be used on local broadcasts or in conversation with local audiences in non-anglophone countries, if one is capable of speaking the respective language on a sufficient level.
            Whatever it may be though, it was merely curiosity, as I’m not all that interested in what AN has to say but more in what/how she sings.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            I haven’t heard her live since her days at the Mariinsky, when she was still singing Lyric Soprano roles. Of course, there have been broadcasts etc, but I know from my own experience how much can be faked at post-production stage 😉

            [For example, I heard her in the Mariinsky War & Peace. Gergiev “sat” on the orchestra, or she would have been drowned out. In the lyrical moments she was fine, and of course she acts and dances beautifully – but at that time she lacked the heft for the big moments, in a role which people here still associate with Vishnevskaya.]

            I would be interested to know how she is singing now, and what the venture into Wagner will produce?

            Frankly what she always previously sang best was Mozart (Mozart is rarely well-sung in Russia, there’s no school of it – so she was a shining star) and I rather regret that she’s been ‘pushed’ into heavy stuff which isn’t her real metier. She learned her craft with a venerable old lady singer who lived in Astrakhan – she used to go down there for lessons. Sadly the old lady died many years ago – I don’t know who is advising (mis-advising) her career these days?

            She said in a TV interview last year that she wants to sing Lady Macbeth. Whether this meant Verdi or DSCH, we never found out. I truly believe Katerina Izmailova ought to be sung in a deliciously lyrical way, and not the usual Soviet tubthumper we so often get. Even so, the orchestral forestation is extremely dense, and you need “blade” (and not heft) to pierce it.

            She is a wonderful and dedicated performer, and I admire her enormously. I fear she is getting poor career advice from people who have a financial interest in channeling her into Wagner & R Strauss… when her natural voice is not of that kind 🙁

            Russia has so many astonishing singers, though. I cannot for the life of me understand why we never hear more from the wonderful tenor Gubsky.

          • me! says:

            she got wonderful reviews for her Macbeth, which was over a year ago.

          • Mick says:

            Google Translate are getting more intelligent these days. Can’t say the same about you Eddie Mars.

          • Mick says:

            Eddie, what’s going on? I only got your lovely comments in my mail, has Mr. Lebrecht removed them?? Such a shame! I especially liked the one with the “mollusc” and the car wash

          • Dennis says:

            People write in English in the SD comments because that is the native language of the blog and its proprietor, not because it is simply some international default standard. If Mr. Lebrecht were German or Russian then I would expect those languages to be the norm for use on the site. As it is, it simply makes no sense to post a long reply in Russian here, without translation or explanation, knowing few will understand (or, frankly, care). The point of language is to communicate. Or does that commentator just want us to clap and pat him on the back for speaking Russian?

          • Mick says:

            He can’t speak any Russian, that’s why I mentioned Google Translate (or whatever other crap he uses). But he seems to be mute now, maybe finally banned from here. Good riddance.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    She’s been talking about improving her German with the Dresden music staff for a long time.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Erwin Schrott is Uruguayan, not Austrian.