First sight of Anna Netrebko singing Wagner

She’s Elsa in Lohengrin at Dresden next week. This is the first orchestral stage rehearsal.

German’s maybe not her strong point.

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        • Thielemann screws around with meter. Anna is new to German. But this is your dream team in Wagner?

          As Thielemann would say, “Mein Gott!”

          • Anna is definitely not new to German. She’s lived in Austria since at least 2006 and she speaks more German than she does Italian. Also, her German in this clip sounds great.

          • It’s called ‘Wagnerian melos’, old boy – not ‘screwing around with meter’….

            To the back of the class, all time beaters and metronome freaks!

          • From the back of the class I will say Wagner was a(n) harmonically progressive Classicist at heart whose music sounds its best — by far — when led with tautness and consistency as to time. This is why Toscanini, Kubelík, Jochum, Böhm, Boulez and of course that oversold Decca artist were surprisingly effective.

          • Furtwangler is often considered one of the very best Wagner conductors. I recall reading that he walked out of a Toscanini performance, calling Toscanini nothing more than a “bloody time beater”. There is something to be said for conducting Wagner with dramatic flexibility.

          • Furtwängler had a beautiful way of building phrase upon phrase, ideally heard in his Beethoven. Thielemann’s Beethoven at its best can be terrific, but he is apt to screw around in the moment, causing damage.

            If by “dramatic flexibility” you mean allowing singers to breathe, I don’t think anyone would disagree. Otherwise I can’t imagine how arbitrary shifts help a score’s structure, and I am not aware of any such problems in the Furtwängler Tristan.

            You might want to listen to Toscanini’s Wagner. It is not empty.

        • Olassus, it is not a question of mere time, and even tempo, but pulse and the interplay of bars, phrases and even acts.

          • Well, of course. And I have heard masterful interpretive control from Thielemann in Strauss, Brahms, Bruckner and Schumann.

            Also in Beethoven 7 and 8 (in Wien, where he is probably best-behaved).

            Someone should instruct him to learn Sibelius. He would be brilliant, I imagine.

            His 2009 Ring was subject to caprice. There is no way I would sit through that again. Musicians at my hotel were asking what the heck he was up to, at least as annoyed as I was. His Eroica a few years ago was simply perverse. Hopefully his 2016 Tristan will be worthwhile — but I am not counting on it.

  • Trebs and Netrebko together… I expect an electrifying Alexis Colby vs Krystle Carrington kind of fight.

    And her German is as good as Domingo’s, and fair better than Garanca’s French or most singer’s Italian or Spanish.

    Funny how there are more snobs who complain about other people’s accents in languages they don’t master than those natives who know better and/or don’t really care. Ignorant snobbism.

    • Domingo’s German was painful, no open vowels and no style. Emperor’s new clothes. Couldn’t believe the fuss made over it. His French roles were excellent, though.

    • Domingo’s Lohengrin sounded exactly the way a knight who grew up in the Pyrenees would sound if told to go to Brabant and rescue a maiden in German.

  • Impossible to make a judgement about her German from such a distant recording — but what is immediately apparent is that her voice fits Wagner (at least in this passage) splendiferously! Can’t wait to hear more!

  • Brava Anna. Was never a real fan until hearing her Manon Lescaut in Rome, but now that she’s finally found her voice, I’m ready to board the train. Strauss, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Elsa are most definitely her voice. Toi toi for the premier.

  • I hear crisper German at the Staatsoper in Berlin, but the language is hyper important there. But not one wrong vowel sound, and boy or boy, can she sing it. What IS all the b+++hing all about?!!!

    • She is Russian, and Russia is the new old evil Empire. We need enemies, otherwise the gullible masses will not rally around the flag and keep funding our senseless perpetual wars. So as a good patriot you have to hate her, do not fall for the siren. Tie yourself to the mast and hold the course steady.

  • Her German sounds pretty good to me. At least on the same level as Gwyneth Jones. Certainly better than Domingo.
    Haters gonna hate.

  • I very much like what I hear and see in the short excerpt. I hope Sieglinde will come next, and after that Kundry and Isolde with the three best Wagner conductors of the moment ( Thielemann, Barenboim and Gatti ). AN has worked well with all of them n the past.

    • Did listen to all three of them, often, ….do not agree! Wagner has to be understood by the ‘inside’ dimension of the libretto and most conductors don’t see the spiritual matrix. The drama has to be in the music as well – not just prober notes. If Opera Leipzig would have done a Ring with more ‘substance’ – this production would be a MUST – because Gewandhaus Orchestra and Ulf Schirmer know the ‘underlying’ drama in the music !

  • So good to have some positive remarks here than the usual bashing up of singers and personal preferences …

    Else is a role that a good lyric soprano can sing, as was shown at Bayreuth by the wonderful Irish soprano, Heather Harper, and whose recording of it I have dating back to 1967. It has Rudolf Kempe conducting and Donald McIntyre as Telramund – and a Hungarian, whose name escapes me, so all nationalities then. But today we pigeon-hole singers into whether they can sing Wagner or not – pity. Heather Harper sang everything but Else was her only Wagner role perhaps as she knew her limitations and wanted to carry on singing Monteverdi, Bach, Strauss and twentieth-century music. She certainly kept her voice professionally until she was 70 – says it all about her good technique and her musicality. She was firstly a concert pianist and a very good violinist but gave that up to be a singer.

    • Heather Harper and Donald Mc! Now there are two REAL superb, underrated, singers! they don’t make them like that at present!

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