Anna Netrebko: I’m happy since I put on an extra 30 pounds

From an interview with Russian state media:

A. N.: Say what you will, but all weight loss is complete nonsense! When Callas began to lose weight, she began to lose her voice….

RG: Do you follow diets?

A.N.: No! Never! I love all of my extra 30 pounds, since Giuditta, who danced barefoot in Baden-Baden.

I’ve been keeping my weight up for the past seven years, I love it. I will not give it to anyone. This is what keeps me going. This is my stamina, my strength, to have something to support my voice. Of course, I’m talking about dramatic parts, not an easy repertoire.

RG: Has the fact that you have dramatically changed your role, having gone from a light, almost soubrette repertoire to the most dramatic roles, changed your character?

A.N.: No. In general, I became calmer, childishness with antics and mimicry has gone. I am already 45 years old, how much can you? I’m tired of acting, of representing all what I am not anymore. I find it much more comforting and interesting to work with big, serious characters.



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  • “Προφάσεις εν αμαρτίαις”, (“Pretexts for sins”, ancient greek proverb). Callas gave some of her most memorable perormances (Traviata, Sonnambula, Tosca,etc), after losing her extra pounds. But, if AN feels comfortable with her new silhouette and, as a result, gives up overacting, it’ s wonderful.

    • The problem is that opera is not a singing recital. It is a story and it takes something away from the story when a prince is supposedly willing to take his chances with being beheaded after one glimpse at the beautiful Princess Turandot and she is wearing a tent. Not many men would face death to sleep with a woman that you have to roll in flour and look for wet the wet spot….

      • Wally, sad to say, you’re completely wrong. Look at the women who were sex symbols and had durable charisma: Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Sophia Loren, etc., etc. They were all full-figured, voluptuous women, which is the way they ought to be; they should look like women, not like little girls. Don’t believe it? Monroe has been dead nearly 60 years and people still idolize her. Quick: who was the skinny “supermodel” from 10 years ago? “Roll in flour and look for the wet spot?” Puh-leeze.

      • Wally, Now that’s funny…”roll in flour”….I’d love to roll Anna Netrebko in Hershey”s chocolate and have myself a sunday!

  • Is she aware that Callas said she needed to lose weight to become a better actress? Nor did she “lose” her voice. The voice gained dramatic urgency.

    Netrebko’s own voice could be said to have lost its youthful purity, despite her gaining weight.

    • Yup. Callas did much of her best work after she lost the weight.
      And A.N. has lost something from here voice, IMHO. Right on.

  • Good for her that she is open about being happy with her extra 30lbs (though I was cant say she looks to me as having put on that much weight), I think some of her performance in the last 18 months that Ive seen via DVD or HD transmissions have been fabulous.

    • I agree with you Mary. AN’s portrayal of PUCCINI’s Manon @ the Met (the first night-Tues) was the most moving performance i’ve ever seen & heard. She was so natural & believable. Her voice was so beautiful & totally unconstrained. The little extra flesh “zophticness” only added to the allure of a would be reluctant convent girl turned to a vain seductive kept woman. Her deep down unhappiness yeaning for her first true love was so palpable. So let her be true to herself. Anna is still our darling 10 Soprano unsurpassed.

  • 30 lbs!

    I presume no one has to carry her, Scarlet O’Hara-style, up a flight of stairs in any of these operas.

  • all what was said is fine except the comparison with Callas – there are worlds between those two!!! Callas cannot be compared with anyone!

  • In 2012, a research programme at the Texas Institute of Technology investigated the balance between sound and fat ratio in opera singers, which concluded that the heavier the body, the more acoustical vibrations were produced, and the more the voice would carry. It was found that human body fat reacts acutely to acoustical vibrations, which are easily absorbed and reproduced ca. 3 x stronger.

    But to the worry of the TIT scientists, accumulation of body mass could not continue infinitely, because after ca. 400 pounds a physical deformation process could set-in, that would multiply vocal possibilities but to the detriment of the personality as a whole:

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