So how was Anna Netrebko’s first Tosca?main
First reviews are trickling in. Here they are, more or less in order of online appearance:
This was the role debut Metropolitan Opera audiences have been dreaming of for more than a decade: on Saturday night, in a performance that was sold out months in advance, Anna Netrebko sang her first Tosca. The reigning diva of the opera world finally appeared as the greatest diva written for the stage.
Leading the season’s second cast in the new production by David McVicar that opened on New Year’s Eve, Netrebko gave a sensational performance. As ever, her soprano is dark and powerful, especially in her viscous, smoky middle range. Her top is as focused as it has sounded in years, soaring to majestic heights in “Vissi d’arte”; the passionate lament of Act II was breathtaking for both the passion of its delivery and the precision of its phrasing. The urgent piano singing in her plea after the aria was if anything even more affecting, a dramatic detail that completed the scene…
So … how did the performance stack up against the hype? Pretty well, all things considered. Anna Netrebko is a Superdiva and Tosca is a Superdiva and the singer and the role were well-matched both musically and temperamentally. Netrebko’s voice has grown so much in volume and richness but lost a lot of flexibility. I saw a recent video of her Lady Macbeth in London and while it was exciting she struggled in the passagework of the role. Tosca makes no such demands. It allowed Netrebko to do what she does best, which is flood the auditorium with huge waves of sound. And her instrument is still a miracle. You can quibble with the suspect pitch, mushy diction, weird dipthonged vowels, and occasionally loosened vibrato. But to have a voice that can sing high, sing low, can fill any house with surround sound stereo volume, and with a gorgeous, plush timbre to boot — that’s God’s gift.
photo (c) Ken Howard/Met
Anna Netrebko als Tosca – das ist wie ein Meisterwerk in einem Museum, das jeder sehen will und bei dem sich wohl nur die wenigsten Gedanken über den Kontext oder die Hängung machen.
Aber was macht Netrebko so besonders in gerade dieser Rolle? Sie war ja zuletzt auch als Aida in Salzburg extrem erfolgreich, als Maddalena di Coigny in „Andrea Chénier“ an der Scala oder als Elsa in „ Lohengrin“ in Dresden, als Lady Macbeth in München oder als Leonora im „Trovatore“, an vielen Häusern und auch in Wien. Die Antwort lautet: Sie singt die Tosca exakt zum richtigen Zeitpunkt. Viele wagen sich zu früh an diese Rolle und müssen sich in einem Gewaltakt bis zum Finale, zum Sturz von der Engelsburg, retten. Andere singen die Tosca noch zu spät, zu dramatisch, mit scheppernder Stimme. Netrebko, schon bei ihrem Erscheinen auf der Bühne mit Auftrittsapplaus bedacht, nimmt sich der großen Puccini-Diva am Zenit ihrer Karriere an (wobei Zenit? Wer weiß, was bei ihr noch kommt).
Feminine and vulnerable yet mercurial and implacable, Netrebko’s Floria Saturday night was already an astonishingly complete realization of a quintessential diva role she initially swore she would never do and since has suggested she doesn’t particularly like. I don’t much care for Tosca either, but Netrebko’s been absent from the Met for a year so I along with an eager, jam-packed house welcomed her back with open arms and hearty bravas.
Ms. Netrebko knew what she was doing. She was a magnificent Tosca. From her first entrance, Ms. Netrebko, one of the opera world’s genuine prima donnas, seemed every bit Puccini’s volatile heroine, an acclaimed diva in the Rome of 1800, seized in the moment with jealous suspicions over her lover, the painter Mario Cavaradossi. As she hurled accusations at Mario — Why was the church door locked? Who were you whispering with? I heard a woman’s rustling skirt! — it took a couple of minutes for Ms. Netrebko’s voice to warm up fully. By the time Tosca, having pushed doubts aside, beguiles Mario into a rendezvous at his villa that night, Ms. Netrebko’s singing was plush, radiant and suffused with romantic yearning.