Netrebko: I won’t do six weeks of rehearsals any more

From an interview with Tagespiegel:

‘I honestly don’t feel like doing six weeks of rehearsals anymore. Three and a half must be enough for an opera, especially for operas that I have already sung elsewhere. Also, in the heavy Verdi repertoire that I’m now singing, I can’t do a lot of acting.

‘If a director tells me: Please lean to this side while singing – you can’t. When the hip is bent, the windpipe is also bent. With the aria “D’amor sull’ali rosee” from the “Trovatore” I must not move, or the air won’t flow properly, and then: basta! It’s about perfect breath control.’



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  • The truth is, 6 weeks is way too much anyway. Lots of revival operas in Germany only have a week of rehearsals. 6 weeks is generally for new productions and it still gets over-rehearsed. Revivals should have no more than 3, IMO.

  • Definitely. Good singing is the utmost priority in Opera.
    It’s a sad sign of our times, that it even needs to be said.

    I even see some opera theatres these days putting the name of the stage director on top of the musical cast in the printed program and the billboard ads. Idiots.

    • In the USA the opera critics devote most of their reviews to the visual aspects (the sets, costumes, concept ) etc, and the singers get only one or two sentences.

  • Pfft, silly excuses to her bad singing. If one’s technique is good it allows the singer to sing in any position without any restrictions.

  • Does she really turn up to 5 weeks of rehearsals regularly? Seems a strange choice to turn up before a run with a good attendance record and then missing out the number of shows she has in the past.

  • It is unacceptable what they expect, and force the singers to do recently! In Bregenz, the singers had to jump in the cold , lake water! Just to impress the audience and please the director( idiot!!!)

  • Opera is THEATRE. If you can’t act, do song or orchestral repertoire.

    To all those saying singing is the only priority; Try going to an opera with no set, no staging, no costumes. The music serves the drama AND the drama serves the music. Who cares if aspects are uncomfortable to sing, if they serve the art?

    • Nobody said singing is the ONLY priority.
      But singing is the highest priority.

      We go to operas without set and staging all the time. It’s called ‘concertante’.
      And it works perfectly fine.

      Now imagine – the other way around.
      Try going to an opera with set and staging and costumes, but no singing and no orchestra…

      You get it now?

      We are tired of these idiotic directors (there are exceptions), who do not know music, and therefore can’t find the drama and theatre *in* it, but think they have to construct it *on top of it*.

    • “Try going to an opera with no set, no staging, no costumes.”

      It’s called a ‘concert version’, and is not uncommon. There is generally some acting, some coordination of dress that helps to indicate roles, but attention centers on libretto, music, and the musicians themselves, from which the drama emerges. Well done, it is quite engaging.

    • Sorry, Opera with bad singing is not an opera; it is torture. The singers decide what is comfortable for them and the director has to agree

  • In modern productions singers are expected and required to perform all kinds of contortions while trying to sing difficult music, This is unreasonable and imposes an extra stress on the singer. However, I find it comical to read about Netrebko and perfect breath control . She never had it and now she breathes in the middle of the word quite regularly. So, if she doesn’t think she needs to rehearse, she can probably get away with what passes for operatic singing these days and be successful for some time.
    The standards are at an all time low anyways, both visually and vocally.

  • “With the aria ‘D’amor sull’ali rosee’ from the ‘Trovatore’ I must not move, or the air won’t flow properly…”

    Sounds like she could use some lessons in Alexander Technique.

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