How Netrebko and Villazon played this gripping scene

How Netrebko and Villazon played this gripping scene


norman lebrecht

October 20, 2020

BR has revived a documentary on the making of Salzburg’s Traviata in 2005, a production that launched Anna Netrebko as a world star and marked the start of Rolando Villazon’s career change.

Watch the full doc here. It’s available for one week from today.

photos: screengrabs


  • Vienna says:

    They Look like they were in love…

  • Gustavo says:

    How nice she used to be.

    The last 15 years have been ruthless in every respect.

  • A.L. says:

    Gripping? More like grabbing by the …..

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Distracting, not gripping.

  • Pedro says:

    I was in Salzburg at the time but couldn’t get a ticket. Black market prices went up to €3500. Judging from the DVD, it was much better at Covent Garden a few years later (and with Kaufmann). And cheaper too.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Do people still stand in front of the Festspielhaus with a “Suche Karte” sign? I’ve had some successes with this method in the 80s and 90s.

  • Nik says:

    Not sure I understand the reference to Villazon’s career change. 2005 was quite a long time before his vocal crisis, which if I remember correctly started around 2011.

  • w93 says:

    what do you mean “the start of Villazon’s career change”?

  • Ohne senf bitte!! says:

    The La Traviata in 1995 was an outright disaster.

  • YB Schragadove says:

    This production has been released on video:

    But this pales in comparison to the absolutely stunning production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette featuring Netrebko and Villazon that “brought the house down” at LA Opera in 2005. An unforgettable, mesmerizing experience with superb singing, extraordinary acting, beautiful staging, and marvelous production (and with an additional lovely touch after the curtain down that elicited audible gasps) that had the audience instantaneously on their feet screaming bravos at the end.

    Unfortunately, this has not been commercially released, but here are two links to the performance:

    Clip of performance (audio only):

    Full performance (audio only):

  • John says:

    It’s so interesting to watch the difference between Netrebko & Villazon, both of whom seem ready to try anything, and and Thomas Hampson who comes off as stubborn and arrogant and with whom it seems Willie Decker has lost his patience.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Maybe Hampson seems to resist playing a hyperactive father, and directions that get in the way of his idea of the characterization. I don’t blame him. Obviously Hampson and Decker were a mismatch.

  • M2N2K says:

    Thank you for the link to this documentary. It was a pleasure to see and hear both AN and RV when they were in arguably best shape of their lives – vocally and otherwise. The music of this opera by the way is not too bad either.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The 2nd picture shows the moment when Alfredo does a terrible discovery.

  • E says:

    Fantastic. Thank you for posting this, and thanks to the readers who posted links to related material.