Anna Netrebko to perform in Lohengrin with Thielemann. And then Bayreuth?

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 21 September 2012 | 8:37:00 am

There had been, of course, some rumors (well more than rumors but you know what we mean) for sometime but it is now confirmed - as brought to our attention by the always wonderful Sounds & Fury In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" published today (see below) she says it is "time for her to grow-up" and confirms that in 2016, she is scheduled to sing Elsa in "Lohengrin" in Dresden under the baton of Christian Thielemann -  whose "demonic energy" she likens to that of Valery Gergiev.

Of course, for those keeping track, this will not be the first time that she has sung Wagner - see the first video below. But a full production of  Lohengrin in the role of Elsa is a far different thing. Those of us who have been paying even closer attention are aware that she is something of a Wagner "fan" and has noted a desire on a number of occasions to perform Wagner. For example in 2008 she said, "I want to try Wagner's Lohengrin because it is beautiful and I want to sing it".

And in an interesting turn of events, in 2009 Eva Wagner-Pasquier  said that she would welcome her in Lohengrin at Bayruth, "If she wanted, we will put her on the stage immediately", Wagner said,  adding: " I love Netrebko - she can sing everything"

A few of us have suspected for sometime there was a place in Wagner for Netrebko - and time will tell. In the meantime it allows the excuse to include some of her performances here in the Wagnerian.



So Long, Ingénues

No singer today more sharply divides opera fans than does the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. Her admirers thrill to her robust stage presence and plush, vibrant tone; they celebrate her distinctive fashion sense and crave details about her glamorous private life. Her detractors insist that her celebrity compromises her artistry; they deride her interpretive choices as obvious, fault her diction as imprecise and insist that her top notes no longer ring as purely as they once did.

Yet Ms. Netrebko's star power remains undisputed. On Monday, for the second consecutive year, she opens the Metropolitan Opera's new season—this time co-starring with the American tenor Matthew Polenzani in Bartlett Sher's new production of Donizetti's comic opera "L'Elisir d'Amore."

Ms. Netrebko has sung the role of Adina in "Elisir" at major houses for more than a decade, though never before at the Met. It is the sort of part—light and bright—that brought her to fame. But she will soon leave such characters behind, she says.

"The thing is, my voice changed a lot—enormously," Ms. Netrebko insisted over lunch at a Lincoln Center restaurant earlier this month. She was dressed casually—"for rehearsal," she explained—in a matching brown top and shorts, a multicolored scarf binding her hair, her huge Prada sunglasses resting on the table.


"I'm a different person," she said. "I look different, and I'm different in my mind. Well, I'm 41 years old—time to grow up. The last two or three years, I was trying to figure out where I'm going. I tried to postpone heavier repertoire. But now I'm saying goodbye to -inas"—a suffix that often denotes ingénues in opera—"and I'm very happy about that."

She calls this shift "the big move" and cites her age and motherhood as its chief causes—three years ago she gave birth to her first child, a son, Tiago, whose father is the Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott. "After the baby, I got bigger, and I like it," she said, adding, almost reflexively, a digression on our culture's preoccupation with weight. "I like me better now than when I was young and skinny. I don't understand this extreme fashion for being anorexic-skinny. We forgot about women with curves, real women. We're not embracing that anymore. You should not starve yourself with stupid diets, which I don't believe in anyway. But it's not only about the way I look. It's just that I'm different. It's good; it's interesting. I'm more serious, more responsible. Of course, when you have a kid, things change."

Continue reading the TWSJ