What Makes Anna Netrebko a Diva.
Many good singers exist on the opera stage nowadays. Everybody may choose their idol according to their taste, but only a few opera singers become so popular that their appearance makes the audience hysterical. Tickets sell out in a moment and the media watches every detail of their life. One of these demanded figures of our century is Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. Her fame has extended beyond the opera world. She is probably the most filmed opera singer of modern day; her fame attracts people who weren’t interested in opera before. Thankful admirers named her “La Bellissima”.
Anna Netrebko was born in Krasnodar, Russia in 1971. She is a second child in the family. Her father is an engineer geologist. Her mother was a communications engineer. Anna was interested in singing since she was a little girl. She sang in a children’s chorus and was famous among kids for her creativity. During her school years Anna wrote short stories and made illustrations for them. She had good manners and peers called her “Countess”.
In 1990 Anna was admitted to Leningrad ( St.Peterburg) Conservatory. Attending famous Mariinsky Theater was quite expensive for the students and Anna started to work as a theater janitor. Mopping the vestibule in Mariinsky for two years gave her the opportunity to listen to great opera singers.
In 1993 Anna Netrebko won first prize at All-Russian Glinka competition. In 1994, she made her debut on the stage of the Mariinsky theatre in “Le nozze di Figaro” by Mozart. After her debut Anna Netrebko became one of the leading soloists of the Mariinsky Theater. Among her roles at Mariinsky were Ksenia (“Boris Godunov”), Marfa (“The Tsar's Bride”), Lyudmila (“Ruslan and Lyudmila”), Natasha (“War and Peace”), Rosina (“The Barber of Seville”), Lucia (“Lucia di Lammermoor”) and others.
Her first performance in USA took place in 1995 on the stage of the San Francisco Opera. In 2002, with the troop of the Mariinsky theatre, Anna Netrebko sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in “War and Peace”. Her performance of Natasha becomes a sensation. “Audrey Hepburn with a voice” named her journalists in the American press, noting her beauty and vocal and acting talent.
In summer of 2002, Anna played Donna Anna in Mozart's “Don Giovanni” at the Salzburg Festival. She was invited to sing this role by the famous conductor Nikolaus Harnonkourt. Her performance as Donna Anna was very successful. In Salzburg she emerged as a new superstar.
Since Salzburg, the popularity of Anna Netrebko has been quickly increasing from performance to performance. Now the leading opera theatres compete to get Anna to participation in their performances.
Anna has become the glamorous opera Diva of 21 century. She is a rich, expressive soprano.
But just a good voice won’t make somebody a superstar. Along with her voice, Anna has the many characteristics that make her a unique singer.
- Anna’s acting skills are phenomenal. She always provides deep interpretation of her role. If she needs to be funny like in “Don Pasquale” she looks funny. If her heroine has tragic role like in “Anna Bolena”, she sings with such sorrow that tears start to sparkle on her eyes. I have seen different singers perform the “Lucia di Lammermoor “mad scene, but Anna Netrebko’s was the most sincere.
- I was amazed when I first saw how many different positions Anna can sing. She has great mobility on a stage, something very surprising for an opera singer. In “Don Pasquale” Anna performs summersault and continue to sing.
- Anna has good interaction with her partners. It doesn’t matter with whom she is singing, the audience always feel an emotional interaction between partners. Anna tunes on to one wave with her partner.
- Anna has brought some contemporary elements to opera, making her performances attractive for younger audience. She has a very relaxed manner on stage. Her costumes are sometimes minimized to sexy outfits. Not everybody may appreciate such liberties on an opera stage, but at least it creates debates and only adds to her popularity.
- Anna’s sweet, outgoing personality and positive attitude attracts people. She is kind and polite to reporters.
- I purposely didn’t mention her beauty in the beginning. It is definitely plays a role in her popularity, but beauty itself without other qualities won’t bring attention for long.
Although there are a lot of good singers on the opera stage, I would prefer to see Anna Netrebko. While doing research about Anna I found some criticism from musical professionals about her vocal technique. I will admit she is not always perfect, but she is such a unique singer, breathtaking artist that audience forgives her for some imperfection. Is it possible to be always perfect, by the way? I don’t intend to mention names, but some opera singers with great technique looks like statues on a stage and make the whole opera a boring act.
I believe opera is not all about producing correct notes, but also about interpreting the story while singing and letting the audience participate emotionally. Anna Netrebko is splendid actress and singer. Just enjoy it!