Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anna Bolena, Opening Night Premiere, Met, NYC 26. Sep 2011

Anna Netrebko, the world's most charismatic soprano, brought down the house yesterday night at the Opening Gala Premiere of the Met's 2011-2012 Season as Anna Bolena, being this the first time ever Donizetti's masterpiece was perfomed at the Metropolitan Opera.

The production was by David McVicar and the performance was conducted by Marco Armilato. The cast featured Ekaterina Gubanova as Jane Seymour, Ildar Abdrazakov as Henry VIII and Stephen Costello as Lord Percy in the main roles.

For the sixth straight year, the Opening Night was transmitted live to multiple giant screens in Times Square. Approximately 2,000 seats were available on a first come, first served basis, with additional standing room provided. The performance was also shown on a screen on the Met façade, with approximately 3,000 seats available on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza. Free tickets, with a limit of two per person, were distributed at the Met box office. Pre-show coverage, including red-carpet interviews, hosted by Deborah Voigt, started at 6:00 PM EST.

The Opening Night Gala was broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM and streamed live on the Met’s website. Both transmissions also featured pre-show coverage, starting at 6:00 PM EST.

Anna Netrebko made her outstanding worlwide debut as Anna Bolena on 2. April 2011 at the Wiener Staatsoper. Deutsche Grammophon will release a live video recording of those performances. A 2 DVD video will be internationally released on 14. October 2011 and the Blu-Ray disc version will be released on 4. November 2011.


Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Text by Felici Romani

Met's 2011-2012 Season Opening Night, Met, NYC 26. Sep 2011

Anna Bolena: Anna Netrebko
Giovanna Seymour: Ekaterina Gubanova
Smeton: Tamara Mumford
Lord Riccardo Percy: Stephen Costello
Enrico VIII: Ildar Abdrazakov
Lord Rochefort: Keith Miller
Sir Hervey: Eduardo Valdes

Production: David McVicar
Set Designer: Robert Jones
Costume Designer: Jenny Tiramani
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
Choreographer: Andrew George

Conductor: Marco Armiliato

Anna Bolena | Italian / Spanish Libretto | Atto 1 | Atto 2

Mike Silverman (AP), in an outstanding, in-deep and detailed review of Anna Bolena's Opening Night Premiere at the Met, writes "Netrebko, always a naturally charismatic presence on stage, has now at age 40 grown into the vocal demands of the role. Her dark, syrupy, slightly melancholy tone has deepened and taken on more power, without any noticeable loss of lyric freedom at the top of her range. In fact, she has worked hard to cultivate a respectable trill — something she was criticized for lacking in earlier forays into the bel canto repertory". Mr Silverman adds "So she can melt our hearts one moment with a soft high C of great delicacy, then pin us to backs of our seats the next with a ferocious outburst of notes cascading over more than an octave."
2 Annas: Netrebko as 'Bolena' conquers Met | By Mike Silverman (AP) | Washington Examiner | 27. Sep 2011.

Anthony Tommasini writes in the New York Times: "‎Then at the end of this “Mad Scene,” when Anna, restored to horrific reality, curses the king and his new queen, Giovanna (Jane Seymour), and stalks off to her execution, Ms. Netrebko dispatched Donizetti’s cabaletta, all brilliant coloratura runs and vehement phrases, with a defiance that brought down the house."  
A Queen’s Delusion and Defiance Opens the Met Season | By Anthony Tommasini | The New York Times | 27. Sep 2011.

James Jorden, in his article for the New York Post, states that "The new monarch — ruling not over England but the Met — is Anna Netrebko, whose radiant performance at the company’s opening night Monday catapulted her to “prima donna assoluta”: undisputed superstar". In his review of the premiere, Mr. Jorden writes "It’s music that demands everything in a diva’s arsenal, and Netrebko delivered, her ravishing soft high C’s and delicate trills contrasting with slashing coloratura plummeting through the full soprano register".
Netrebko makes 'Anna'-xtroardinary queen | By James Jorden | The New York Post | 27. Sep 2011

Olivia Giovetti writes in WQXR "Her effortless stage persona and technique (showing signs of refinement in recent months) is what seemed to inspire her colleagues to rise to the occasion, and a luscious tone made her a natural in the role of Henry VIII’s star-crossed second wife. Though Netrebko has had many star turns in her decade of performing with the Met, this surely ranks as her most assertive as she fearlessly careened from desperate embraces and stares to delirious “Ah mio signors!” in the Act I finale to a rage-and-guilt-laden confrontation with her romantic rival and a spitfire reckoning scene with her husband and former lover."
Anna Netrebko Sets a Royal Standard as 'Anna Bolena' | By Olivia Giovetti | WQXR | 27. Sep 2011

Zachary Woolfe, in his review for the New York Observer, states "Ms. Netrebko’s voice, at 40, is warm and full, without edge. Her appeal is deceptively simple: when she sings, you don’t want her to stop. Her performance is both daring and assured. At the end of Act I, she almost chokes out “Guidici? Ad Anna?” (“Judges? For Anne?”) when she realizes her fate has been sealed, then telescopes the following note outward, pivoting from shock to rage. She faces upstage at key moments, trusting that she can convey emotion through posture alone."
Bravo Bolena! Soprano Anna Netrebko Dazzles in Met Production | By Zachary Woolfe | The New York Observer | 28. Sep 2011

Anne Midgette writes for The Washington Post "In the aria in the final scene, when the character is lapsing in and out of madness, she sat back and let her signature limpid, round, melting tone pour out. The audience rewarded her with a deserved ovation, and the singer acknowledged their applause with a smile."
Opera review: ‘Anna Bolena’ at Metropolitan Opera | By Anne Midgette | The Washinton Post | 28. Sep 2011

Howard Kissel writes for the Huffington Post "There is only one reason even to consider mounting it -- a spectacular dramatic soprano. And the Met has one in Anna Netrebko. It is a score with a huge range and many treacheries, but at no point did the fearless Netrebko give any indication that there were difficulties. Her voice was sure and luminous throughout and at its most radiant in the dramatic outbursts. In a break with tradition Netrebko gets a solo call when the final curtain falls. The house went wild. There was an impression of almost girlish joyousness on her face as she realized what she had achieved." 
Anna Bolena | By Howard Kissel | Huffington Post | 28. Sep 2011

Joe Dziemianowicz writes for the NY Daily News "Netrebko's voice was ripe, graceful and full-bodied. She was at her strongest when Anna's grip on reality was at its weakest. An 11th-hour aria in which a delirious Anna recalls happier times brought such thunderous applause that Netrebko seemed to break character and flashed a smile. No matter. This diva had earned it."
Metropolitan Oprera 'Anna Bolena' star Anna Netrebko has a voice to die for | By Joe Dziemianowicz | NY Daily News | 29. Sep 2011

As it can be seen in the selected reviews shown above, most of the critics pointed out and several ones were not amused with the fact that Anna Netrebko slightly wroke the character flashing a smile at the end of her famous, difficult and wonderfully sung aria Al dolce guidami in the final scene of the opera. This issue has been masterfully addressed by Zachary Woolfe in his article Grin and Bear It: Why Anna Netrebko's Smile Got the Critics Riled published on the New York Observer on 5. October 2011. Mr Woolfe collects some of the comments made by reviewers and gives a short history of breaking character on stage.
Grin and Bear It: Why Anna Netrebko's Smile Got the Critics Riled | By Zachary Woolfe | The New York Observer | 5. Oct 2011

Jill Krementz covers the Opening Night Gala Premiere for the New York Social Diary. Check out also the magnificent blog JS Julie Skarratt Photograpy.

A short TV coverage of the Openeing Night can be seen at the NY1 channel.

A video excerpt of the 1. Act's finale can be seen at the Anna Bolena Videos of the Met website.

A video excerpt with Anna Netrebko singing "coppia iniqua", the last scene of Anna Bolena, filmed during a rehearsal at the Met, can be seen at the Video Library of the New York Times.

Donizetti's Anna Bolena, starring Anna Netrebko in the title role, runs at the Met through 18. October 2011, with two additional performances on 1. February and 4. February 2012. The performance on 15. October 2011 will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world, including Russia, Israel and China for first time ever, within the Met: Live in HD program.

Check out the pictures of the Anna Bolena Met's official photo album

Anna Netrebko sings the title role in this Act I excerpt from Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" at Opening Night of the Met's 2011-12 Season. Video courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera.

Anna Netrebko as Anna Bolena at the NTV news

"Come innocente giovane" [5:67] - Anna Bolena, Met, NYC 26. Sep 2011

"Giudici! ad Anna" [03:27] - Anna Bolena, Met, NYC 26. Sep 2011

"Piangete Voi?...Al dolce guidami...Coppia Iniqua" [22:36] - Anna Bolena, Met, NYC 26. Sep 2011

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