Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Anna Netrebko recital in VPAC on Feb. 5, 2015

By Yige Li

Bellini: La Sonnambula: "Ah, non credea… Ah! Non giunge" (aria with cabaletta)
Tchaikovsky: Iolanta Arioso
Rachmaninoff: Song: "Zdes horosho" (How fair this spot), op. 21, no. 7
Rimsky-Korsakov: Song "Redeyet oblakov letucaya gryada" (The line of flying clouds grows thin), op. 42, no. 3
Tchaikovsky: Song "Den li tsarit" (Amidst the day), op. 47, no 6
Verdi: Otello, Duet Act I: "Già nella notte densa" duet with Yusif Eyvazov
Strauss: Song: "Cäcilie", op. 27, no. 2
Dvorak: Rusalka: "Song to the moon"
Ponchielli: La Gioconda: "Suicidio!"
Kálmán: Die Csardasfürstin: "Heia, in den Bergen"


Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur: "Io son l'umile ancella"

Lehar: Il paese del sorriso: "Tu che m'hai preso il cuor" with Yusif Eyvazov

Piano: Brian Zeger


Attending this recital at Vilar Performance Arts Center in Beaver Creek, Colorado, was kind of dream-come-true moment for me! I've gone to many performances featuring Anya, but I had some quite *complex* history of trying to attend her concert/recital. Almost two years ago, she did a recital at VPAC, which I had the ticket but missed the recital due to the delayed flight. Then, she canceled her concert in Mexico City summer 2013 due to illness. Early 2014, she sang some Russian art songs in (Le) Poisson Rouge--when it was announced I was not with internet access, and when I learned it 2 days later, all tickets were sold out (unsurprisingly). The next was her scheduled appearance in Tucker Gala last October, which she canceled because the necessary vocal rest after demanding performance of "Macbeth" at MET. So, finally, this time, she made it, and I got a ticket and arrived on time! It was the first time I saw her in concert/recital! I should say, being able to hear her singing such various repertoire including opera, operetta, and art songs in ONE night is a bless. And I had known that in a remote place like this, she would be more relaxed and willing to take more risk than usual.

Here she came, with the gorgeous pink Oscar de la Renta gown and a small white fur on her shoulder. Before she sang one note, she had already made a "wow" affect with her outfit. And I'm sure her choice of dresses reflects her repertoire, as she began with the sleep walking scene from "La Sonnambula" (no, not the sleep walking of Lady Macbeth). I think she hadn't sung this in public for years, and Amina should be the typical "-ina" roles she said she's dropping. Not quite sure why she decided to open the recital with this piece, maybe as a preparing for the upcoming "Norma" next year? After all, it was the same Giuditta Pasta who created Norma and Amina. She was not 100% warmed up, still she managed to light up her voice sounding like a young girl while round and with richness at the same time. And her sense of phrasing in Bellini's long line was unquestionable. Compared to the long scene of "La Sonnambula" with recitative+aria+cabaletta, the remaining pieces in the first half were short (and all in Russian). Iolanta Arioso was beautifully sung. Because the venue is small with only a few more than 500 seats, and its great acoustics, Anya was able to sing it more relaxing and  with more inner feeling than in MET where she has to carefully consider how to project her voice to the huge auditorium without shouting. Then came 3 Russian art songs by Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky. I always like art songs, in which, it seems the communication between singer and audience is direct, while in operas, singers communicate with audience via characters. Of courses Anya didn't fail. All the three performed songs were the typical Russian ones with bit (not sadness, but) "grey" in it. Personally, I would hope audience could hold a little silence after them to let the feeling fly for some more seconds.

If we could say the repertoire choice for the first part was bit low-key, then, the second part was absolutely exciting with full bloom of passion. Anya chose a maturer black and white outfit by Irina Vitjaz, certainly a response to the chosen repertoire. She began with a short speech saying she likes to sing solo but prefers to have partner, man or woman doesn't matter, on stage that she could have more interaction and be more relaxed so that to make her performance better. She then introduced Yusif Eyvazov to the audience, citing this was his US debut, and they sang the duet from "Otello". This was my first time hearing Yusif singing live. His voice appeared to be even larger and richer than it sounds in recording. And of course we could count on the chemistry between Anya and Yusif (at least in a love duet ^_^). The following two pieces were "Cäcilie" and "Song to the Moon", and both fit her voice like gloves. After "Cäcilie", Anya joked that this loud song could be a training for the future Wagner roles. And in the "Song to the Moon", she putted so much feeling of longing into her voice, and hanging around the stage from left to right--apparently it was not only the moon "travel round wide" but also her body and her soul. The next piece, "Suicidio", might be the most exciting thing in the program, as this was the FIRST time Anya sang it in public! Before singing, Anya said the piece in the beginning of the recital was kind of where she started with while this one would be her future direction, and she would get into slowly and very securely. She even joked saying she knew it's suicide to put such programs (with both selections from "La Sonnambula" and "Suicidio") together. Apparently, she didn't manage to suicide her voice on stage, as she gave such a great rendition. It was specially interesting to hear her recently developed (and is still developing) lower register. Worth specially notice, the way she dug into chest in the repeated "fra le tenèbre" and how she sang the ending "dentro l'avel" piano and empty. The listed program ended with "Heia, in den Bergen" from operetta "Die Csardasfürstin". She said Kalman was very popular in Russia and she grew up hearing his music--in Russian. Though she performed it in German. It was delight to have this light piece after the dark "Suicidio". And as one could expect, she sang and danced. Until then, I hadn't realized how high heels she was wearing. Walking with such high heels is certainly a skill, not to mention, dancing.

She gave an encore, as expected. "Io son l'umile ancella",  ("I am the humble servant of the creative spirit")--truly she is. After an encore, she took several rounds of bowing, then didn't come back to the stage. The recital ended--no, it didn't. Just when the stage was empty and the house lights were turned on and everyone thought that was it, she came back! In her hands a bottle of water and several pages of score! "One more encore" she said! People shouted! Without announcing the piece, the pianist just straightly began. It was "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz"--in Italian though. Together with Yusif, they turned this piece to a love duet. So sweet, so romantic, and so passionate. Especially for Anya. When hearing such phrasing and such feeling, if one close eyes, it would be impossible to tell she was sight reading! One can hardly imagine a better ending for the night.

Icing on the cake: I met Mr. Barry Tucker during intermission and after the recital. He said it was him who helped the VPAC to get Anya to their venue, and just kept praising Anya for being both a great artist and a nice person. When I mentioned my excitement of the "Suicidio" in the program because it being her first public performance of this aria, he told me his father had his MET debut performing in "La Gioconda" and showed me a ring on his finger which is a gift from MET Orchestra to his father given after a performance of this very opera. Certainly a piece of history!

Also, the concert hall and the whole area are very beautiful. Pity that I cannot stay for longer.

Concert Hall of VPAC. Photos taken during intermission.

View from plane before landing to Denver International Airport.

View on the shuttle van from Denver to Avon.


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