Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Can we stop with the Netrebko=Callas? Like, immediately? I can't begin to understand this comparison except as a bit of wishful thinking: we'd all love to have an epoch-making diva.

Netrebko is a singer to be reckoned with. She's hot stuff onstage and off, and yes, off does matter--making a splash is the difference between an artist and a star. Who knows which one she wants to be eventually...She's more a star at present, albeit a star with fantastic theatrical instincts and a lot to work with in the chords.

But where to start? 1) She could never, ever sing Brunnhilde, or Isolde and if she's got a Norma up her couture sleeve, it's many years down the pike (though honestly, the rhetoric around Norma does get a little hard to wade through--mortals have made their way through it and even sung parts of it well.) Fine, Callas might well have sucked as Lyudmila. 2) She (Trebko? Net, spasibo) didn't have to totally overhaul herself to be (conventionally) hot; she was already there. 3) The florid technique is just not remotely as fine tuned chez la Russe as chez la Grecque 4) Her public persona is rather straightforward and conventional, no champagne vs. Coca Cola remarks, no running off with famous people, though I guess there's still time, but she just doesn't seem like she's going to die alone, mysteriously, in an apartment in Paris. Etc., und so weiter, i tak dalee...

Most importantly, though, her acting is more physical than vocal. That is the main way in which she is not Callas.

Anyway wouldn't it be more fun to call her The Cossack Callas than The Russian Callas? She's from Krasnodar. It's Cossack Country. I googled it.


Burns said...

Amen! The comparison is inapt in so many ways. I would have thought Midgette were smart enough not to even bring it up.

Oberon said...

Midgette is not that smart, but she's smarter than Tony T.

When Netrebko sang in WAR & PEACE at the Met a few years ago, she wasn't glamorous at all. She was sort of a plain-Jane type - pretty in a way but nothing to get a Vogue cover out of. She did sing it splendidly, however.

Since then to my view she has gotten gorgeous while her vocal 'artistry' has correspondingly coarsened. Her TRAV on CD is abysmal vocally: sour, flat/sharp, too many breaths, too many 'effects'. She looks dishy, though.

So we'll see; we'll see how she fares as Elvira. It will be a triumph, of course. It's one of those built-in triumphs; no matter what she does, short of a complete vocal breakdown, it will be a raging success with press and public. Why? Because the public at large has been told she's the real deal and the public at large believes what it's told.

If she has a 'genuine' success, I'll be the first to say so.

Maury D'annato said...

Burns, she is smart, and yet this is the second time I've kinda sorta taken a swipe at her on my blog, which makes me feel like a bit of an asshole. I just think maybe she gets assigned some lousy stuff. Ah well...

The Cossack Non-Callas Netrebko
So widely acclaimed on the Web co-
loratura? Or Spinto?
Or singing Hai vinto
La Causa well there's no way I'm getting out of this one alive.

Burns, you bring out the failed limericist in me every time.

(Even in Russian, nothing rhymes with Netrebko.)

Burns said...

Make it easy on yourself:
The busty young singer named Anna
Was a very sought-after sopranna
Her vergin vezzosa
Was judged only so-sa

Maury D'annato said...

All I can think of is

I just ate a yellow banana.

Because, in fact, I did. True story. Verismo limerick.

Burns said...

Good thing it wasn't a famously unrhymable orange.

Winpal said... ride tutto il senso alla banca.

Greg said...

Okay maybe there's no "Champagne vs Coca Cola" quotes yet, but did you catch the Times of London piece last year?,,14932-1647439,00.html

I mean, a normal person would respond to pregnancy gossip by saying "There is no truth to those to those rumors" or somthing. It's edging towards diva-territory to say "Bullshit! Maybe in Germany I had too much to eat and someone took a photo of my profile. It was German food!"

Maury D'annato said...

Greg: it was nagging at me that there was something like that but I couldn't remember.

rysanekfreak said...

I think we should just call her "Anna Moffo Lite" and leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Russian Callas?

She's the Russian Renee.

A post on this may follow.

Maury D'annato said...

R-freak: without meaning to ceaselessly slag on a singer I do find exciting at times, I'd have to say she lacks the vocal suavity of (non-late) Moffo, that rich quality that makes her Violetta so swoon-inducing. They are/were both ridiculously pretty, but the voices are so different.

Netrebko: The Russian ________?

Vocally I'm going to say The Russian Freni just for the hell of it. I'm not sure I mean it.

ch. r. said...

Having listened to the premiere followed by watching the simulcast this afternoon, I came away with the impression that one really shouldn't use artifice to disguise that there's no "there" there; sometimes less really *is* more. At least in this rep.

That lying in the orchestra pit business came off as the cheapest stunt I've ever seen, which is not really saying much, because I haven't seen all that much, but still, it was cheap.

Maury D'annato said...

I have a feeling I would have liked her better than you did, but cheap is cheap.

Unless there's another Cutler performance and I get standing or something, I'm guessing I just missed Puritani this time around.