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Russian Album
     

Russian Album

4.3 3
by Anna Netrebko
 
It wasn't so long ago that Russian opera, beyond a few acknowledged masterpieces by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, was virtually an unknown quantity in the wider world of music. If the conductor Valery Gergiev has played a huge role in changing that, a glamorous star soprano like Anna Netrebko can potentially

Overview

It wasn't so long ago that Russian opera, beyond a few acknowledged masterpieces by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, was virtually an unknown quantity in the wider world of music. If the conductor Valery Gergiev has played a huge role in changing that, a glamorous star soprano like Anna Netrebko can potentially do even more -- and her Russian Album ought to make more than a few new converts to the cause. Partnering here with Gergiev and the orchestra of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, Netrebko has put together a program of entrancing arias and songs by five of Russia's greatest composers. With only one well-known selection, the "Letter Scene" from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, it's also a rather daring program: Netrebko asks us to follow her into unfamiliar territory, but it's a journey that few listeners could refuse. The unfettered lyricism of Rimsky-Korsakov's operas gets special attention, with scenes from The Snow Maiden, The Tsar's Bride, and The Tale of Tsar Saltan, allowing Netrebko's voice to soar radiantly over the Mariinsky orchestra. She also looks back to the origins of Russian opera with Glinka's A Life for the Tsar and forward to the 20th century with Prokofiev's War and Peace -- from which the role of Natasha has counted among her most important successes on stage. But it may be the Romantic melancholy of Rachmaninoff that suits Netrebko's voice most fully, both in a scene from his seldom-heard opera Francesca da Rimini and in orchestral versions of two haunting songs. As for Tchaikovsky's famous "Letter Scene," Netrebko sustains an intensity of emotion that more than measures up to the beauty of her singing, making it a perfect capstone to this exploration -- with luck, just the first of many -- of her nation's uniquely splendid music.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
What makes Anna Netrebko more than just the next Russian soprano? Is it her as direct but not as quite so refined technique, her less restrained but much more effective interpretations and her intensely expressive but always under control tone? Or is it her distinctively non-Russian vibrato -- leaner, cleaner and with a much tighter focus but just as much power? One has to listen to Netrebko's "Russian Album" and judge for one's self. Listen to her tenderly touching Arioso from Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, her brilliantly colorful arias from Rimsky-Korsakov's Snow Maiden, her passionately despairing songs from Rachmaninoff's Russian years -- especially her inconsolable "Oh, Do Not Sing Me Those Sad Songs" -- and finally her utterly enchanting and deeply affecting "Letter Scene" from Eugene Onegin in which Tchaikovsky's Tatyana grows from a girl into a woman right before our ears. While in the past Netrebko has delivered terrific recordings -- her Violetta in La Traviata was absolutely riveting -- this disc seems to cut closer to the heart of the singer and her sympathetic understanding of the style, the music and the idiom makes the "Russian Album" perhaps the her best and most characteristic calling card. Deutsche Grammophon's sound puts Netrebko center stage. Lamentably, it leaves Valery Gergiev and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater in the pit.
Gramophone - Patrick O'Connor
This is the best disc Netrebko has made so far and should make many new friends for Russian opera.
BBC Music Magazine - David Nice
The programme of Russian arias and three orchestrated songs has integrity and will introduce more cautious fans to some ravishing repertoire.
San Francisco Chronicle - Steven Winn
Netrebko gleams in this anthology of Russian music.... Netrebko deploys her formidable technique across a spectrum of tender musical emotions.
Newark Star-Ledger - Bradley Bambarger
An inspired, immediately captivating vocal artist.... It's only January, but this disc will end up one of the year's best.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/09/2007
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947763840
catalogNumber:
000815302
Rank:
65569

Tracks

  1. Iolanta, opera, Op. 69: Arioso No. 1
  2. How fair this spot, song for voice & piano, Op. 21/7
  3. Georgian Song ("Do not Sing, My Beauty"), for voice & piano, Op. 4/4
  4. The Tale of Tsar Saltan (Skazka o Tsare Saltane), opera in 4 acts with a prologue: Act 4. Aria
  5. The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka) (ii), opera ("springtime tale") in 4 acts with a prologue: Prologue. Scene and Aria
  6. The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka) (ii), opera ("springtime tale") in 4 acts with a prologue: Act 4. Finale
  7. The Tsar's Bride (Tsarskaya nevesta), opera in 4 acts: Act 4. Scene and Aria
  8. Pimpinella (The Florence Song), for voice & piano, Op. 38/6
  9. A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin; Zhizn' za tsarya), opera in 4 acts with and epilogue, G. xii: Act 1. Cavatina and Rondo
  10. War and Peace, opera, Op. 91: Scene IV. Excerpt
  11. Francesca da Rimini, opera, Op. 25: Tableau II. Excerpt
  12. Eugene Onegin, opera, Op. 24: Act 1. Letter Scene

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Russian Album 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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