Anna Netrebko: A Most Pleasant Revelation

Despite my reservations regarding the medium, I went to the Live HD Broadcast of I Puritani, a revival by the Met for Anna Netrebko. I have never seen her live and was convinced that she is overrated, a product of the hype machine currently running the “classical” music industry. Beautiful to behold, yes… but can she sing?

To the untutored ears of this listener, she can sing like the best of them. The self-described opera fanatic sitting next to me pronounced that her voice is even better than the voice of Maria Callas (and to my surprise a thunderbolt did not fall out of the sky to strike her dead). Netrebko is a superb singing actress. She uses her technique in service to the text and not the other way around. I cried during the Mad Scene – I who have no love for bel canto. But for 20 glorious minutes the true magnificence of bel canto was revealed to us, for which I am grateful.

And it doesn’t hurt that she requires no stretch of the imagination to look like a fetching 16 year old.