Anna Netrebko

Bye bye Bohème

Rooftops of Paris [(c) Mark Tyson]

Rooftops of Paris [(c) Mark Tyson]

So, it begins: the last run of Covent Garden’s production of La Bohème by John Copley, originally premiered during the period of electricity cuts and the 3-day week in 1974 – in fact, on the eve of Edward Heath asking for a dissolution of Parliament for the February 1974 General Election. In contrast 2015’s final revival saw ample full-on star-wattage blazing, albeit distractingly at times, from the two lead performers. In the meantime, the production showed its steadfast muted colours by carrying the the story with convincing straightforwardness. Nice though it was to see it a last time, I confess myself ready for something with rather more insight.

Given my lack of success in seeing her on the Covent Garden stage in the past, it was pleasing to note that Anna Netrebko was indeed present – and then some. As the evening progressed the celebrity sheen was slowly dimmed in favour of her genuine acting talents. Vocally as well, she seemed to ‘free up’ as the performance went on, after a first act in which her vocal voluptuousness threatened to tip over into an excessively mezzo-ish tone with stodgy consonants. Nonetheless, she won me back over as she stood behind the tumbril in act 3 and reacted most movingly to Rodolfo’s changing explanations of why he had left her. At the close, she anchored the death scene with her stillness, matching her vocal beauty to the failing health of the character. (more…)

Been busy…

It’s a good job that the readership of this blog is intermittent and doesn’t rely on it for anything.  Sorry, I’ve been moving house, so there’s some catching up to do.  At the rate I’m going, Opera magazine will get the reviews out before I commit my thoughts to the public realm.

Anyhow, somewhere in the middle of the packing up of boxes there was Le Nozze di Figaro at Covent Garden.  Erwin Schrott’s Figaro was the main draw; the women were Annette Dasch (Countess) was Eri Nakamura (Susanna); Mariusz Kwiecien was the Count.  A wonderful evening, in summary, with some quick observations to be made. (more…)