Russia’s Anna Netrebko returns to Beaver Creek Thursday night
Special to the Daily
If you go ...
Who: Russian soprano Anna Netrebko.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Cost: $175 or $225, depending on seats.
More information: Visit http://www.vilarpac.org.
BEAVER CREEK — With her distinctive fashion sense and robust stage presence, it’s hard to imagine Russian soprano Anna Netrebko working as a janitor at Saint Petersburg’s historic theater of opera and ballet, the Marinsky, while a student at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. But that’s exactly what she did. And, later, when she auditioned for the theater, conductor Valery Gergiev recognized Netrebko from her previous job and became her vocal mentor. At age 22, Netrebko made her operatic stage debut at the Marinsky as Susanna in “Le nozze di Figaro.”
In 1995, at age 24, Netrebko made her American debut at the San Francisco Opera; in 2002, she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Natasha in its premiere of “War and Peace.” Today, Netrebko’s star power is undisputed, and she is one of the most in-demand sopranos of our day. She will grace the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
For more than a decade, Netrebko sang the role of Adina in “Elisir” at major opera houses. It is the sort of light and bright part that brought her to fame.
Netrebko once told David Mermelstein of the Wall Street Journal, “I’m a different person. I look different and I’m different in my mind. Well, I’m 41 years old — time to grow up. The last two or three years, I was trying to figure out where I’m going. I tried to postpone heavier repertoire. But now I’m saying goodbye to ‘inas’ (a suffix that often denotes ingenues in opera), and I’m very happy about that.”
Gambling on Her Talent
And her decision to make a stab at singing a darker roll paid off as evident in the role of Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s “Macbeth” at the Metropolitan Opera this past fall. It was a role that even those close to her were doubtful she could pull off. However, her gamble paid off, and she won roars from audiences and rave reviews.
Netrebko is excited about taking risks and singing more dramatic repertory. In fact, she will open the Met’s 2017-’18 season singing the title role in Bellini’s “Norma” and will tackle Verdi’s “Aida” the following season.
With such accolades and devoted fans, you’d think that Netrebko would very much be at ease on stage.
“You can never be relaxed, because you always have to be at your best,” she admitted. “And you’re more scared of opening night because everyone is judging you — plus there are mean critics. Of course, it’s pressure. But the thing is, we can handle it. That’s why we are who we are.”
Undoubtedly, there will be no “mean critics” at Netrebko’s Vilar performance. On the other hand, the Vilar Performing Arts Center feels privileged to host her only U.S. concert performance.