(Above: Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala at a press conference for Tchaikovsky's Iolanta @ Festspielhaus Baden-Baden)
OC has heard from our dear Swiss correspondent, who gave her the skinny (figuratively, Netrebko being Netrebko) on Anna Netrebko's premiere last night live from Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, where the Russian soprano sang her first Tchaikovsky "Iolanta" for the theatre's Sommerfestspiele (in a double feature with Rachmaninoff's Aleko).
Our Swiss fan-on-the-scene reported a wonderful evening, Anna's comfort with the Russian repertoire making for a touching and captivating performance. Piotr Beczala's Vaudémont also impressed the crowds along with Sergei Aleksashkin as Rene, and Gergiev led the Mariinsky in perfect paces. Anna & Piotr's duets garnered the most applause of the evening, which was all enhanced by video projections featuring snowflakes and twinkling stars. Most everything on stage was given a black and white treatment to set the color palette and referencing Iolanta's blindness.
After the performance, Anna dashed away the post-opera gala dinner, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, in a polka-dot black dress, loads of red lipstick, ad bright green high heels!
Below are two pictures from the event, although none from the production. Our reporter says that the Baden-Baden ushers were on absolute lock-down with a scarily tight ~camera patrol~ throughout the entire evening.
~*~ (Above: The Baden-Baden Cartier store window display features Anna glaring-up from the jewels)
Opera Chic is lucky to have so many well-connected friends from all around Europe who keep her in-the-loop of so many wonderful, operatic happenings. So it is from a lovely friend from Switzerland that OC heard the first report of Anna Netrebko's Violetta premiere for Opernhaus Zürich, and she is gracious to pass on the report. Pictures above and below also provided by her thoughtful friend.
Anna's return to the Opernhaus Zürich was "a gathering of local and international celebrities", and our source tells us that, inevitably, spotted among the crowds were retired bank magnates & moguls, and well-heeled (and well-plastic-surgeried) socialites. And continuing:
"In a performance more mature than her 2005 Salzburg Violetta, there were high expectations, and those expectations were fully met. Anna Netrebko's immaculate singing paired with fine acting made her Violetta very natural and convincing."
"Piotr Beczala as Alfredo also was very fine , although a bit tense in the top notes. He has a wonderful vocal tone which matches very well with Anna's, hence their duets were nothing short of gorgeous."
"Marco Armiliato led a rousing (if here and there a bit wobbly) orchestra with ample pace and fervor."
But the best bit:
"The evening was sponsored by Chopard where Anna Netrebko, as we know, is under contract. So in the lounge you could admire the latest jewelery collection presented in glass showcases guarded by security men, and in Act II Scene 2 Violetta showed off a six figure necklace and matching earrings - recognizably one of the pieces on display in the lounge."
Here's a behind-the-scenes clip of a giggling Anna Netrebko rehearsing with Piotr Beczala shot by SF1, Switzerland's national TV. The two took the stage last night as Violetta & Alfredo in Anna's Opernhaus Zürich Traviata premiere.
Anna talks, rocking a pair of Gucci sunglasses and a beaded Escada top. And we're mentally making out with the camerman for zooming in on her iced-out, Swarovski-covered BlackBerry flip on top of her Traviata manuscript. ~Living the dream~ Someone needs to introduce her to Christian Audigier/Ed Hardy already.
Netrebko madness has descended on Switzerland, as tomorrow evening she'll take the Opernhaus Zürich stage for the first time as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. The three performances (April 22, 26 & 29) of Jürgen Flimm's production have been sold-out for ages. She's like the wii of opera singers.
After Zürich, she's off to Wiener Staatsoper in May for three more performances of Violetta, and then stateside at the San Francisco Opera in June for five more Violettas.
Tomorrow night in Zürich, Anna will be lead by Marco Armiliato on the podium, Piotr Beczala as Alfredo, and Juan Pons as Germont.
Neither Rolando Villazon nor Giuseppe Filianoti will sing Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor on
Saturday at 1:00 p.m., New York time. Piotr Beczala will. The performance is being broadcast worldwide as part of The Met:
Live in HD series. Beczala already sang as Edgardo at the Met in the fall of 2008. He is currently singing Lensky in
Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Met.
Here are a some shots from last night's Lucia at the Met courtesy of a major player for Team O.C.:
Instead of playing it safe and relying heavily on the massive firepowah of Camilla Nylund's voice and cleavage, Jossi Wieler and partner-in-operatic-crime Sergio Morabito chose the high, furry, brothelastic road for the Salzburg production of Rusalka that opened last night. Unflattering granny apparel, big plushies and general mayhem took over while Nylund (with whom we shared an unforgettable experience at la Scala, an otherworldly Beethoven IX conducted by Daniel Barenboim), Piotr Beczala (with whom we shared a bad experience, a Rigoletto at la Scala where his Duke was notable essentially for cracking twice on La Donna E' Mobile) and the rest of the cast.
Unsurprisingly, even the jaded Salzburg rich dudes and their wives had something to object to the Wieler/Morabito production values; but the singers escaped unscathed, thankfully.
Adoptive Clevelander Franz "Frank" Welser Moest whipped the Cleveland Orchestra into a quite controlled frenzy -- as much as FWM can, at least.