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Anna Netrebko & Rolando Villazon: Duets
Georges Bizet, Gaetano Donizetti, Charles Gounod
Anna Netrebko & Rolando Villazon: Duets
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

Famed opera singers Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón collaborate again for their much anticipated Duets album. Already a platinum-seller internationally, this album is a collection of their favorite pieces from the world...  more »

      
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Album Description
Famed opera singers Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón collaborate again for their much anticipated Duets album. Already a platinum-seller internationally, this album is a collection of their favorite pieces from the world's most celebrated operas including La Bohème and Roméo et Juliette. As a gift to one another, Anna and Rolando also sing in each other's native language with duets from Luisa Fernanda and Iolanta. This release coincides with the pair's engagement at New York's Metropolitan Opera in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette from September-December, 2007 (see dates below). Netrebko and Villazón established themselves as the new operatic dream team when they sang in the Salzburg Festival production of Verdi's La Traviata in 2005 (their interpretations are preserved on Deutsche Grammophon CD and DVD). Since then, they have conquered the world's stages in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette in Los Angeles, and Verdi's Rigoletto at New York's Metropolitan Opera (conducted by Plácido Domingo).
 

CD Reviews

Tremendous voices and some surprises
John A. League | Northern Virginia | 09/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Whatever objections one has to the details of this album (yes, their French is not great, and yes, Deutsche Grammophon's marketing of them as the next big thing in opera is a bit over the top), the voices on display here are nothing but impressive.

And the obvious passion of the music comes through clearly. Villazon fairly smolders with intensity throughout. The recording opens with Rodolfo and Mimi, and Villazon is magnificent. The album also benefits from a bit of sonic staging: when the opera calls for one or the other to be offstage, their voice does indeed come from a distance, which adds a nice poignancy to spots like the end of Rodolfo and Mimi's encounter, where the orchestra is playing very softly but the singers are in the wings crying their love in full voice. A nice touch.

And you're not getting Opera Top 40 here, either. These are full-length scenes from works both well trod (Boheme, Lucia, Manon) and less well known (Luisa Fernanda and Iolanta). An appealing mix.

It is worth mentioning that the orchestra is uneven. In most of the recording everything is fine, but because of the conductor or the recording level or what, the orchestra seems too "hot" in a few places, threatening to overwhelm the voices.

All in all, a fine package well worth the attention of opera lovers."
Divine Duo
Robert Petersen | Durban, South Africa | 10/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, dubbed the 'Golden Couple' pair up for an album of beautiful operatic duets. Both singers possess glorious voices and each selection/scene captures the listener, with even two unfamilar items alongside the standard repertoire. I urge people to rather purchase the limited edition package that contains a bonus DVD, which shows the making of the album, as well as the music video for the Boheme duet, directed by Vincent Patterson."
Netrebko and Villazon, Opera's Golden Couple!
Raymond Vacchino | Toronto, ON. Canada | 09/21/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The world of opera is beginning to sizzle with breathtaking new talent. Netrebko and Villazon are certainly earning the right to be considered the cellebrated opera singers of their young generation. The combining of their voices appeals to our imagination despite the difference of their backgrounds. Netrebko's bright voice seems reduced enough to distribute the lighting more evenly. However it is still not the voice of a Mimi (lacking in warmth) and not a Lucia (lacking vulnerability). There is however, some wonderful singing produced by Villazon in the phrases from the Lucia duet, matched by his grace and beautiful, lyrical tone. The excerpts in French are appealing in Manon with some fine characterization.
While there are splendid moments, they are not as memorable as their solos. When we think of the early careers of Callas and di Stefano, one thinks of their magnificant collaborations. Yet with Netrebko and Villazon the voices don't really complement one an-other's, they are both just superb artists still in their prime. However, this CD provides considerable pleasure. In the opening duet that closes the first act of Boheme, the singing is lusciously conveyed. Both singers are in rapturous voice, with phrasing that is sensitive and sincere. When the time comes for Mimi to respond, the tempo virtually slows to a crawl, the singers seem to be leading the conductor, Luisotti. However odd it may seem, it is effective and allows the pair to linger awhile on their off-stage high C. There are moments when tiny pitch variations occur when singing on the same note; it seems that Netrebko is slightly sharp. Despite the fact that there is room for improvement, there is something undeniably special about this "golden couple". Netrebko and Villazon deliver enough charisma to justify the overall presentation. It is easy to "spilt hairs", but as a whole, Netrebko and Villazon deliver a magical performance!

Author: Raymond Vacchino M.Mus.(MT) A.Mus. L.R.S.M. Licentiate (honorary)"