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."
Just fair, hardly romantic.
Paul J. Walkowski | Boston | 09/25/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This new release from Deutsche Grammophon featuring Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon has a lot going for it. Unfortunately, it's not the powerhouse I hoped for. Vein-popping duets are not my cup of tea, and mood is far more important to me when I listen to a CD than vocal reach and style. "Duets" falls short on its primary mission to set a mood and hold it - preferably a mood of romantic euphoria and images. Here, we get eight titles that, while they may be classified technically as "Duets," are marginally so. Two performers singing the same song does not a duet make unless they sing together in melody and rhythm and harmony. Worse, mixing special effects - like one performer singing in the distance, growing louder as the melody brings the two into contact, as is the case in track 5, from BIzet's "Les Pêcheurs de peries (Act II), is a gimmick that may work on stage but on a recording, it makes listening difficult, especially so, if you're listening in your automobile. One doesn't know whether to turn the volume up and hear what is being sung, in which case it gets too loud a few minutes later or just leave it alone, and suffer the loss of sound temporarily. On the up side, if you buy the deluxe set with the DVD, you will find the Vilazón/Netrebko magic a strong and compelling reason to watch. Here, too, though, viewers will be disappointed as there's only full recording of "O soave fanciulla," which is both somewhat contrived and suffering from lip syncing that is just awful and unnatural. The DVD is not a complete concert and the excerpts are far too short to get into. Honestly, when I watch a video, I'm not interested in knowing whether the performers still have their tonsils. This talented pair's "La Traviata" and "Making of Traviata," is far superior, and more of what I look for in both video and musically."
Dixie D. Denney | Ogden, Utah | 01/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think reviewers listen to classical music, especially opera, and tear it apart to show others how much they "know" about technique, etc. Why can't we love the medium so much that we can just simply listen, and let the beauty of extra-ordinary voices bathe over us with the beauty and power of it all?"