Anna Netrebko sings Verdi – Scenes and Arias from Macbeth, Giovanna d'Arco, I vespri siciliani, Don Carlo and Il trovatore

Reviewed on Thu 12 Sep, 2013

This is a recording that will divide opinions. Anna Netrebko's fans might welcome the recent darkening of her vocal timbre and enjoy her first forays into heavier spinto soprano roles, prior to tackling some on stage. Others, myself included, are apt to consider this repertoire not yet wholly within her grasp: Lady Macbeth and Elisabetta (Don Carlo) evidently tax her and the interpretations would benefit from greater variety of tonal palette and characterisation. In short, they lack nuance. Occasionally uncertain diction further impairs matters. The Giovanna d'Arco and I vespri siciliani excerpts are the most successful, requiring vocal delicacy rather than dramatic heft. The scene from Il trovatore starts satisfactorily but has its squally moments as things progress. Gianandrea Noseda and his Turin forces are decent Verdians, but they are occasionally complicit in helping Netrebko out of problems with phrasing and dynamics. The booklet centres equally on Verdi and Netrebko; texts and translations included. Approach with caution.
–Evan Dickerson