Roundhead roundup

Five newspaper reviews are in for Anna Netrebko‘s Met Puritani, and the score stands at four postive, one mixed:

“With the smoky colorings and throbbing richness of her sumptuous voice, Ms. Netrebko was an unusually vulnerable Elvira. Bel Canto purists may find fault with her sometimes imprecise execution of coloratura runs and roulades. But I admired her way of treating florid passagework as organic extensions of an arching vocal line, not as a series of fast notes to be nailed with cool accuracy.” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

“She has that bel canto gift of singing like a windswept lark on a bright day, and an acting style combining the natural with the daring.” Clive Barnes, New York Post

“Elvira should be beautiful; Netrebko is. Elvira should be so delicate of brain that the shock of being abandoned on her wedding day unhinges her completely. Netrebko raved gorgeously, but she also expertly controlled the whipping spray of notes and the rainbow colors of her voice. She proved herself a master of extreme opera, that volatile mixture of emotional distress and consummate technique. That’s what we need divas for.” Justin Davidson, Newsday

“And how about the mad scene, one of the greatest stretches in all bel canto opera? From Ms. Netrebko, it was an unshowy tour de force. What I mean is this: It was a tour de force, all right —but it had complete musical and theatrical poise. Ms. Netrebko displayed phenomenal control. And she was pathetic in the original sense — evoking great pity, sadness, and even wonder. This is simply a smart singer.” Jay Nordlinger, New York Sun

“She didn’t sing a false note, but she struck one. It was as if this charismatic performer, whose stage instincts are usually flawless, was overcompensating for the fact that she simply couldn’t conquer all the vocal challenges of one of the most demanding bel canto roles in the repertory.” Mike Silverman, Associated Press

Our publisher JJ hears the production on Saturday night; look for his review in Gay City News next week.

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