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Journey to the Musical Absolute with a Musical Troika

Thursday, 20 June 2013 , ora 8.07
It would be something very common if I started by saying that Anna Netrebko is the best soprano of the moment. Everybody knows that. But I feel the need to reiterate it, because I keep being taken aback by her huge talent, her fantastic voice, the expressivity and versatility she shows every time. I realised all of these on Wednesday, 19th June, 2013, when I watched the live broadcast of the concert given by the diva in the Red Square in Moscow, alongside equally famous Dmitri Hvorostovsky. The two of them sang with the 'Evgeny Svetlanov' State Academic Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Constantin Orbelian, and with the ensemble 'Masters of Choral Singing'.

Unfortunately I am not writing from Moscow, as I have to admit I would have liked it, but luckily, I and many other music lovers in Bucharest could enjoy the performance thanks to The Light Cinema, which included this broadcast in its Cinema Stage season. It is extraordinary to discover that Bucharest is connected to the international musical present this way, too, and that distances fade away and even disappear on the occasion of these broadcasts. I sincerely congratulate The Light Cinema's initiative!

Coming back to the concert, I lived it with the strongest emotion possible. The evening's programme included mostly arias from Italian operas such as Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi, Tosca by Giacomo Puccini, etc. The concert started with the overture to Giuseppe Verdi's Force of Destiny and I was happy to discover that I was right in expecting to watch an extraordinary performance, from the very beginning. It is incredibly difficult to put down in words the quality of the orchestra… A huge force rose even with the first chords and the rest of the evening would offer even more.

Anna Netrebko charmed us from the first chord. Yes, we know, she is the most appreciated opera soloist of the moment, she sings on the greatest stages, etc. Her amazing voice, with a fantastic coloratura, full of strength and drama, has been appreciated countless times. I would like to talk about her expressivity though: it is incredible how she actually becomes music when she sings. Her voice is a like a volcano, it seems to embrace the whole audience, nothing is in its way. It is indeed a force of nature and one cannot resist it. I admit it wasn't often that I saw such wildness in music, I couldn't believe the way her voice was stronger than an impressive orchestra and a large choir. And still it seemed we could only hear her voice. You can feel her delve into music and how well she can feel it; she's so versatile that I can't help admiring her.

Dmitri Hvorotovsky was sensational, too. The arias he sang sounded wonderful and I admit I did not want this concert to end, I wish it could have floated somewhere in a continuous present. The orchestra was flawless, too, and the choir… I don't know what superlative to use to describe its performance. I think it was the 'clearest' choir I have ever listened to. Everything sounded perfect and I think this was also thanks to exceptional diction. No sound was left to chance; everything was intelligible, no wrong note, perfect synchronization… I was speechless.

And the end only topped the rest of the performance: we listened to the Onegin - Tatiana duet in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. The two of them expressed such a vivid emotion that it reached an incredible high; they actually conveyed a musical magnetism that was impossible to resist. Gogol described Russia as a troika nobody can stop. This is exactly what I felt when I listened to the two artists: everything seemed out of control, in dazzling, wild flight, which involved us all: artists, choir, orchestra, 7,500 Muscovites in the Red Square and other thousands of people around the world who watched the live broadcast. That was the real climax of the evening, and a few equally intense moments followed - the three encores: Sylva's aria from Emmerich Kalman's operetta A Csárdáskirálynõ, sung in Russian by Anna, and two classical songs of the Russian soul: Black Eyes (sung by Hvorostovsky) and Evenings in Moscow, sung in duet, which the Muscovites hummed along the two of them.

I have to mention Anna Netrebko is preparing new surprises for the audience, and Radio Romania Music is ready to offer them to its listeners. In August, the soprano will release the CD 'Anna Netrebko - Verdi', which Radio Romania Music will play only a few days afterwards, on 12th August. This album is also part of the Radio Romania Music project 'Cast your vote in the poll for the best classical album of 2013'.

It was a really splendid evening and it ended at 12 on the dot, which made me wonder for a moment whether everything had not actually been a fairy tale that ended fatidically at midnight or whether it had all been real.

Petra Gherasim
Translated by Irina Borþoi and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest