Anna Netrebko was born on September 18, 1971 in Krasnodar, Russia. We learn from her website that she studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and debuted at age 22 with the Kirov Opera in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. She has since gone on to sing throughout the world in concert and recital and in a wide range of operatic roles, and has become one of the brightest stars in opera today.
Sadly, I was not acquainted with Miss Netrebko until early this month, when I stumbled upon the first of the videos that follow. After watching it, all I could think was, “What a voice! What stage presence! Who is this woman?” I felt like I had made a major discovery, at least until I did a little research and found out how long she’s been in the public eye and the stature she enjoys.
What can I say? I need to get out more.
Our first encore is “Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss” from the operetta Giuditta by Franz Lehár. I was introduced to this piece many years ago in a memorable performance by Marylyn Mulvey accompanied by the late great Victor Borge.
Our second encore is perhaps the best known in the entire soprano repertoire: “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. In it, a despairing Lauretta sings to her father about her lover, Rinuccio.
O mio babbino caro,
mi piace, è bello bello,
vo’andare in Porta Rossa
a comperar l’anello!
Si, si, ci voglio andare!
E se l’amassi indarno,
andrei sul Ponte Vecchio
ma per buttarmi in Arno!
Mi struggo e mi tormento,
O Dio! Vorrei morir!
Babbo, pietà, pietà!
Oh my dear papa,
I like him, he is very handsome.
I want to go to Porta Rossa
to buy the ring!
Yes, yes, I want to go there!
And if my love were in vain,
I would go to the Ponte Vecchio
and throw myself in the Arno!
I am pining and I am tormented,
Oh God! I would want to die!
Papa, have mercy, have mercy!
Our final encore is the well-known “Quando me’n vo’” from Puccini’s La bohème. Even after many listenings, this performance can still bring tears to my eyes. I’m happy to be able to share it with you.
Quando me’n vo’
Quando me’n vo’ soletta per la via,
la gente sosta e mira,
e la bellezza mia tutta ricerca in me,
ricerca in me da capo a’ piè.
Ed assaporo allor la bramosia
sottil che dagli occhi traspira
e dai palesi vezzi intender sa
alle occulte beltà.
Così l’effluvio del desìo tutta m’aggira,
felice mi fa! felice mi fa!
E tu che sai, che memori e ti struggi,
da me tanto rifuggi?
le angosce tue non le vuoi dir,
non le vuoi dir, so ben,
ma ti senti morir!
When I walk
When I walk alone in the street
People stop and stare at me
And everyone looks at my beauty,
Looks at me from head to foot.
And then I relish the sly yearning
Which escapes from their eyes
And which is able to perceive
My most hidden beauties.
Thus the scent of desire is all around me,
It makes me happy! It makes me happy!
And you who know, who remember and yearn,
You shrink from me?
I know it very well:
You do not want to express your anguish,
I know so well you don’t want to express it
But you feel as if you are dying!
There are a great many more examples of Anna Netrebko’s artistry on YouTube, and if, like me, you would like to learn more about her, these two websites are good places to start.