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Subject: Re: Aida from Salzburg Today
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:42:24 -0500
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Hi Don and list,

I thought that the first kudos have to go to Riccardo Muti, VPO and the
chorus. He is among the last from the old guard and still holds the mantle
of the premier Verdi conductor among so many talented from the current
generation. I honestly believe that we live in a golden age of opera
conducting.

Though your reaction is certainly positive to Netrebko's Aida with some
reservations, I hardly have any reservations. Her "O patria mia" is
especially imprinted on me. She sounded effortless while floating those
gorgeous high notes on a long breath. She also observed dynamics to great
effect, even in the most challenging parts. Given her inconsistency in that
respect, I think at least in part it has to do with her work with Muti.
From what I understand, she also worked with him on her Lady Macbeth prior
to her Met performance. She clearly reacts well to his approach and advice.

I was even more impressed with Semenchuk's Amneris and her judgment scene
was deservedly applauded with the longest and loudest ovations from the
Salzburg audience. I had guarded expectations from Francesco Meli, a bel
canto lyric tenor in the role that was memorably portrayed by the likes of
Jon Vickers. Well, his voice doesn't have the size of a dramatic heroic
tenor, but he was admirably spotless, showing the musicianship of the
highest order and the beauty of his voice never failed him. I don't have
much positive to say about the lower-voice male singers, ranging from
wobbly to respectable, not even close to the outstanding level of the three
leading protagonists.

This was touted as the main opera event at this year's Salzburg and, in my
view, it surely lived to its expectations. I watched only the first act
while the rest listened in audio and can't comment on the production until
I see it in full.

Best, Vesna

On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 6:41 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>  I originally sent this on the 12th.  I am amazed there was no other
> posting on this Aida broadcast.  I would have assumed that Anna Netrebko's
> first Aida under Riccado Muti no less, at Salzburg, would elicited some
> response on this list.  In the old days the postings would have been
> endless.  Nobody listened?  Nobody cared?  It was all over Facebook.
>
> Donald
>
> On Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 6:12 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > I just completed listening to the Aida broadcast from Salzburg that
> > included the much anticipated debut of Anna Netrebko as Aida.  It was a
> > good performance but for me a bit of a mixed bag.  Of course with Maestro
> > Muti and the Wiener Philharmoniker,  you are going to get an orchestrally
> > gorgeous performance with superbly judged tempi and gorgeous textures
> from
> > the orchestra and that we had in abundance.  It was beautifully conducted
> > as only Muti can.
> >
> > Now, the big question - how as Anna Netrebko's first Aida?  To my ears,
> > very good, very, very good.  I am sure with more performances it will get
> > even better.  Vocally she was secure and did many felicitous things.
> The C
> > in O patria mia was well taken, not the best I have heard but fairly easy
> > and held just long enough.  The rising lines at the end of the aria were
> > gorgeously taken on one breath,, just the way I like it.  Elsewhere she
> had
> > plenty of power, the voice was even and the tone beautiful.  Was she the
> > best Aida I have heard?  Who knows,  I would rather hear her live in the
> > role before I make that statement, but I was pleased.  My Aida's include
> > Leontyne Price, the other Price (Dame Maggie), Nilsson (a fabulous Aida
> > BTW), Arroyo (the best - as well sung as L Price but with a much bigger
> > voice and that incredible powerful upper register that  Price lacked),
> > Tomowa-Sintow (belissima) and Varady (also belissima), just to name the
> > best in my experience (live).  Ekaterina Semenchuk was a fine Amneris.
> The
> > voice rich and powerful with the requisite authority and an easy top and
> > solid lower tones.  The voice was even throughout the range and she had
> > full measure of the imperious Amneris.  The judgement scene was as good
> as
> > it gets today.
> >
> > Now, for the rest.  I have always liked Francesco Meli.  It is a
> beautiful
> > voice and I have seen him live a few times, he is also very easy on the
> > eyes, something that didn't matter today as it was an audio only
> > broadcast.  That's the problem. Without the visuals, he was really not my
> > idea of a Radames.  What should have been one of the best parts of the
> > opera for him, Celeste Aida, showed him in uneven, unsteady voice.  He
> got
> > better as the opera progressed even though he doesn't have the power for
> > the Triumphal Scene.  The third act and final acts were better.  It is
> not
> > really a Radames voice.  He is a beautiful lyric tenor and why he is
> doing
> > this I do not know.  Perhaps my problem is that my first Radames' were
> > Corelli. Tucker and Bergonzi (not a honker of a voice) but he had Radames
> > down pat and of course, was the great Verdi stylist of his time.  He knew
> > how to sing this music with a less than clarion voice.  Meli does not.\.
> > The role is just a few sizes beyond his fine lyric tenor.  Luca Salsi was
> > OK as Amonasro.  The voice a bit dry and lacking the power at the top a
> > real Verdi baritone needs.  Belosselskiy and Tagliavini were good as
> Ramfis
> > and the King.  Good, nothing special.
> >
> > This emerged as one of the better Aida's I have heard over the past
> decade
> > (not really saying much LOL), not perfect but with many satisfactions,
> > particularly in the pit and on the female side.  So there it is, my take.
> >
> > Donald
> >
>
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