Sonntag, 9. August 2009

Anna's latest interview with the "FAZ"

It was mainly a fight

Anna Netrebko, 37, maybe the most famous soprano of our times, about her new roles, her changed voice and the life as a working mother

Anna Netrebko is in a hurry, like all working mothers. Sprinting on vertiginous heels through the "Brenner's Park" foyer in Baden-Baden, looking for a quiet place. In the flesh she's even more beautiful, more colourful and more graceful as on stage. The day before did she sing the "Iolanta" at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus for the first time, a dramatic character role out of a in this country totaly unknown, late Tchaikovsky opera. We aren't elsewise used to such dark mottled notes of La Netreko. And also this is new: Next week is she going to sing for the first time a piano recital, on 12th August at the Rosengarten Mannheim, accompanied by Elena Bashkirova. Repeated on 17th August in Salzburg, this time accompanied by Bashkirova's husband Barenboim. No surprise, that there are speculations, that the most expensive opera voice of the presence is in the moult, Belcanto-Anna changes into the dramatic fach.

FAZ: Miss Netrebko, did you red already your "Iolanta" critics today ?

Netrebko: Unfortunately I understand not enough german. But they told me, the critics are all very good...

FAZ: One newspaper wrote that, they are missing the irony at the staging. Is there in this romantic, late opera of Piotr Tchaikovsky at all something like irony ?

Netrebko: Oh no ! I think, "Iolanta" isn't meant ironical at all. In fact is it a very sad story. It deals with a girl, who is blind, but doesn't know that she is blind...

FAZ:...and who can see again, when she falls in love. In opera this is exactely vice versa then in real life, there is as is well-known love blind. Amazing is the duet, where Iolanta and her lover are singing about the light. It's a question of pure lyric. An elegy, no virtuoso bel canto. Doesn't suit into your fach at all !

Netrebko: Right. But look, that's Tchaikovsky. A completely different score than by Verdi, different orchestrated, and I sing in Russian, too. Still I wouldn't say, that this isn't my fach. At the moment I just enlarge my repertoire for a few pieces. There are also hard roles, for example I want to study Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" and Gounod's "Marguerite", and maybe I will also soon sing Verdi's "Trovatore". But alongside of course still the ones I sang already before: Lucia, Violetta...So ,I believe, you can't call this a fach change. Singing "Iolanta" here was a big risk for me. The opera is unknown here in Germany, in contrast in Russia enormous popular, every child child knows it there, mainly the fantastic baritone aria (laughs). If I present a piece here for the first time and I have no idea if the people will like it or not, am I committed to do it as perfect as possible.

FAZ: The people are coming into the Festspielhaus for listing their Anna and they leave it and know more about Tchaikovsky. That's great ! Also La Bartoli does it like this, to commission her popularity for unknown pieces. Do you want to do even more into this direction ?

Netrebko: I think it is great to advertise unknown music. But in principle I didn't set this as a goal. I sing what I like to sing. And when I have an opportunity to work with Valery Gergiev, I take it. That I should sing the "Iolanta", was actually to be honest his suggestion. I had to learn the role in a few days, we had in all only five days of rehearsal. Gergiev helped me a lot.

FAZ: How did you get on with the staging ?

Netrebko: I like modern productions, cause they are more interessting. Unfortunately are they today talking about nothing else than the "director's theatre" and under this understand I that a director shivers everything, which he doesn't like in the piece, including the music. This "Iolanta" production here is different, it is modern, everything else then vintage, it works very well. What I don't like at all is if directors make the play realistic, minimalistic and grey. The real life is already ugly enough ! The people have to pay much money for going to the theater, so they want to see something else then there own grey life. Even if the play is sad, believe I that it is absolutely unnecessary, that the curtain opens and we see the same neon light like at the office. I ask you: What's that ? Theatre is theatre ! It has to show something else like the reality. Otherwise I had never had problems with crazy directors, who want to do me crazy things. At Willy Decker's "Traviata" in Salzburg for expample did I sang head first while lying on the sofa. Decker is one of the directors who you can trust at first go. He has the whole conception in his head and his conception makes sense.

fAZ: You will for Decker's sake also perform at the Ruhrtriennale this year. But you cancelled your next performance as "Traviata" at the Met in New York. Why ?

Netrebko: One reason is, that I don't want to repeat myself anymore. This applies especially for the Salzburger "Traviata" production, which was so successful, that everybody saw it already, all are knowing me like this. I love this play a lot, I love this staging, I know all it off pat. But I don't want experience that routine creeps in. I don't want to be one day one or two levels worse in this role, maybe even without realising itself. And I just don't believe in, that I am in exactely in this production once again as good as five years ago. Then rather something totaly different, a new challenge...

FAZ: You would have to sing it this time at the Met also without your intimate partner Villazón.

Netrebko: He would sure think about the routine like me.

FAZ: Do you believe, that Rolando Villazón can get a grip on his vocal crisis ? Will he ever sing with you again ?

Netrebko: In any case will he return on stage. I'm sure. It's all about the sake. He will sing one day again in fact then, if he wants to sing again.

FAZ: Also your voice has changed in the last years, in a positive way: She got more depth and more colours. This is of course up to your baby. Did your son change your singer life ?

Netrebko: Oh yes ! Since I have the baby, I want definitely to foreclose the half of my commitments. I have a familiy now. I am very happy with this. Tiag is a cute baby, he is always in a good temper. But we don't get to see Erwin very often...

FAZ: Erwin Schrott, your partner, is singing at the moment the Don Giovanni in Vienna...

Netrebko: Yes, he has his career, he has a great deal to do. But I have also my carerr and have a great deal to do, too. Well I often think, why do we have to live like this ? All the time seperated of each other ? Life is much too short, singing isn't anything. By no means do I want to give off Tiago to a Nanny, but if it's the time, that he should go to school, must I have found a solution.

FAZ: Your Lied recital in Mannheim and Salzburg is a surprise.

Netrebko: Right, this is new. Lieder singing is much harder than opera singing. I gave already earlier Lied recitals, too but if anything rare. For example I can sing a great program with Strauss Liedern. Now I will do for the first time Lieder by Rimski-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky. It was Daniel Barenboim's idea. These Russian Lieder are gorgeous, two of them did I already sang for the "Souvenirs" album, the others are all totaly new. It is a lot of work. In a moment at five do I have the first coaching.

FAZ: Would you also sing Schubert or Schumann Lieder, if Barenboim would ask you for ? He was successful with it by Villazón...

Netrebko: I don't think so. This is nothing for me and my voice. I love these Lieder, but I rather listen to.

FAZ: A few years ago did you else say, you would never sing Wagner. But now you fancy with the role of Elsa, right ?

Netrebko: Wagner doesn't need more power than Tchaikovsky, you can take it from me (laughs) ! Yes, it's right, I would love to sing Elsa, but I didn't learn the role yet, and there aren't concrete plans yet. Maybe I will sing her one day. Maybe it will never happen.

FAZ: And why don't you sing more modern repertoire ?

Netrebko: For example ?

FAZ: My manager interdicted me the "Lulu" (laughs) ! No kidding, I really wanted to sing this. There are also two men, who want imperative persuade me: Willy Decker
and Daniel Barenboim. But first of all I don't like the setting with the third act, which Barenboim wants imperative to do. Secondly did my manager, you advises me, discourage in this case. The Lulu is very difficult to sing, extremely high. Too high for me...

FAZ: You sing elsewise high roles, too.

Netrebko: Yes, but Lulu is definitely too high for me. I have to be careful. Look, my voice is rather going lower, my repertoire is anyway already today much too wide-ranged. If you look around, you will not find many sopranos who sing the Susanna in "Figaro" and the Lucia at the same time. I mustn't enforce it.

FAZ: You are an opera singer, but as idolized as a pop star. Netrebko become a trademark, a product. How do you get along with it, that you are regarded different, than you are actually ?

Netrebko: I close my ears, so that I don't hear, what I don't want to hear. I close my eyes, so that I don't have to read, what I don't want to read (laughs). You see, it's actually totaly easy.

FAZ: Should her son become a singer one day ?

Netrebko: By no means. He should get happy.

FAZ: But you are happy as an singer, or does that only look like this ?

Netrebko: Yes. I am happy. But when I take a look back on my career, if can say it like this, was it first of all a fight. The singer profession draines a lot of energy, we have to discipline us enormous. And you have to dispense with many. Actually is singing first of all an enormous work.


Irina hat gesagt…

Thanks for the translation. It's a very interesting interview.

ChristinaLuise hat gesagt…

You're welcome =) Yes, I think so, too ! It's very interessting to hear, what she tells about the "Regietheater" and for example the Lulu.