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Anna Netrebko's - Verismo justifies excitement / Washington Post

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One of the most anticipated opera albums of the year, "Verismo" justifies the excitement. The Russian soprano take on nearly a dozen roles she has never sung on stage, displaying a thrilling affinity for a style that in recent years has lacked ideal interpreters.

Verismo, or "realism," is the term used to describe Italian opera around the turn of the 20th century. The roles require a big voice and a big temperament: These ladies are divas in distress, whether it's Maddalena in Giordano's "Andrea Chenier" describing her mother's death at the hands of French revolutionaries, or the title character of Ponchielli's "La Gioconda" contemplating suicide. Netrebko brings them all to life with her creamy, flexible sound. Listen to the end of "Io son l'umile ancella" from Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvreur." She sings: "Un soffio e la mia voce, che al novo di morra" ("My voice is but a breath that at dawn will die"), and Netrebko draws out the last syllable seemingly forever, moving from full voice to a mere wisp of sound.


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