Welcome to Singer Sunday: Opera Appreciation! For some of you, this may be your first time hearing an opera singer. Or maybe this is your favourite singer, too! Either way, I’m very glad you’ve decided to join me on a look at some of my favourite opera singers throughout the years. This series will go on all year, and there will be a post on the first Sunday of the month.
When I was thinking about doing this series, it was very hard to narrow down who I wanted to focus on. However, picking my first singer took me all of two seconds.
Anna Netrebko has been my favourite singer, idol, whatever you want to call her, since I was about 14 years old. Being Russian I felt a certain connection to her heritage, but her voice is what hooked me from day one. It’s always hard to put into words what a person’s voice sounds like, or what they are capable of doing. With Anna, the only way I can come close to describing it is that her voice sounds like clouds. Her voice floats along her breath and it can be light and angelic, or strong and present, but always miles above everyone else. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. A recent video of Anna singing O mio babbino caro from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini. Listen to how her voice just floats, and maybe go grab a tissue before you hit play.
Ok, fan girl moment over.
One of the things I love about Anna is her personality, she is such a fun-loving person. She takes her job of music very seriously but she has a deep understanding that people need to lighten up and be silly, too. If you have the time, I highly recommend watching this entire documentary on Anna. You see so many aspects of her life and what’s it’s like being such a high-profile opera singer.
(Parts 2 and 3 are also available on YouTube if you would like to continue watching.)
Post documentary, Anna has since changed voice types, or what we also call fachs (German). If you did watch the documentary you’ll know that Anna started out as a lyric soprano, a voice who tends to be in the middle spectrum of soprano voices, not too heavy, not too light. A great example is this recording of Quando m'en vo from La Boheme by Puccini.
But don’t be fooled in thinking that this is the goldilocks of sopranos. Anna has since moved over to the dramatic soprano repertoire. Her voice got bigger and darker, now she tackles the more, dare I say, intense roles. Here she is singing Vieni t’affretta from Macbeth by Verdi. And I mean, can we talk about that thumbnail...? She is amazing. So in character!!
I’m sure I could go on for ages talking about Anna and her wonderful voice. She was someone who inspired me through high school and through my college years, and to this day she remains my favourite opera singer. I hope you enjoyed listening to her as much as I do. Here are some bonus videos that I couldn’t bring myself to leave out of this post. With all that said, happy listening, happy September, and see you next time on Singer Sunday!