Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater
Valery Gergiev, conducting
Review by: Robert Zierolf
Netrebko and Gergiev are an ideal musical pair, especially for Russian music.
Recorded in their "home" theater and assisted by Russian solo and
choral vocalists, these mostly dark, contemplative Russian texts are sung magnificently.
Netrebko has always had a captivating voice. Russian yet international, she
previously took chances that others wouldn't and didn't always quite
measure up vocally to what she wanted to do. She still takes those chances,
but now she measures up. Glinka's Italianate Cavatina is stunning in contrast
and control; in the Letter Scene from Onegin one can easily visualize the torment
and passion; the gentle loveliness of Rachmaninov's songs - all simply
splendid. Some of these works are familiar, others less so outside Russia. Fortunately,
we will surely hear much more of Netrebko and just as surely will not be disappointed.
Zierolf is Professor of Music Theory and
History and Division head of Composition,
Musicology, and Theory at the College-Conservatory
of Music, University of Cincinnati. He is
also a freelance writer on classical music.