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Anna Netrebko - The Woman, The Voice
Anna Netrebko - The Woman The Voice
Actors: Anna Netrebko, Eric Assandri, Sophie Beyne, Ararat Chinarian, Magdi Davidoff
Director: Vincent Paterson
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     0hr 52min

No Description Available. Genre: Music Videos - Classical Rating: NR Release Date: 23-NOV-2004 Media Type: DVD

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Movie Details

Actors: Anna Netrebko, Eric Assandri, Sophie Beyne, Ararat Chinarian, Magdi Davidoff
Director: Vincent Paterson
Creators: Chris Weiss, GŁnter Euringer, Vincent Paterson, Bernhard Fleischer, Michaela Noa, Paul Fenkart, Ute Fesquet
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/23/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 0hr 52min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, German
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

A Travesty
William R. Franklin | Timonium, MD USA | 12/05/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"It would be extremely difficult to create a truly bad video whose subject is a stunningly beautiful soprano with a gorgeous voice - difficult but not impossible as Vincent Patterson ably demonstrates in this lamentably ridiculous disc.

The DVD rates two stars only because Netrebko's beauty and talent speak for themselves. What a pity that they have to be violated by Patterson's miserably failed attempts at creative artistry.

What are we to make of Don Giovanni sung amidst a forest of "human trees" portrayed by gauze clad wimps of indeterminate sex, the frequent changes of Ms. Netrebko's clothing in a single scene, the soprano groping at a man in a shower and the many other examples of amorphous staging that have nothing to do with opera, music or anything else? Patterson's efforts are less than I would expect from a small town high school play.

The best parts are the all too brief and too few scenes from Netrebko on stage. They, with the added music, make this disc an acceptable purchase for those who wish permament documentation of an excellent talent. Some may wish to wait for more serious and sensible examples."
MTV meets Opera... with mixed results
dooby | 05/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I hesitated for the longest time in getting this DVD because of all the conflicting reviews. Fortunately I chanced upon a copy going at bargain-price and just had to see what the hoo-haa was about. Now I understand why so many viewers disliked it. It's a collection of "music videos," much like what you'd see on MTV. Personally, I thought the videos were on the whole quite well done. My complaint is that there is so little here. The main programme is barely 49 mins long and consists of a sum total of just 5 "music videos," each preceeded by Anna's introductions and interspersed with interviews with her on her life and career. Together with 19 minutes worth of bonus clips, the DVD lasts just over an hour. The 133min running time stated on the back cover needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt because it involves various permutations of watching the videos - without the introductions or without the interviews or just watching the interviews without the videos etc.
The five music videos in order of appearance are:
1. "Les grands seigneurs ont seuls des airs...Ah! je ris de me voir" (Jewel Song) from Gounod's "Faust"
2. "Quando me'n vo' (Musetta's Waltz)" from Puccini's "La Boheme"
3. "Crudele? - Ah no, mio bene! Non mi dir" from Mozart's "Don Giovanni"
4. "Care compagne, et voi, ternei amici" from Bellini's "La Sonnambula"
5. "Mesicku na nebli hlubokem" (Song to the Moon) from Dvorak's "Rusalka"
These are all taken from her debut CD "Opera Arias" and she lip-synchs to them in the videos. The DVD looks more like a promo for her CD than a full-fledged operatic DVD. Which brings us to the pricing. If you want to make a music video, than price it like other music videos, not as a premium-priced opera DVD.

The real treasures here are the 3 bonus clips - live recordings of Anna as she appears onstage. My favorite is the exerpt from Glinka's "Ruslan and Lyudmila" recorded in 1995 at the Mariinsky Theater in her home city of St. Petersburg (Act I aria "Grustno mne, roditel' dorogoy!"). Of the 2 Traviata exerpts, the "E strano! ... Delirio vano e questo!" & the "Sempre Libera" aria (Act I Finale) from her 2003 Vienna State Opera debut performance are exhilarating and fully deserving of the thunderous bravos from the usually sedate Viennese audience.

Throughout the disc, Anna's singing is superb. She has a gorgeous and very expressive voice. And she is without doubt one of the most beautiful sopranos to have ever graced the stage.

Much of the vitriol of critics center around the videos themselves which bear little relation to the operas although most are inspired by the text of the arias being sung. Several are just simple updates to more modern settings. The "Jewel Song" video could be easily mistaken for any modern pop music video. The "Non mi dir" is impressionistic and rather avant-garde. Personally I found them creative and quite enjoyable. I still don't get the significance of the dancers with tree branches for limbs in the "Don Giovanni" aria (much like the mutilated Lavinia in Julie Taymor's avant-garde production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus) but it was visually arresting and quite unforgettable. My favorite piece here remains Rusalka's "Song to the Moon." It is beautifully sung, quiet and restrained yet so full of longing and heartache that it brings a tear to the eye. Unfortunately that doesn't extend to the accompaning video which was, strangely, rather disappointing. For once the video gives a very literal interpretation of the aria. Rusalka is a water spirit who asks to be made human so that she can be near the Prince that she loves. The video opens with a lovely shot of the moon, followed by a pan down to gently lapping waves. What spoils the illusion is the sight of Anna lounging or clinging on to a plastic inflatable as she floats in a darkened swimming pool. Tacky doesn't even begin to describe it. Still, she is a pleasure to watch, no matter how insipid the setting.

The main programme comes in a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen (enhanced for widescreen TV) with very good picture quality and excellent surround sound. Three sound tracks are provided: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo (CD quality). The sound has more presence than most classical music DVDs I've come across. Of the 3 bonus clips, the 2 Traviata exerpts are in 4:3 fullscreen while the Ruslan is in letterbox widescreen (Non-anamorphic). The "Traviata" exerpt from Bavaria looks rather shabby due to overly bright stage lighting but the "Traviata" from Vienna and the "Ruslan" from the Mariinsky both look very good indeed.

Grouses aside, credit should be given to all involved for attempting something new. Opera audiences are shrinking by the day. If this endeavor has even minimal success in bringing the MTV generation to the sublime joys of opera, kudos to it. For the sake of us fuddy-duddy old folk who have enjoyed opera for years, I hope Ms Netrebko releases another DVD of more traditional performances soon. Live performances, even short exerpts like that shown in the bonus clips would find a ready and deeply appreciative audience."
Susan K. Lonergan | 12/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Anna Netrebko: The Woman, The Voice is a gorgeous DVD.
Anna is stunningly beautiful with the voice of an
angel. The interview is fascinating and she answers so
many questions that I feel are fresh. I loved
discovering about her history as well as how she
handles fame and success.
The video interpretations of her arias are fantastic.
The mesmerizing 'Don Giovanni" aria has Anna singing
among a "people" forest. It is haunting and surreal.
The suppressed trophy wife in "La Boheme" made me sad
and yet hopeful. And where did they shoot "La
Sonnambula?" That place looks like a sci-fi museum.
Beautiful.I loved seeing contemporary takes on some of
my favorite arias. It is a great DVD.
Expensive Piece of Anna Banana
Akimon Azuki | 10/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I like this pretty little DVD, and I have watched it several times since I got it, but it's an expensive piece of Anna. If you want to get this enjoyable and luxurious, albeit pricey, Netrebko release, it is worth it, but I think it would have been even greater, and possibly even more of a chart topping, hot selling product if it was priced at the standard music video $14.99 level. DG Label, listen up please!
"Anna Speaks!" interviews are cool, she comes across as a smart and little crazy cookie, and the videos are great, bad lipsyncing and all. I especially like Non Mir Dir, done in artsy and creepy Julie Taymor style, and Rusalka, campy fun at its best, but the real reason to get this DVD would be the three live pieces, two from Traviata and one from Anna's early days at the Mariinsky Theatre. What a firecracker she was on stage even then! It's also interesting that while her overall diction is still mushy nowadays, she sounds great in Russian in this Ruslan and Ludmila piece, I can understand every word.
I don't understand what the ruckus was about with this whole "opera video clips are evil and will mean the death of opera" campaign geared against Anna's videos. I think many people still like their stodgy, immobile Fat Lucy clones too much to embrace a singer that looks hot and sings great. It's time to wake up though, evolve or die. I think the days of dominance of trim, athletic and shapely singers who can sing, move and act the hell out of any opera and are not allergic to modern productions are finally here. Netrebko, Roland Villazon and Simon Keenlyside for starters, there's no going back.
There is a little promo for opera DVDs included on this release, and among other footage, it shows Eaglen and Heppner in Met's recent Tristan and Isolde. This production looks like National Geographic special on whale mating, that's bad enough, and it's distressing to see Tristan and Isolde that cannot even embrace, because of their enormous girths, but it's Eaglen's totally expressionless delivery and "just standing there" school of acting that freaks me out the most. Give me Anna instead, singing in a Planet of the Apes Rigoletto, or floating on a lilo. I'll choose her over the old school any time."