As a huge opera fanatic and someone who is appreciating Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko more the more she hears them, this concert was a treat for me. The concert is shot beautifully and in a way that you feel that you are there despite the fact you aren't(though you wish to) and the venue is enough to make you wish you were there and be made welcome. The orchestra gives the music space while giving it tightness too and the conducting is sympathetic and lively. The Romeo et Juliette overture is beautifully played and the Eugene Onegin Polanaise is the very meaning of grand. The harps in the Iolanta duet are very dynamic and make the music even more magical than it already is. The music is outstanding, the likes of Kuda, Kuda(known as Lensky's aria) and O Suave Fanciulla are among the best ever written. The best renditions of the night are a Kuda, Kuda so poignant that you'll be reaching for tissues, a O Soave Fanciulla where you can feel the love, a smouldering Manon duet and of course a closing number(very Spanish-sounding) that is so exciting in how fiery it is. Both Netrebko and Villazon are in great voice and really deliver whether together or individually. Netrebko, attired in dresses that are worthy of an award, apart from some smudged colouratura and a cracked but beautifully recovered high C in Je Veux Vivre, sings radiantly. And she is a very good and communicative actress, who clearly puts a lot of thought in her characterisations, whether seductive in the Manon duet or affecting in the La Wally aria. Villazon(who admittedly makes a better first impression in an aria also from Romeo et Juliette) shows little signs of strain or over-tension and sounds honeyed and burnished that sounds like it has a Domingo-in-his-youth influence to it. His diction is clear and he is a very good actor as well, witty and ardent, he has shown a tendency to be on the over-frenzied side but that's not seen here. They interact very well together in their duets, it comes off best in O Soave Fanciulla but one mustn't the fiery final duet or the emotional Iolanta duet. Overall, a beautiful concert and not one to forget in a hurry. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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