Anna Netrebko: The Toughest Crowd Is…

Russian soprano Anna Netrebko
Anna Netrebko makes her Chicago debut

An Interview with Anna Netrebko

“(The) diva assoluta del mondo”

—Opera News

If ever there were one whose reputation precedes her, it’s Anna Netrebko. She’s been electrifying opera houses across the globe for over fifteen years, but not in Chicago. Tonight that changes. Ms. Netrebko will sing six performances as Mimì with her frequent co-star Joseph Calleja as Rodolfo. Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of La bohème, by Louisa Muller, is tradition at its best. According to Ms. Netrebko, “Sometimes it works the best if it’s a traditional production—especially this opera. … It’s all set up. It’s done. It’s perfect.”

But for all the times she’s sung Mimì, there’s one stage that gives her the jitters. It’s home to an audience that feels every bit of its connection to Puccini, who had once inhabited that company: La Scala in Milan. Ms. Netrebko admits, it’s “because they might boo.” (They didn’t. Her appearances were sold out; and there were many curtain calls.)

Hear the interview:

Lyric Opera’s La bohème is a split cast. The opera opened in January with Ana María Martínez and Dimitri Pittas in the lead roles. Tonight’s performance marks the opening for Round 2, with Ms. Netrebko and Mr. Calleja singing the leads. Performances of Puccini’s La bohème continue at the Civic Opera House through March.


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