The Berlin Concert: Live from the Waldbühne
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On July 7, 2006, the Waldbuehne amphitheatre in Berlin was host to the greatest voices of their day as more than 20,000 spectators gathered to hear Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, and Placido Domingo in an open-air concert celebrating the close of the Wo
Sparks fly in this video of the all-star concert from Berlin's equivalent of the Hollywood Bowl in July 2006, part of the World Cup festivities. The electricity is generated by the all-star trio of tenors Placido Domingo and Rolando Villazon and soprano Anna Netrebko in a program of operatic and vocal favorites. The crowd estimated at 20,000 eats it all up, and so will home viewers who'll relish the prospect of great singers performing great music.
Domingo is his usual self, still remarkable at an age when most tenors have called it quits. He sings with intensity and a voice undimmed by the passing of time. Domingo's duets with his partners are notable for his acute phrasing, the highlights being the first-act love duet from Verdi's Otello with Netrebko's gorgeous lyric Desdemona and the ravishing duet with Villazon from Bizet's The Pearlfishers, in which he takes on the baritone role. Netrebko seems slightly stiff at first but loosens up as the evening progresses, but she's in excellent voice, with luminous pianissimos most sopranos wish they could emulate. Her Puccini arias are beautifully sung, and she even offers a Franz Lehar aria and a charmingly accented duet, "Tonight," from West Side Story with Villazon. But if anyone can be said to steal the show it's Villazon, a singer in perpetual motion, who brings the house down with a version of Rossini's La Danza full of dash and brio. There's a lot more, from Spanish songs to arrangements of the Brindisi from La traviata and Lehar's Expert accompaniments are by the Orchestra of the Deutschen Opera of Berlin under the baton of conductor Marco Armiliato, who also offers several well-shaped operatic overtures and intermezzos and joins in the fun during the unbuttoned encores. Too bad the video direction doesn't match the on-stage proceedings. The production team apparently suffers from camera nervosa, the cameras swooping above the scene, then to floor level, now up, now down, now in close-up, now in long shot, searching for novelty while distracting from the music. There are also misjudged cuts, jumps, and angles. This hyperactivity doesn't seriously mar enjoyment but it is a blemish on a terrific concert. --Dan Davis
Expert accompaniments are by the Orchestra of the Deutschen Opera of Berlin under the baton of conductor Marco Armiliato, who also offers several well-shaped operatic overtures and intermezzos and joins in the fun during the unbuttoned encores. Too bad the video direction doesn't match the on-stage proceedings. The production team apparently suffers from camera nervosa, the cameras swooping above the scene, then to floor level, now up, now down, now in close-up, now in long shot, searching for novelty while distracting from the music. There are also misjudged cuts, jumps, and angles. This hyperactivity doesn't seriously mar enjoyment but it is a blemish on a terrific concert. --Dan Davis
Top customer reviews
First, it's Netrebko, swaying to the music and almost dancing as she sings the line, "My mother was a dancer" from Franz Lehar's Giuditta.
Later, Villazon captivates the audience with a rousing, delightful, "Italian Wedding-style" La Danza by Rossini. Alongwith the audience, Netrebko is so inspired that she's still dancing, as he leads her out for her La Boheme aria.
As twilight approaches at this outdoor "forest concert" in Berlin, the night is capped off by all three, performing a Lehar song, "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" ("You are my only love"), in which Domingo and Villazon alternate their wooing, each pulling Netrebko towards them. Alternating her own flirtations, she puts the cherry on the sundae with a high note that brings down the house. It just doesn't get any better than this.
I was so enthusiastic about this concert that I invited friends over to see whether I was just bewitched, or if they too, found it enchanting. Indeed, they too found it irresistible. You will love this concert so much that you will barely be able to wait to share it with friends!
The entire concert is bouyant and thrilling. Orchestral episodes are perfectly chosen to confer pacing. The conductor is obviously at ease & enjoying himself, and the rousing rendition of Rossini's Semirande overture is by far the most zesty and effervescent you're ever likely to hear. This is an unqualified triumph measured by the highest standards of warm heartedness and the deep love of music and humanity.
But on July 7, 2006, the Waldbühne hosted a much more joyous event - a Friday night concert performance by Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón and Placido Domingo. It was a prelude to the final game of the 2006 World Cup, which was played at the Olympiastadion the following Sunday.
In this crowd-pleasing, popular collection, Domingo justifies his legendary status and all three performers justify their superstar status.
It takes Netrebko a little while to warm up, emotionally, but when she does, she sizzles. In fact, the emotional intensity of the performances is what most distinguishes this concert. The previous year, Villazón had performed Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata at the Salzburg Festival, opposite Netrebko as Violetta, and there is an obvious chemistry between them. Here, in the 'Brindisi' from La traviata, Villazón must share his character with Domingo, in their wooing of Netrebko's Violetta.
Throughout the concert, Domingo, at 65, is simply astonishing. But it is Villazón that shines brightest, and his performance of Rossini's La Danza is the highlight for me. It is a miracle of breath control, apart from anything else.
The Orchestra der Deutschen Oper of Berlin, under Marco Armiliato, is excellent, and the orchestral overtures and entr'acte are perfectly chosen.
The concert was certainly a lot more fun than the World Cup final itself, which is chiefly remembered for France's Zinedine Zidane headbutting an Italian player.
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