The tension is palpable at Paris' Théâtre des Champs-Elysées this 28th of March 2007. Anna Netrebko is not only making her debut in France, but she
is making it with Rolando Villazón. The "dream couple" of the opera world is about to bring its incomparable charm and magnetism to France's "mélomanes." And the result is nothing less than phenomenal: "An unforgettable evening, rich in emotions, which many spectators will look back on with nostalgia one day and say: 'I was there!". No matter where they appear, Netrebko and Villazón inevitably work their magic on the audience, whether it consists of hundreds or, when broadcast on TV, of millions. For their Paris concert, the duo chose a broad selection of chiefly late-romantic works – the style for which their voices seem to be tailor-made. A tribute to France is offered with excerpts from Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette" and the little-known "Polyeucte," along with the famous "duo de Saint-Sulpice" from Massenet's "Manon." Not surprisingly, Russian composers also grace the program: Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" and "Iolantha" as well as Rachmaninov's "Twelve Songs," sung superbly by Netrebko and one of the highlights of the program. Villazón's Latin blood heats up Spanish songs by Sotullo-Otero, Vert, Moreno-Torroba and Penella. But it's in the Italian repertoire that the couple reaches heights of artistry, lyricism and passion. In duets from "La Traviata," the couple's breakout vehicle of 2005, but also in pieces by Ponchielli, Catalani and Puccini, including the ever-popular "O soave fanciulla" from "La Bohème." Villazón triumphs here as a warm and compelling Rodolphe. The singers, accompanied by the Orchestre National de Belgique under Emmanuel Villaume, conclude their program with three rousing encores, Penella's "El Gato Montés," "Tonight" from Bernstein's "West Side Story" and the Violetta/Alfredo duet "Libiamo" from "La Traviata."