Four of the greatest singers of our time combine their talents and their artistry in an evening of beloved operatic numbers – rarely has a concert deserved the title “Opera Summit“ as much as this one, recorded live at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden on 3 August 2007. Heading the quartet is soprano Anna Netrebko with her inimitable blend of glamour and simplicity, her enticing appearance and seductive singing, a musical powerhouse who tops the pop charts and sells out operas houses within hours.
Hardly less dazzling than her Russian colleague is Latvian mezzo Elīna Garanča, whose crystal-clear voice and charismatic stage presence never fail to enthrall her audiences. She is a frequent guest of the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival, where she made her sensational debut as Annio in Mozart‘s “La clemenza di Tito“ in 2003. Her international career has taken her to Covent Garden, the Met, and other prestigious stages. She was awarded the European Cultural Prize in Dresden in 2006.
Replacing the indisposed Rolando Villazón is his fellow Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas, who began his career in Europe after winning the first prize in the Enrico Caruso Competition in Milan. His international breakthrough came in 1993 when he replaced Luciano Pavarotti as Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor.“ Today he sings at all the world‘s major theaters. French baritone Ludovic Tézier is a frequent guest at La Scala, the Opéra Bastille and the Met. His interpretations of Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva, as well as Tchaikovsky‘s Eugene Onegin, have brought him ovations at the Glyndebourne Festival and the Bregenz Festival.
Under experienced opera conductor Marco Armiliato, the orchestra of the SWR Baden-Baden lends its sensitive musical support to the singers. The first part of the program consists of Italian arias in which the stars dazzle above all in bel canto fireworks. The second half is devoted to the more lyrical outpourings of the romantic masters such as “O soave fanciulla“ from “La Bohème“ and the quartet “Bella figlia dell‘amore“ from “Rigoletto.“ Five encores round off the concert, which concludes with a rousing rendition of the “Brindisi“ from “La Traviata.“