In spring 1978, thirty children scramble into the Netrebko family house in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar: the younger of the two daughters has invited her whole class to her birthday party. The parents, an engineer and a geologist, are quite taken by surprise given that Anna’s birthday is not until September. Anna is in luck and the party is permitted to take place nonetheless. Thanks to her overflowing imagination and verve for staging things, the six-year-old was able to enjoy an additional party.
Anna has wanted to be on stage since the age of three; she dreams of becoming an actress or the star of a musical. When as a young girl she hears opera on the radio, she changes the station; her love for classical singing would awaken only later.
She made her double stage debut at the age of sixteen: as an extra playing the rear end of Stravinsky’s Firebird, and as the second prizewinner in the Miss Kuban Beauty Contest, for which she won a television.
On the long path from Krasnodar to probably the world’s most famous female opera singer, her attractiveness and boundless talent for self-marketing are only a side-effect; most decisive have been the beauty of her voice and her extraordinary vocal and acting ability.
“I’m simply Anna,” she says, “a completely normal woman who happens to be able to sing quite tolerably.” Anna assoluta.
1971 born Krasnodar (in the former Soviet Union, 1200 kilometers from Moscow)
1994 debut as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater, first international engagements follow
Definitive breakthrough as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the 2002 Salzburg Festival, Met debut the same year
Her album The Woman, the Voice comes out in 2004 with video clips à la MTV
Netrebko has been an Austrian citizen since 2006. A later photo alongside an east Ukrainian separatist leader earns her sharp criticism not only from the Austrian Foreign Ministry. She later refrains from making public statements about politics
In 2007 Netrebko is the first classical music artist to ever be included in Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people
Numerous prizes, including four Echo Klassik Awards, nine gold and six platinum record awards (as of 2017), and the title “Kammersängerin”
Did you know?
Anna Netrebko is the pop star of opera as only Maria Callas before her. She declines to speak about Callas, however
The international yellow press continually reports not only on Netrebko’s love of extravagant clothing, but also every fluctuation in the enthusiastic amateur cook’s body weight
In an interview she reveals that she had “absolutely loved being pregnant.” Her son Tiago, born in 2008 (from a relationship with Uruguayan baritone Erwin Schrott), suffers from a mild form of autism
She has been married to Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov since 2014
Netrebko possesses an exceptionally healthy and robust voice; in recent years it has become darker and fuller, permitting her to expand her repertoire to include lyric-dramatic roles
She has stated that she doesn’t put any thought into what is good or bad for her voice to avoid becoming paranoid
When asked what her greatest Russian talent is, she answers: “I can survive. Like a cucaracha, the famous Spanish cockroach. Wherever I’m placed.”
After her successful debut as Elsa in Lohengrin, Netrebko reveals that more Wagner roles would not be following so soon; the German language simply presents her with too many difficulties