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- (Disc 1)

Massenet, Jules - Composer
Bizet, Georges - Composer
Verdi, Giuseppe - Composer
Vert, Juan - Composer
Mascagni, Pietro - Composer
Puccini, Giacomo - Composer
Penella, Manuel - Composer

Venue: Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris
Date of Concert: 2007
Playing Time: 01:37:34
Television Director: Simmonet, Olivier
Catalogue Number: A015026690000

The excitement is palpable at Paris' Théâtre des Champs-Elysées this 28 March 2007. Anna Netrebko is not only making her debut in France, but she is making it with Rolando Villazon. The "dream couple" of the opera world is about to bring its incomparable charm and magnetism to France's "melomanes," 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 Villazon 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 Romeo et Juliette and the little-known Polyeucte, along with the famous "duo de Saint-Sulpice" from Massenet's Manon. Not surprisingly, a Russian composer also graces the program; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Iolantha are sung superbly by Netrebko. Villazon'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. They perform duets from La Traviata, the couple's breakout vehicle of 2005, as well as pieces by Ponchielli, Catalani and Puccini, including the ever-popular "O soave fanciulla" from La Boheme. Villazon 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 Montes, "Tonight" from Bernstein's West Side Story and the Violetta/Alfredo duet "Libiamo" from La Traviata. Despite its thorough planning and perfect coordination, the Paris Concert is like a get-together of two friends, whose naturalness and sincerity are light years away from the posing and attitudes of many of today's divas!

Part 1

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