[Note: This post has been updated (2) as of 3:03 PM Eastern on 16 Feb. See below.]
So I tuned in the PBS telecast of the Met's Puritani last night. Why, you may ask, did I subject myself willingly to this risible piece of typical bel canto trash? To ogle Anna Netrebko, of course. Curious thing is, while I came to ogle, I left involved. With the opera, that is, so dramatically convincing was Netrebko's performance. No mean trick that, in this static Sicilian soap opera in which the music is pure organ grinder kitsch, and the drama, nonexistent.
Does Netrebko have a beautiful voice? Indeed she does: velvety plush, quite beautiful, and up to handling the vocal requirements of the role. Is she vocally on a par technically with a Sutherland or a Sills in this rep? She most decidedly is not. But, then, few are.
My point is that Netrebko was riveting in a role which is anything but riveting, and that, boys and girls, requires a native genius impossible to acquire. Anna Netrebko. Not just a drop-dead gorgeous babe with a gorgeous voice, but an opera phenomenon.
Update (2:47 PM Eastern on 16 Feb): Devoted opera buff and blogger Leon Dominguez of Sieglinde's Diaries comments, and adds some observations of his own.
Update 2 (3:03 PM Eastern on 16 Feb): And blogger George Wallace of A Fool In The Forest provides comment and a link to video proof of Netrebko's native genius, as I've above called it, in this post on the Sounds & Fury Classical Music & Opera Forum.