This series of extracts from archive and broadcast material of Anna Netrebko's performances at New York Met nicely summarises one of the most remarkable and meteoric operatic careers of recent years. The choice of material is Netrebko's own, but it isn't by any means self-congratulatory. She avoids big soprano solos, with the exception of the mad scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor and I Puritani, in favour of ensembles and duets, tacitly acknowledging that opera, however starry it gets, is ultimately a team effort. Not all of it is ideal. I could have done with less of her as Gounod's Juliette, here paired with Roberto Alagna blasting away as Roméo, and more of her in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, where she sings a ravishing Antonia opposite an immaculate Joseph Calleja in the title role. The real treat is her Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace, conducted by Gergiev, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky as a dreamy Andrei. It's nicely recorded, too: some of Netrebko's discs capture the power of her voice at the expense of its opulence; here, you get a real sense of its force and beauty.
Tim Ashley is a Guardian classical and opera critic, though he's also keen on literature and philosophy so you might sometimes find him cross-referencing all three. His work has also appeared in Literary Review and Opera magazine and he is author of a biography of Richard Strauss