On Saturday, April 21, 2018, superstar soprano Anna Netrebko will make her role debut as “Tosca” at the Metropolitan Opera. The role of the famed diva will be the 20th role of Netrebko’s Met career, but shockingly, it will only be the third time she makes a role debut with the company.
Throughout her career, Netrebko has had the tendency to debut roles at other companies before taking them to the Met. This happened with “Anna Bolena” and “Macbeth,” where the Met was the second house that witnessed these interpretations. The same happened with “Eugene Onegin.”
Some roles were simply among her signatures that came to the Met later on in her trajectory. See “Iolanta” and “Trovatore.”
But her previous role debuts are special cases because she only ever did them at the Met.
The first of these role debuts was Norina in “Don Pasquale.” She first sang it on March 31, 2006, alongside Juan Diego Flórez and Mariusz Kwiecien. She sang it eight times that season and would return to the opera only once more in her career; that would be a 10-performance run in 2010-11 that included an immortalized Live in HD performance. She would never again sing that highly-praised interpretation in her career.
More shocking perhaps is her famous Elvira in “I Puritani.” She debuted it on Dec. 27, 2006, and would go on to perform it just seven times. It was the only time she ever sang the opera it in her career, but she made a massive impression in Bellini’s final masterwork. Few will forget the image of the diva dangling her head over the orchestra pit while throwing off coloratura runs.
It will be interesting to see if Netrebko’s journey with “Tosca” starts and ends at the Met. She recently canceled a run at Bayerische, but currently has no scheduled performances of the work.