You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Anna Netrebko

The Gold Standard: How the movies -- past and present -- changed our lives

In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” didn’t find the acting challenge a major stretch.

“When my mother was pregnant with me, she saw ‘Roman Holiday’ and named me Anna, which is the name of the princess played by Audrey Hepburn,” says Netrebko.

Hepburn’s turn in a 1964 Oscar winner loomed even larger. “Of course, ‘My Fair Lady’ was the big one,” she recalls. “I saw it as a young girl and — this was before perestroika — the speaking lines were in Russian translation with subtitles for the songs. It’s easy to fall in love with those melodies and beautiful costumes. Russians love Hollywood musicals. They were a huge influence, but it was rare to see them. When they were on TV, the streets of Kasnodar would be empty,” she says of her hometown.

Netrebko has been awarded new opera productions throughout the world and just released a CD, “Russian Album.” On her nights away from the opera house, she takes in the occasional movie tuner.

” ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ has beautiful music, but it’s a never-ending story. I’d shorten it,” she says. More impressive is “Chicago,” which offers not one but two femme fatale roles.

“I don’t think I’m a Roxie,” says the soprano. “I think I’m more the other one, Velma.”

See top story and other related content

More Film

  • 'Spiral' Review: A Look at the

    Film Review: 'Spiral'

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

  • Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin

    Film Review: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

  • Universal Launches Direct Distribution in Hong

    Universal Starts Direct Distribution in Hong Kong, Appoints Anita Cheung

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

  • Jane Fonda

    Film News Roundup: Jane Fonda to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Michael Moore's Festival

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

  • Kobe Bryant Barred From Film Academy

    Oscar Winner Kobe Bryant Barred Entry Into Film Academy

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

  • Producer Jennifer Todd Beats Jason Blum

    Producer Jennifer Todd Beats Out Jason Blum in Academy Governors Runoff Election

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

  • Mel Gibson

    Mel Gibson Loses Bid to Block Release of 'Professor and the Madman'

    In the L.A. Opera’s recent production of “Manon,” Netrebko updated the 18th-century French courtesan to a starstruck 1950s teenager trying to impersonate the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Despite having grown up in communist Russia, the diva, whom the New York Times recently called “the Julia Roberts of opera,” […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content