Exceptional talent by definition arises infrequently. The young (34) Georgian mezzo-soprano, the subject of this piece, fits into this tight niche. Though she has sung 53 performances at the Met since her debut there in 2011, her recognition as an operatic super nova has come this season the result of appearances as Amneris and the Princess di Bouillon in Aida and Adriana Lecouvreur, respectively. Anna Netrebko was the soprano in both operas. Rachvelishvili had no trouble rising to the level of the Met’s reigning diva. Riccardo Muti confirmed her exalted status when he called her the best Verdi mezzo in the world.
Below are some video and audio clips demonstrating not only her artistry, but her versatility as well. She can sing in styles usually forbidden to or trespassed by opera singers. First, a note about the YouTube videos. They have the lifespan of a Monarch butterfly. Accordingly, I have converted each one to an MP4 file that is linked below the inserted YouTube excerpt. Thus, if one, or more, go dark you can access the same video by clicking the link.
First, a haunting rendition of Summertime from Porgy and Bess. The band and the piano player are all Georgians, like Rachvelishvili. Her English is perfect as is her interpretation of Gershwin’s great melody.
Next is a foray in Astor Piazzolla and Argentine tango. The singer not only sounds like a Porteña she dances as well.
Finally before returning to opera, here’s the mezzo singing Volare with Jonas Kauffman. Kauffman is trying his best to look like he’s having as good time. So much so that he resembles a bobblehead. But his singing is fine.
Sapho’s aria from Gounod’s first opera of the same name is about the only piece that most opera goers are aware of. ‘Ô ma lyre immortelle’ is sung at the end of the third and final act after which the poetess fatally throws herself into the ocean.
Dalila’s aria from Samson et Dalila, ‘Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix’, gets a luscious reading that realizes all the beauty and sensuality contained in the famous number.
A couple of selections in Russian. ‘Snariazhay skorey’ is from Rimsky-Korsakov The Tsar’s Bride. The Rachmaninov’s song ‘Sing Not to Me, Beautiful Maiden’ is set to a Pushkin poem.
Now to Verdi, which as the article shows is just a part of what this gifted singer can do – an important part to be sure. O don fatale is from Rachvelishvili’s recital disc imaginatively titled Anita Rachvelishvili . I don’t believe she has sung Eboli from Don Carlo onstage, but if she hasn’t she soon will. Stride la vampa is from a 2018 performance of Il Trovatore at the Met. Strangely, the audience doesn’t applaud. Now that Muti has validated her Verdi bona fides the Met audience will follow instructions and go mad the next time she does the opera. The video just below is from a staged performance of Aida. It displays the last 11 minutes of the Judgement scene.
Finally, the Liber scriptus from the Verdi Requiem. Muti is the conductor.
The mezzo world appears to be in the grasp of this young artist, at least for the next 15-20 years. Given the variety of her talent she can go on any path or paths she chooses.