- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

MILAN (AP) - It won’t be all acting when soprano Anna Netrebko and her husband, tenor Yusif Eyvazov, sing the final, climactic duet in “Andrea Chernier” for La Scala’s gala season opener.

“The love is true. The sentiment is true. The kiss is real,” Eyvazov said Wednesday. “More than this .”

Eyvazov will be making his debut at the famed Milan theater when he performs the title role in an opera that first was staged at La Scala more than 80 years ago.

“The responsibility is great. The fear also,” he said.

For Netrebko, who sings the role of Maddalena di Coigny, the Dec. 7 season premiere will be her third at La Scala. She opened the La Scala season as Donna Anna in “Don Giovanni” in 2011 and in the title role of “Giovanna D’Arco” in 2015.

While Eyvazov has sung the Chernier role previously, this is his celebrated wife’s first outing as Maddalena. The couple often sings the final Chernier duet at concerts, but this will be their first time performing it together in the full opera.

“The music is very climactic. I love to sing with him because our voices are blending together,” the Russian soprano said.

“It is the smallest role I have sung,” Netrebko said. “It’s a wonderful role to rest. Because my repertoire is very hard. I am always singing these booming roles. This one, it is nice to be a little more quiet.”

Still, she said Chernier’s rhythms are challenging. Besides the big aria and final duet, “between it is just little phrases, which is actually very difficult,” Netrebko said.

Riccardo Chailly conducts “Andrea Chernier” as the opera by Umberto Giordano returns for the first time in three decades to the stage where it made its world premiere.

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