“Netrebko and Villazón have toured with a recital programme in which most of these duets have been included, interspersed with a few solos and orchestral pieces. In London they sang to much cheering but against a general feeling that Villazón's warm tone and eager personality contrasted with Netrebko's rather chilly star– grooming, while the purity of her tone was a little less appealing than it might have been because she sang so much more loudly than she need have done. As recorded, the voices match well in terms of volume, and Netrebko's brightness seems reduced in wattage sufficiently to distribute the lighting more evenly. It's still not the voice of a Mimì (not warm enough) or a Lucia (not vulnerable) but the voice–character becomes better suited after these two, which as it happens are the opening numbers, though in the London recital there was no Donizetti and the Puccini was used for the finale.
It was then spoiled, as it is now, by the offstage notes at the end being sung in octaves and fortissimo instead of in harmony and pianissimo as marked. Also Mimì's 'Io t'amo' is marked con abbandono but not molto ritardando. Such changes vulgarise a finely calculated score which needs no additional underlining. There is, however, lovely singing by Villazón, who in the Lucia duet phrases his verse of 'Verrano a te' with a breadth matched by the grace of his beautifully lightened tone. The French excerpts go well, the Manon being particularly well characterised.
Netrebko is her best self in the Tchaikovsky duet. The voices are well recorded; the Dresden violins caught in rather harsh exposure of the overtones, which are not the things we most want to hear.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010