It seems unfair to prejudge Miss Gheorghiu's Norma. She appears to be a
fine singer, who should be given a chance. Normas are not born, nor is
there a Norma nursery or an authorised Norma breeding-ground located
somewhere in the lyric triangle. There is no definitive Norma voice.
Writing in the Rassegna Canora, the critic Cesare Arrivabene points out
that Maestro Serafin cast the Greek songstress as Norma, with considerable
success, although many Beckmessers at the time proclaimed she did not have
the voice for this role. Later, Beckmesser offsprings proclaimed that the
angelic Ripollese diva did not have the temperament for Norma, but in the
event she made a success of it, at least for some years, performing it most
authoritively, magnificently and majestically in a force ten gale in
southern France. The same Don Tullio Serafin, a sovereign connoisseur of
voices, was also eager to cast in this role la Tebaldi, a singer with a
very different type of voice and temperament. He did this opera
successfully with a range of other sopranos, including la Barbieri, with
varying types of voice. Who can deny that we urgently need a new Norma?
Give la Gheorghiu a chance!