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Subject: Re: Norma, Gheorghiu, etc.
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 25 Jul 2000 14:26:04 -0400
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On Tue, 25 Jul 2000 10:49:43 -0500, Thomas Kabaker <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>        From:   [log in to unmask] on 07/25/2000 12:24 AM
>        To:     [log in to unmask]@SMTP@cchntmsd
>        cc:
>
>        " Norma requires a
>        weight and density to the tone, especially in the middle of the
>voice that
>        the lyric soprano does not have. "
>
>        This probably is true as to most 21st century listeners'
>expectations. It's what we're used to hearing. But is there any indication
>that Bellini expected such a weight and density? It would be like saying
>Bellini expected a mezzo Algagesa. Did the modern mezzo even exist then?
>
>        Just my 2 cents.
>
>        regards,
>        tom

Can anyone convincingly argue that it's authentic for a lyric or coloratura
soprano to sing Norma?

The music demands a certain weightiness to the tone, especially in the
recitatives. This, combined with the floridity of some of the vocal
writing, means an ideal Norma would be either an agile dramatic or spinto.
I'm not saying lighter voices shouldn't sing the role---some, such as
Scotto, were able to compensate with theatrical intensity, and hearing
Sutherland sing "Casta Diva" in key is a thrill---I'm just saying it's not
the best fit.

I suppose Gheorghiu could develop into a spinto over the next few years,
although this seems highly unlikely, based on the studio recordings I've
heard. Her agility (and theatrical skills) may compensate a bit for the
lightness of her tone.

Jeffery Kennedy
San Francisco

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