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Subject: radvanovsky as norma
From: kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 16 Nov 2016 17:53:51 -0600
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Last night I had a chance to enjoy a video of “Norma” with Sondra Radvanovsky, Ekaterina Gubanova and Gregory Kunde. I had the great pleasure of seeing Sondra as Norma 2 years ago in San Francisco and was thrilled by her performance, a dazzling display of great singing and depth of interpretation. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on perfection but it seems I’m wrong. She has done it! 

I must admit that I consider her to be today’s greatest soprano so I may tend to overlook any of her flaws (which, of course, are non-existent… ahem) but what I heard in this performance was a magnificent opera singer at her absolute best. A genuine professional, she paced herself so that she was as strong at the end as she was at the beginning. Just about my favorite part of the opera is the section beginning with the line, “In mia man alfin tu sei” and Sondra brought out the cold fury of the words chillingly.

Gubanova was a fine Adalgisa, not great, but certainly better suited to the role than, say, Josephine Veasey who appeared in the classic Caballe performance on that windy night in Orange some years back.

What surprised me about this performance was Gregory Kunde’s Pollione. I remember him back in the 70s when he was a young tenor with a very small light lyric tenor voice. I believe he decided to make his career in Europe because the theatres are smaller there for the most part and size doesn’t matter all that much. There’s no way of discerning vocal size from an electronic source but he is most certainly no longer a lyric! Indeed, I was very impressed with his singing.

The only drawback, for me, was the conducting of Renato Palumbo which tended to drag and had no apparent forward thrust. Perhaps the maestro studied conducting with Chicago’s longtime resident routinier?

The production was the same one that I saw in San Francisco and it will be making its way back to the U.S. for LOC’s staging this season. Sondra is scheduled to appear and I am looking forward to seeing her again. Big time!

Kurt Youngmann

“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best -- and therefore never scrutinize or question." - Stephen Jay Gould

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