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Subject: Re: VASTLY DIFFERENT CRITICAL OPINIONS
From: Ombrarecds <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ombrarecds <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 31 Jan 2017 08:29:47 -0600
Content-Type:text/plain
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I love Gencer's Norma. She possessed an odd voice but she used her vocal quirks to great advantage. Galvany could deliver a lightning bolt as the Druidess as well.

Patrick Byrne

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 31, 2017, at 12:25 AM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I am going to try to weigh in on this.  It's only my feelings being
> expressed, and I speak for no one else.  When it comes to professional
> critical opinions, I read very carefully, usually accept the opinion (most
> of the time) and move on.  We all are actually our own critics.  What
> reaches US individually is highly personal.  
>     With a role like Norma, there is far too much for everyone to agree on.
> For me, Callas remains the ultimate Norma (on her live recordings, both of
> her studio recordings --------- even though on the second her vocal
> imperfections are easy to discern).  On the 1960 studio recording, even
> given the condition of her voice, she moves me like no other Norma.  She's
> commanding, has tremendous authority, and puts her stamp on the role as no
> one else has.  Given that, I find that despite some flawless singing,
> outstanding duet work with Marilyn Horne, etc, that Joan Sutherland was
> never a real Norma.  She lacked the authority and venom that must be present
> in the role.  Too many phrases went for nothing.  I think that Caballe came
> much closer to the ideal.  The role was way beyond Scotto, but she did her
> best (which wasn't enough).  I won't go into Elena Suliotis, whom I heard in
> Chicago.  At age 25, with a Callas-like voice, she failed terribly, in
> thought.  June Anderson tried Norma in Chicago in 1997, and it was at best
> an honorable attempt but still a noble failure.
>     Sondra Radvanovsky is most emphatically a beautiful and real Norma,
> though I'm sure many will disagree.  No, she can't dip her voice in venom
> like Callas could, but she sings with authority and with conviction.  I am
> unaware of any other Norma today who could touch her.  But this is only a
> reflection of what moves and thrills ME.  I love the opera, and I find the
> Norma situation made even more difficult by the "new approach" by Cecilia
> Bartoli, whom I feel has some really beautiful moments.  In fact, the whole
> performance is different from all the others, and it did take me several
> plays to appreciate it.  There's room for her interpretation also.  I've
> said this before, but I'll say it again:  I find it amazing that the critics
> praised it (for the most part) but opera lovers disdained it.  Perhaps many
> have changed their minds.
>     The crux of my point is that there are so many different ways to
> approach this very complex and difficult role that anyone who undertakes it
> is going to face some controversy, which is healthy.  I listen mostly to
> Callas, Caballe, Bartoli, and now Radvanovsky.  I find Sutherland's efforts
> to be technically admirable, but for me she's bloodless, and not really
> suited for this opera.  The emotional depths of the role are not hers to give.  
>     So there is no right or wrong.  People gravitate to what they like to
> hear in a Norma.  I find Radvanovsky today just about "as good it it gets" .
> I'm glad she waited so long to undertake the role and hope oher Norma
> deepens andrefines itself even further in the coming seasons.  I wonder what
> Anna Netrebko will one day make of this opera (if she ever besides to
> perform it.)
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