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Subject: Norma opening night
From: Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Ron Magnuson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 26 Sep 2017 18:45:52 -0400
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Carlo Rizzi made a fine first impression with a taut sinfonia going from fiery, martial sounds to creating mystery to energetic preview of the Norma, Pollione duet to a blissful, almost angelic episode before bringing the movement to a rousing conclusion.  This augured well for the rest of the opera that he obviously knows well.

Calleja started off shakily and he ended his cavatina poorly on a strained high ‘C’.  

Radvanovsky sounded in full control with breath control to spare for Casta Diva.  Her piano ‘C’s’ in the cabaletta were floated effortlessly.  Her voice has clarified and at the same time taken on weight.  She is in her idiom here and totally in command. This is impressive singing.

Joyce DiDonato started her recitative out with full intensity throwing herself into Adalgisa’s raw agony and particularly her guilt when she virtually cried out, “quel fatal romano che mi rende rubella AL TEMPIO DI DIO” in such a way that she could not believe what she had done.  Later she lamented, “proteggimi: perduta, perduta io son”, complete desolate. At the end of her recitative in the following scene she floated a lovely messa di voce on her final hight ‘A’.  Calleja seemed to find his footing in the following duet showing no problem singing constantly around the passaggio.
Radvanovsky and DiDonato paired well in “Oh, rimembranza” with the former producing another lovely messa di voce on her cadential ‘G’.

In the second act’s opening duet for Norma and Adalgisa, SR had no problem pulling off that killer 16th note phrase jumping from ‘E’ on the top space of the treble clef to high “C’ and back down. JD likewise tossed off her concluding cadenza dropping down two octaves from high “C’ to “C’ below the staff.  The two paired well in the 2nd movement of the duet singing their thirds and sixths in perfect sycronisation with JD with superior vocal clarity on sixteenth note runs.
I have many more thoughts on the performance but I have already gone on too long.  From listening on sirius, it was not perfect but it was altogether satisfying.  

Ron Magnuson
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