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Subject: Bellini's Norma - MET Live in HD (Encore)
From: Sergio da Silva <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Sergio da Silva <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 14 Oct 2017 00:58:53 -0400
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So I went to the Metropolitan Opera encore presentation of normal live in HD. The production by David McVicar unfortunately didn't amount to much. The costumes designed by Moritz Junge for Norma and Adalgisa looked like cheap curtains. It improves a little bit in Act 2 but then the opportunity was lost. I didn't understand why add a scar in Norma's father, was it an attempt to bring more realism to the story? The direction was absent the whole night, some like Joyce DiDonato were bad actors, Joseph Calleja was “hamming” all the time, at least Sondra had the good fortune of not trying to do much which worked to her advantage. I did not agree with Adalgisa appearing with Norma in the beginning of act one, it's very clear from the libretto and the score that Adalgisa should not be there, her entrance is a solo singing which gives her the attention of the public; if the composer wanted Adalgisa to be there he would have composed some music for her! I did like the sets designed by Robert Jones, with special mention to the transition to Norma’s hut.

Alas there was no compensation left in the music department. Carlo Rizzi made the mistake of slowing down speeds which goes against drag Bellini’s music, maybe he was trying to follow the leads which did not seem willing to go fast. Also, sometimes the orchestra sounded like a band that's partially Bellini’s fault but good conductor can make it work.

Sondra Radvanosky has two qualities for a great Norma: a big voice and control, she can span pianissimos and go from fff to ppp very well. Unfortunately, this control comes at the expense of gear shifting, you can hear the breakup of her voice in the different registers. She also had difficulty throughout the night to place her voice, it sounded as if she was a little bit sick because I heard her cough in acts two. She also lacks very important qualities for the role, and ability to sustain the line in the middle of the voice, very easy to spot at the very first entrance of Norma (“Sediziose voci”). She also lacks coloratura and this is the dramatic coloratura soprano role. But she knows the role and had some nice moments, her best was at the very end of act 2, which to Bellini’s credit is a masterpiece.

The greatest disappointment of the afternoon was Joyce, she doesn't have the volume required for and neither the heft in the lower region. She tried to compensate by over acting which after 15 minutes made me tired already. She also did not decorate her lines and sang with very little ornamentation throughout, I don't know if she was trying to match Sondra. Oh, yes I almost forgot, she also lacked the high notes, ducking that high C was not the greatest moment.

Joseph started the night in a high point, he hit the high C in Pollione’s entrance in a stride, but just a few moments later in a much lower note he let his voice crack! The rest of act one he resorted to singing in the mask which lead to a nasal sound. He recovered at the end of act two and did a good enough job at the duet and the finale.

Matthew Rose was a correct Oroveso.

Michelle Bradley was an excellent Clotilde and so was Adam Diegel as Flavio.

 
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