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Subject: 1st act if Norma HD
From: Jackie Eubanks <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jackie Eubanks <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 8 Oct 2017 11:11:03 -0400
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I much agree with what Don Levine writes from his in-house and HD experiences with Norma, having heard it at the Met last Tuesday, and at my local HD theater yesterday.  The Radvan/DiDonato/Calleja cast is the best I have heard in years vocally, and histrionically superior to any I can remember.  Like Don, my memories go back to Sutherland/Horne/Bergonzi in 1970, still very much a vocal benchmark, but this was singing of the highest caliber.  Radvanovsky has come a long way since she first assumed the role; she has made it her own, and she can spin Bellini’s phrases like no one else today.  The Norma/Adelgisa duets have improved since opening night, as heard on Sirius.  DiDonato produced some splendid singing, (thinking here particularly about “Sola, furtiva, al tempio...” as she describes her first encounter with Pollione).  Flat out gorgeous.  Calleja still seems uncomfortable with some of Pollione’s music, but in the final duet with Norma (“In mia man alfin tu sei...”) he was just about perfect.  I can’t drum up any enthusiasm for Rizzi, who held things together but produced no insights.  The “Guerra, Guerra” war chorus was absurdly fast in all three performances I heard. And yes, the role of Oroveso demands someone of Siepi’s stature.
Don mentions a problem with the HD transmission, and I experienced the same in my theatre.  The sound was highly compressed, which served to equalize the voices in terms of volume.  After hearing it live on Tuesday, this was extremely disappointing.  Perhaps some engineer was trying to cope with the sheer size of Radvanovsky’s voice, but for whatever reason, the compression seriously affected the transmission, at least in my theatre.  

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