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Subject: Re: NORMA's high def presentation
From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:23:46 +0000
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Probably the best Norma, overall, I ever saw or heard was the Orange performance by Caballe. She probably sang the greatest Casta Diva of the twentieth century. She was vocally great throughout and dramatically very convincing. I did see Caballe's Norma at the Met, but for some reason, I do not remember it at all. In the performance I heard live, Sutherland was excellent in the first 3 acts and vocally and dramatically great in the last act. I have seen parts of Sondra's Norma, of a few years ago on You Tube and agree with Les about singing of the role. I did not hear yesterday's performance. Hopefully, it will be on You Tube soon, or on TV as well.


________________________________
From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, October 8, 2017 3:50 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [OPERA-L] NORMA's high def presentation

I haven't attended all that many HD presentations, but I've attended enough to make
a comparison to yesterday's Norma.  First of all, I was not happy with the way the sound
was being transmitted ----- and I didn't think the volume was high enough, especially in
the first act.  Moreover, to my ears, it didn't sound as clear as I would have wished.  I
know that the others I've attended in the past sounded more "vivid" and clearer.  In the
first act, it sounded to me like there was a scrim-like quality to the sound.
     Moving on, I didn't care for the production at all.  Were the Druids active only during
the middle of the night?  And the costumes!  The Druids looked like cavemen under the
command of Attila the Hun (If you ever saw the 1955 film "Sign of the Pagan" with Jack
Palance (1955), you know what I mean.  Mr. Rose's Oroveso made me yearn for the
sounds of Cesare Siepi or Samuel Ramey.  diDonato's costume and appearance did her no
justice, and I saw no reason for Adalgisa to be almost worshiping Norma during the Casta
Diva and the cabaletta.  Why was she there at all?   I thought the kids were cute, and I
enjoyed Radvanovsky's interaction with them.
     I admire and respect Radvanovsky's Norma.  Those high pianos are gorgeous to be
sure, and her voice is certainly up the the demands of the role.  Hers is a beautiful
creation.  I must confess that I missed the Callas-like venom and weighty low chest notes
at the bottom of the voice as well as the sheer thrust of her incisive consonants.
Radvanovsky simply doesn't have these in her vocal arsenal ----- but Callas certainly
didn't have the piano soft notes of Radvanovsky!   I found diDonato wonderful as always,
and the duets were beautifully done.
    What I really appreciated was the restoration of the rapid "stretto" music towards the
end of the Pollione/Adalgisa duet in Act I.  I love that music.  And even more significantly,
I was thrilled to hear that sublime Moon Rise music after the "Guerra, Guerra" chorus,
which is so frequently omitted.  I find this music so moving and the very essence of what
bel canto is ------ with the harp accompanying the orchestra.
    I have to confess that I love the opera and HAVE loved it since I heard it when I was
sixteen (on both Callas studio recordings).  Then, of course, I bought the
Sutherland/Horne recording and while I loved the Bonynge orchestral additions, as well as
Sutherland's embellishments, and of course, Marilyn Horne.  Sutherland's Norma?  All
technically perfect, but for me, such perfection led to boredom very fast.  I don't think
that Sutherland ever scratched the emotional surface of Norma. For the most part she
sang most of the role on vowel sounds.  She wasn't big on emphasizing consonants. Her
Norma was a perfect statue - devoid of fire and passion.  But what a sound she made!

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