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Subject: Re: NORMA's high def presentation
From: Patrick Byrne <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 8 Oct 2017 17:52:11 -0400
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Luckily there are videos surviving of Caballe's Normas that fly in the face 
 of such nonsense. Caballe was not given to extreme movement, as anyone 
whoever  saw her can attest.She also had the top, piano, middle and chest that 
any decent  Norma must possess, and the ability to hurl out declamation. 
 
Patrick Byrne
 
 
In a message dated 10/8/2017 4:39:26 P.M. Central Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

I heard  Caballe at the Met with Cossotto and my sustaining memory is the 
two of them  waiving their arms like signalmen on an aircraft carrier. 

Sent from my  iPhone

> On Oct 8, 2017, at 14:23, tom ponti  <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 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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