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Subject: Re: Norma
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 27 Jan 2018 21:31:23 +0000
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I'll restrict myself to a brief answer to David's question, since I
neither heard or saw it.

"Mira o Norma" is often transposed, mostly so that the Mezzo can
avoid Top C, or so I've been told. I can say for certain that when
Marilyn Horne sang it with Joan Sutherland at the Met it was down
by at least a half tone from the key in which Fiorenza Cossotto and
Sutherland sang it a year later. Maybe it was a full tone. I'm pretty
good with "relative" pitch, but I really can't discern a high C from a
B natural, which some can. It is called "absolute" pitch and it is a gift
which I was not granted. I guess it can be learned!

Anyway, yes, David, it is sung in various keys, more often than not
in lowered keys, or so I've been told ;-)

Bob

On Sat, Jan 27, 2018 at 16:17 David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Just a few notes, since the opera has been much discussed.  Rad. was not in
> as good voice as she was for the Chicago 'Norma' last year.  In particular,
> she seemed last night to have completely lost her trill, which I remember
> as
> being quite good. Calleja I still reserve judgment on, since I have not
> seen
> him in the house, and broadcasts don't transmit a voice as it really is.
> In
> terms of what I could discern the way his voice works and the narrow column
> of sound he sings with, he still sounds like a classic 'tenore di grazia'
> to
> me. Di Donato sounded challenged to the end of her resources, and sometimes
> beyond them, when we got vibrato but not much tone.
>
> The production could have been infinitely worse, but it still illustrates
> to
> me major problems today with opera as an art form.  Why did everyone have
> to
> be doing something in every bar of music?  They kept lighting and putting
> out the candles on that Advent wreath thing they had going to the point of
> its being slightly comic.  Why should Pollione cut his hand when he is
> singing a cabaletta about the power of love?  I could multiply examples,
> but
> what really struck me is something that I think crucial.  There is a
> YouTube
> clip of Callas rehearsing the 'Casta diva' of her last 'Norma'.  Forget
> about the condition of the voice.  There is around her a remarkable aura of
> what the Italians would call 'grandezza', which is certainly one of the
> things that mesmerized me when I first starting going to the opera as a
> teenager.  What did Rad. do last night?  She comes in, lies down on her
> back
> on the ground, then rises to sing 'Casta diva' with this person looking
> like
> Peter Pan (as we learn, Adalgisa) upstaging her with weird hand motions.
> When Rad. finally got up and came down for the cabaletta she looked like a
> distressed washer woman.  It was flat, vulgar, and common.  I admire her
> singing very much, but 'grandezza' -- I give her an F.  And how could she
> acquire this numinous presence on stage when her whole career has been
> managed by flat, vulgar, and common stage directors?
>
> Enough griping.  I do have a question.  Is 'Mira o Norma' sung in different
> keys?  It sounded high to me last night.
>
> David Kubiak
>
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