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Subject: Re: Norma
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 27 Jan 2018 16:25:46 -0800
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To the “grandezza” point, when I saw Radvanovsky as Norma in San Francisco a few years ago, I thought her acting and movements more suited to a role in “Desperate Housewives” than Bellini’s opera. 

Vocally she was very impressive but the lack of real variety of color in her singing made that same bright sound grow fatiguing over the evening.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Jan 27, 2018, at 13:16, 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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