Norma / Decca

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Norma / Decca

I'm so curious: did someone already heard something from the new Decca/ Norma/ Bartoli  recording?

Or...do you actually have it already and your verdict please.

RE: Norma / Decca

The least one can say is "curious", Adrian. It is supposed to be the "real, original" thing, as the production team of Decca claims. She has already did a "Sonnanbula" (with Florez in the main male role), in the same way. It passed...neglected. I don't plan to buy this one. Norma is not Sonnanbula and Sumi Jo as Adalgisa is too much for me at least. However, I appreciate the conductor Antonini. He is really good in whatever he has touched upon.

Good luck, if you try it.

Parla

RE: Norma / Decca

It would be difficult to tell what the 'original thing' was as so many performers of the time added their own favourite arias and most composers were required to accommodate these little divas in whatever they wanted. 

RE: Norma / Decca

I've listened to the recorded snippets on links on MDT Classics and was somewhat startled by the unconventional speeds. Easy to see how Decca can accommodate the opera on 2 CDs if these are typical. I'm not a great fan of Bartoli and just about every recording I have of hers was given as a gift from friends who thought I ought to be.

I suspect this recording will turn out to be a curiosity. Looking at the cast list I can't envisage any of the assigned artists being suitable for their respective roles in a theatrical staging. Perhaps it will be a Norma-lite performance instead of the full calorie version, to use a food analogy.

I consider Norma to be one of the greatest works of Italian opera and therefore I am enticed to make a purchase. I purchased Beverly Sills version of Norma when it was released on cd a couple of years or so ago, which would have benefited from role reversal in the soprano roles, a more imposing tenor and a less barnstorming approach from Levine, the conductor.

In a similar way I was curious enough to buy Rattle's Carmen. Magdalena Kozena was hardly the Carmen of ones dreams but she is interesting and the voice is lovely.

Sorry I can't be more specific but I guess we will have to wait to sample the new Norma online before deciding to buy. As for the HIP advertising blurb I think we have to take as read it will be performed with a smaller orchestral palette with speeds faster than we are used to. I rather doubt the hegemony of Callas, Caballe and Sutherland will be seriously disturbed though.

RE: Norma / Decca

It is also possible to hear previews of all tracks on iTunes (most 1 minute:30 seconds long). It wouldn't be fair to judge the recording based on these. However the general approach seems similar to the Sonnambula recording already aluded to. As much as I wanted to like it, I was unable to warm to Bartoli. She undoubtedly has immaculate technique, but too often lacks emotion (I KNOW - a common criticism of several preternaturally gifted musicians). The other issue was that the recording seemed to artificially highlight Bartoli's voice, perhaps an attempt to balance it with Florez?

 

I suspect the 'new' approach for this Norma will cleanse it of all of the tradition and atmosphere that time has attached to it. If that is your idea of operatic nirvana, happy days! 

RE: Norma / Decca

The Guardian website has an album stream of the new Norma at:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2013/may/13/cecilia-bartoli-be...

I was enjoying it until Ms Bartoli's appearance.

RE: Norma / Decca

Thanks for the comments folks, I am still curious . I made a deal with my cd supplier that I can listen to it at home and if I don't like it I can bring it back.

So, I let you know when I heard the recording .

RE: Norma / Decca

however, don't expect something from what you may know about the work. It's going to be a new "experience" with Bartoli (such a small voice for such a role) and Jo ( a coloratura soprano turned to be...whatever) plus the "original instruments" or sort of...

Parla

RE: Norma / Decca

I could not find the right words to express myself so foregive me that I use someone other "opinion"but it exactly what I would like to have said.

So I quote from the lady from a web shop:

 

"

She sings Norma entirely on her own terms, without pushing her instrument to
emulate any of her illustrious predecessors, and whilst listening I simply
couldn’t imagine the role sung in any other way. Certainly she doesn’t open up
at the top as thrillingly as a singer like Montserrat Caballé, but she works the
text with mesmerising clarity, and her characteristic quick vibrato (not to all
tastes, I know) flags up the character’s neurotic intensity rather than her
stoical grandeur. It took me a minute to adjust to the blend of voices in the
long duet with Adalgisa simply because it’s so unusual to hear the darker voice
on top, but she never overwhelms her lighter-voiced colleague and for once
Adalgisa truly sounds like the young, innocent foil to Norma’s volatility.
Osborn is splendid, too: again, his voice is far slimmer than many Polliones on
disc (both Pavarotti and Domingo sang the role at one time) but he has plenty of
heroic ‘ring’ when needed, as well as the tonal glamour to be a believable
love-object.

If you don’t already have this opera on disc, this is
entirely compelling on its own terms; if you already own one of the older sets,
it makes for a fascinating contrast. "

RE: Norma / Decca

Adrian, the key words in this "opinion" are this critical "on her own terms" for the "instrument" of Mrs. Bartoli, which, by the way, is one of the smallest in the market (can you ask the lady in the web shop if she has seem Cecilia in flesh, in any live performance, and does she think whether Mrs. Bartoli can ever contemplate to perform the role on the stage, unless she uses amplification...), as well as this "on its own terms" for the recording.

However, for me the greatest problem is the Adalgisa of Sumi Jo. The lady has lost her voice almost altogether (I, currently, live in the area and I have heard her live). She resorts, in most of her few live performances, to crossover programs. Even if the original score might require a Soprano, I cannot imagine a former Coloratura one can be the right choice, much more Madame Jo.

The other key word is this "fascinating contrast". I believe that says it all. However, I am not at all surprise for the positive comments of the lady in the web. Quite often, the adjective dominates the noun. So, what counts is the fascination of the new and fresh, even if it might constitute only a "contrast" (to the real thing).

Parla

RE: Norma / Decca

Very interesting. Together with Giovanni Antonini, Riccardo Minasi and Maurizio Biondi, Cecilia Bartoli restores the actual seem and also character associated with Norma landmark Decca recording using the opera’s unique solutions.

Cecilia Bartoli leads an amazing groundbreaking new recording, which in turn presents Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma within a variety which is filled with your superb mix of vocal and also instrumental colours that will Bellini created for their ‘tragic opera’.

Thank you for sharing.

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