I have always been a great admirer of Joan Sutherland. To hear her in operas like "Lucia", "Sonnambula", "Puritani, "Semiramide" or even "Maria Stuarda" was to experience the "real thing". No doubt about it. As a sheer singing machine, Sutherland in her prime had no rivals ---- certainly not even Callas, whose genius was rooted in a different sphere entirely. But Norma requires something more than a voice, no matter how great that particular voice and technique may be. I always felt that Sutherland's vocal personality was not sufficient for Norma. who must project powerful emotions. She is, after all, a feared presence in the story. Of course one can say that in opera it's the singing that matters and that Norma must have voice, voice, and more voice. True, but there must be a vocal personality to suit the character. I found this to be totally missing on Sutherland's 1964 recording, and still feel that the violent emotions or Norma never really came naturally to her, as it certainly did to Callas. Nevertheless, Sutherland had come a long way in the projection of a text in the intervening years between the 1964 recording and the present one. Sutherland actually projects great power and authority here, and for me, her Norma becomes at least plausible from a dramatic standpoint. Her recititives now ring with a strength and power that were completely absent before. The voice is clearly no longer the liquidy and shining instrument it was before, but it remains valid nonetheless. I actually can appreciate the Sutherland more on this recording than I could on the first. And she is to be respected and admired as well. For a soprano to re-record twenty years later the most difficult role in her repertoire, at age 58 yet, and to still make a valid account of it, is to me something very amazing and wonderful. Sutherland has a soprano Adalgisa here, no less than the great Montserrat Caballe, a pretty valid Norma herself. The pairing works well. Caballe's soft grained sound mixing well with Sutherland's more mature and darker sound. The duets between the ladies are certainly rewarding to listen to. Of Pavarotti, what can one say? He sings, period. I like what Bonynge does with the orchestra here better than in 1964 as well. The moves pretty quickly, actually at points creating a taut orchestra atmosphere, all to the good in this opera. Recommendation? If one wants to hear what Sutherland could accomplish vocally with Norma, than I would go for the first version (which also features an awesome Marilyn Horne), also on London. For a more balanced overall production, and a more mature Sutherland, I would consider this one. Still, I would certainly recommend one of the Callas versions. Actually, one should own both Sutherland and Callas, and possibly Caballe's Norma as well.