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Bellini: Norma [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.
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Product details

  • Actors: June Anderson, Daniela Barcellona, Shin Young Hoon, Ildar Abdrazakov, Orchestra Europa Galante
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: Italian, German, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Feb. 2011
  • Run Time: 163 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LWG3ZY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,293 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This production of Bellinis famous masterpiece Norma was extraordinary in many aspects. Staged by Italian director and filmmaker Roberto Andó at the Teatro Regio in Parma, it gathered international stars like American soprano June Anderson and shooting star Daniela Barcellona as well as Russian bass lldar Abdrazakov. Audience and critics alike enthusiastically received the remarkable orchestral accompaniment. Fabio Biondis transparent conducting and the authentic performance practice of Europa Galante illuminated the musical structure of Bellinis opera and provided a new perspective on early 19th century opera. Playing on historic instruments, the ensembles velvety tone and transparent playing enabled a constant musical exchange between orchestra and singers, which complemented the exquisite voices perfectly. June Anderson has long been considered one of the leading sopranos in the bel canto repertoire. Her lyric voice shines particularly brightly against the softer sound texture of historic instruments, thus adding a rare flexibility to the dramatic soprano part of Norma. This is especially palpable in the famous aria Casta diva, che in argenti, one of the gems of Italian song.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm so pleased that I came across this recording, which has been around for quite a while now. June Anderson is superb in the lead role of Norma. She has such a balanced voice with every note given its appropriate value and no 'shrieking' on the top notes.. Her acting is also first rate. The role of Norma can never have been sung and acted better. Her portrayal of the agony of a priestess-wife-mother, in the grip of divided loyalties between her tribe, children and an unfaithful 'husband', is superb.

The lead role has excellent backup from the other performers with Daniela Barcellona performing excellently as Adalgisa. Unlike so many operas of this kind we have here one in which the two main characters are women. They are in control and everything is going to be done as they want it to be. Too late, Pollione, well sung and performed by Shin Young Hoon, realises Norma's fine qualities and greatness. However, although the tragic ending may seem such a shame for what are, despite all their faults and mistakes, actually highly responsible people, to end the work any other way would have been an anti-climax.

All the singer-performers were excellent, even those like Svetlana Ignatovich who, as the nursemaid Clotilde, didn't have much to sing. After I had watched it all I thought to myself that I could watch this great opera over and over again and never tire of it. Apart from anything else, I find Bellini's music has what I can only describe as 'a delightfully melodious quality' about it. I love this bel canto style of singing and often wonder why it is that so many Twentieth century operas are composed in such a way that it gives the impression that the actors are just shouting at each other. If we listen to people talking we soon find the music.
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Some time ago I bought the Gruberova version, and awarded 4 stars. I said it was pretty good but I had reservations on the staging. I have no such reservations with this production.
The sets are stagey and unpretencious, but they work fine. They are in keeping with plot.
There is no ambiguity between the staging and the production. Anderson is equal to Gruberova, she is such an easy singer, she does not push her high notes, they just arrive. Barcellona is excellent and Shin Young Hoon is a far better Pollione than Todorovich. All other artistes are equal to their parts in vocal quality. The chorus and orchestra are smooth and make good listening.
Costumes are in keeping with my idea of the period.
The booklet has the usual cast listings, a synopsis, and headlines the arias with timings. There is also a very brief sketch of Bellinis achievements.
There is no doubt that this is my preferred production of the two.
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This performance is fortunately traditional and streets ahead of the other I have viewed on DVD - good singing and acting all around - and sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9516606c) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95052e58) out of 5 stars Norma as outdoor Greek tragedy 17 Feb. 2008
By Michael Birman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
[This review is NOT of the Dessi DVD on Hardy. Amazon has mixed-up their product page details and reviews. You might try notifying them as I have. Together we might reach a critical mass and get them to fix the problem.]

Whether or not librettist Felice Romani had Medea in the back of his mind when he wrote Norma for Vincenzo Bellini in 1831, it is obvious that there are certain similarities in plot and mood. That inevitable comparison is heightened with this outdoor production in the huge amphitheater that is Sferisterio in Macerata Italy. Filmed in gorgeous high definition, with a minimalist set that is discretely decorated with Celtic symbols as well as Buddhist, pre-Columbian, Roman and even African signs, the mood is ancient, mythic, even Jungian. The feeling of attending a Greek tragedy as an outdoor religious observance is palpable. This is opera as ancient festival and it heightens the experience greatly. There is no denying the impact this dvd makes just with its visual elements.

The performances are slower, more monumental in scope than in an indoor opera house. Perhaps the visual distances involved make this necessary. But it has the ancillary effect of heightening the outdoor ritual aspects of the performance. We might be in a Celtic grove amongst sacred trees, stealthily watching a Druidic ceremony. This Norma looks and feels big and luckily we have two hefty voices to fill the void. Dimitra Theodossiou as Norma has a large voice that manages to fill this vast theatrical space. Daniela Barcellona as Adalgisa has another big voice. Both are well equipped to sing these two problematic roles. Norma's difficulties are well known: Beverly Sills once recommended that the singer of the part wear comfortable shoes. And Norma nearly destroyed Renata Scotto's voice. All of the vocal performances in this production are quite good. The acting is as well, though we are witness to much broader performances than usual, given the size of the venue.

The Orchestra Regionale delle Marche is conducted by Paolo Arrivabeni. As this is an outdoor performance, some aspects of the strings are lost in the open air and the horns are naturally emphasized. Technically, the instruments of the orchestra are nicely recorded, sounding rich and full enough both in PCM stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1, and they play quite well. The film itself is beautiful in its high definition crispness and visual clarity. The cameras emphasize close-ups, when necessary, but usually linger in the middle distance for an orchestra distance view. The opera runs for 165 minutes on two discs with no extras and a booklet written in four languages.

This is a monumental open air Norma, the outdoor aspects of which I found both appropriate and enjoyable. It's not vintage Callas or Sutherland but it is enthralling in its own way. Recommended.

Mike Birman
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x950552a0) out of 5 stars June Anderson is wonderful as Norma. 26 Aug. 2013
By Boz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Norma has not fared well on dvd. The Sutherland video with the Australian Opera has a great performance from Sutherland, but a second rate supporting cast and dreadful staging, sets, and costumes. And the sound fades in and out. The Caballe video live from the Orange Festival has terrible staging and hurricane winds blowing the costumes in everyone's faces, which is quite distracting. The sound is also not very good. Caballe sings beautifully, but her acting is atrocious. The June Anderson Norma is wonderful. She sings beautifully and with great vocal power. And her acting is excellent. The staging, the sets, and the costumes are adequate. And the sound is good.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x950554c8) out of 5 stars Prateleira Neles: Gravações que merecem ficar mofando na prateleita 2 Oct. 2010
By Ali Hassan AYACHE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Norma Bellini's opera is one of my favorites, but this version is to chill any Roman centurion.

The soloists are average to poor and still suffering from the horrible sound pickup. When the scene is transported to the top or bottom of the stage no one hears anything.

The voices are metal, not that soloists sing well, but the adjustment of the microphones becomes.

The Adalgisa is interpreted by Raffaela Angeletti, thinks the girl is a doll, always makes static movements. Does she entered the wrong opera, Les Contes thought it was D'Hoffmann?

Maria Dragoni has no concept of scenic interpretation. His standard is pure boredom.

Scenarios are a cliche, and beats the old Roman columns and staircases.

The orchestra seems a school band.

The chorus has a sound horroroza.

Two and a half hours of pure torture.

Friends, her shelf. This deserves the gallows in perpetuity.

Portuguese:

Norma de Bellini é uma das minhas óperas preferidas, mas essa versão é de arrepiar qualquer centurião romano.

Os solistas são medianos para ruins e ainda sofrem com a horrível captação de som. Quando a cena se transporta para o alto ou o fundo do palco ninguém escuta nada.

As vozes são metálicas, não que os solistas cantem assim, mas a regulagem dos microfones as transforma.

A Adalgisa é interpretada por Raffaela Angeletti, a moça pensa que é uma boneca, faz sempre movimentos estáticos. Será que ela entrou na ópera errada, pensou que era Les Contes D'Hoffmann?

Maria Dragoni não tem a menor noção de interpretação cênica. Sua Norma é pura monotonia.

Os cenários são um clichê, as velhas e batidas colunas e escadarias romanas.

A Orquestra parece uma banda escolar.

O coro tem uma sonoridade horroroza.

Duas horas e meia de pura tortura.

Amigos, prateleira nela. Essa merece as galés perpétuas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9505563c) out of 5 stars No supertitles, be forewarned 13 Dec. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The opera performance is wonderful, but BE FOREWARNED: the Amazon Instant Video version does not come with supertitles or subtitles of any kind. That makes it hard to enjoy the performance fully if you don't understand 19th century operatic Italian. There needs to be a way to enjoy opera online out of season. But this is not it.
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95055888) out of 5 stars Venue Bad For The Sound 11 May 2008
By Noam Eitan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This Norma is a total disaster on every front. All the singers sound terrible and the staging is an impressive fiasco. Theodossiou and Ventre were in much better voice in the previous Norma Dynamic DVD, but the staging there was even worse. I can't believe that both Theodossiou's and Ventre's voices deteriorated so bad in just 2 years - I think the problem with this production is the huge flat outdoor space with dead acoustic. I think that explains why everyone, including the chorus sounds bad and strained. I heard Simon Orfila in Barcelona 2 years before this production and he did not sound so thin. I also heard Barcellona live 2 years earlier and she did not sound so bad. The chorus does not have an impact because they are spread in one line a mile left and right. I don't understand how anyone can perform in such a space without electronic amplification. The staging looks impressive on photos but it is no more than a series of static symmetrical postures inspired by Delacroix's or David's paintings with no dramatic force. For once I agree with the "Gramophone" magazine's reviewer John Steane who trashed this DVD from every angle ("Unfortunately, on almost every count, this Norma is a definite no-no.").
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