14 of 28 people found the following review helpful
NOT SO "ORIGINAL" NORMA,
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This review is from: Bellini: Norma (Audio CD)
First of all I must say that Cecilia Bartoli sings a very suitable Norma, according to its origins, but not the rest of the cast, exception made of Michele Pertusi. Sumi Jo is a ridiculous Adalgisa and John Osborn an inadequate Pollione. Bartoli, in the book included in the recording, justifies the casting of Sumi Jo saying that Giulia Grisi (the original Adalgisa) was a light voice who opened "I puritani" and "Don Pasquale", but omits that she sang also the roles of Norma, Desdemona (in Rossini's "Otello"), Valentine ("Les Huguenots") and Fidès ("Le prophête"), because she was as much a mezzo as Giuditta Pasta (first Norma) was, because Norna and Adalgisa can be sung by the same kind of voice, as Pasta and Malibran did when appeared together in concerts, alternating themselves as Norma and Adalgisa. Besides in order to justify John Osborn as Pollione, Bartoli says that Domenico Donzelli (first Pollione) was a flexible voiced tenor for Rossini roles among them Almaviva and Otello (though this last part was opened by the baritenor of the San Carlo of Naples Andrea Nozzari), but doesn't say that these roles were written for Spanish Manuel García, the most famous baritenor of his time who even used to sang Mozart's Don Giovanni as baritone (though this type of voice was not defined that way at the time and mostly accepted as basso cantante), so John Osborn is not for the part of Pollione because he has not the robust voice that Donzelli had and not even his low notes. So Bartoli cheats the eventual buyers of this recording. That is a fake original version. Liliana Nikiteanu's (Clotilde in this recording) is a much more adequate voice for Adalgisa than the insignificant Sumi Jo's is and perhaps Gregory Kunde could have been a better Pollione than Osborn.
This recording was a marvellous chance to create a jewel but is only an opportunity for Bartoli and nothing else.