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Bellini: Norma (2 Discs)
 
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Bellini: Norma (2 Discs)

20 May 2013 | Format: MP3

£10.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for £14.99 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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2:35
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3:55
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2:56
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3:33
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3:25
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2:46
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Digital Booklet: Bellini: Norma
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Disc 2
30
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8:40
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2:12
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3:36
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4:32
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1:46
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4:18
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1:39
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2:56
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3:47
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1:32
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1:38
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12
3:10
30
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6:10
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14
2:47
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15
5:36
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16
2:04
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17
5:02
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2013
  • Release Date: 20 May 2013
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
  • Copyright: (C) 2013 Decca Music Group Limited
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 2:22:40
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00CNF6FIG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,115 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a controversial recording and will not suit everyone's tastes. But then, as Bartoli in the accompanying essay explains, our modern tastes are based on inauthentic practise. This recording tries to strip away the inconsistancies, the bad habits, the preconceptions, and present the opera as it may have been heard in Bellini's day.

We will never prove how authentic this really is, but it makes very interesting listening, and is an commendable effort to step out of the shadow cast by Callas and Sutherland.

The recording uses a new edition of the score, with expanded duets and trios and new variations here and there. It's not as ground-breaking as suggested by the booklet: much of these discoveries were performed by Holland Park opera some years ago (with Nelly Miricioiu), and nor is this the first ever performance with period instruments. But in terms of restoring, reviving and research, Decca and Bartoli are here following in the footsteps of pioneers like Opera Rara. Integrity and history can sometimes lead to a dull outcome, but here, whatever one makes of the casting or the edition, it is certainly alive with personality.

I've often felt, in the past, that Bartoli's coloratura can sound too aggressive and staccato for my taste. Here, the explosive nature of her dazzling technique, works very well; Norma is a wronged woman, and Bartoli, despite a smaller-than-usual voice for the part, is dramatically alert to the possibilities. Singing at the original pitch, the more prayerful introspective parts are beautifully sung and overall I was much taken with her interpretation - more so than I expected. It's on a more human scale than Callas, but infinitely more in focus than Sutherland or Caballe.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I listened to this recording several times before attempting to review it.
NORMA is my favorite opera and this the 36th and newest version in my collection. I have heard the title role sung by artists as diverse as Rosa Ponselle (in excerpts only), Gina Cigna, Zinka Milanov, Maria Callas, Leyla Gencer, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé, Elinor Ross, Beverly Sills, Elena Suliotis, Anita Cerquetti, Renata Scotto, Grace Bumbry, Shirley Verrett, Ghena Dimitrova, Jane Eaglen, Edita Gruberova, Daniella Dessi, Nelly Miricioiu, Hasmik Papian, and Mariella Devia, so I do consider myself entitled to give an informed opinion.
I can only name 3 singers who have been great Normas. In chronological order they were Ponselle, Callas, and Caballé.
Regarding this latest recording, I must confess beforehand that I am not a fan of Cecilia Bartoli, having always considered her to be less of a stage performer and more of a concert artist, and a vulgar one at that, taking no risks and prone to mannerisms. Well, at the age of 46 she confounded the critics and finally sang Norma on stage, NOT in Italy, but in Salzburg. Was she afraid to sing the role in Italy, choosing a safer Germanic milieu instead? I will not comment on the horrendous 2010 Dortmund concert version and will await until the (modern staging) Salzburg performance becomes available on DVD or YouTube to pass judgment on that.
This recording is supposed to treat the operatic score "come scritto" and as it must have sounded in Bellini's time, with relatively smaller voices and orchestral sound on period instruments (ie of slightly lower pitch).
Much of it is admirable, even beautifully performed.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been anxious about this album since it was advertised. I came to hear it with delight and surprise. I guess when Norma was revisited by Callas in the early fifties and recorded by her twice in the studio, the surprise and interest and discussions were as constant and full of energy as this Norma will be.
First thing, the reading by Bartoli does not have the verismo touches added in the performances by Callas, which are the seminal ones of the 20th century. Sure Sutherland or Caballé did great readings, but the Norma by Callas is the gold standard. The dramatism of Callas, her skills and command as actress and singer are a comparison difficult to stand against. And, let's not forget, the cast for the stereo Norma by Callas, in 1960, include Serafin in the podium, CORELLI as Pollione and Ludwig as Adalgisa.
Nevertheless, this recording by Bartoli and her team is really good. It seems to me a little baroque. I mean, it is difficult to turn Bartoli away from her baroque output and the small ensemble for this recording and even some keyboards added in the performance make me feel I am near Haendel or Vivaldi in some moments. Of course, the instrumentation is superb and I accept this version. Indeed, Bartoli, as Callas, is nearly a musicologist. She will have many arguments to justify her choices. And she gets an excellent cast.
To identify if a Norma is good, the key parts I hear are the Sinfonia (instrumental introduction), the Casta Diva aria by Norma, the duets by Norma and Adalgisa, the aria by the tenor and the duo "In mia mal al fin tu sei" by Norma and Pollione and the terrific "Guerra" chorus. All these are terrific here. Let's not forget this Norma is a mezzo, not a sopran. This is a particular originality here.
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