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Bonynge: Bellini – Norma (2 CD, APE)

Bonynge: Bellini - Norma (2 CD, APE)

Bonynge: Bellini - Norma (2 CD, APE)

Audio CD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Ponto
Size: 280 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Libretto: Felice Romani

Norma, druidessa, figlia di Oroveso – Joan Sutherland
Adalgisa, giovine ministra del tempio di Irminsul – Marilyn Horne
Pollione, proconsole di Roma nelle Gallie – Carlo Bergonzi
Oroveso, capo dei Druidi – Cesare Siepi
Clotilde, confidente di Norma – Carlotta Ordassy
Flavio, centurione – Rod Mac Wherter

Orchestra & Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera
Conductor: Richard Bonynge

New York, April 4, 1970

CD 01
01. Sinfonia

ATTO PRIMO
02. Ite sul colle
03. Svanir le voci!
04. Meco all’altar di Venere
05. Odi? I suoi riti a compiere
06. Me protegge, me difende
07. Norma viene
08. Sediziose voci!
09. Casta Diva
10. Fine al rito
11. Sgombra è la sacra selva
12. Deh! Proteggimi, o Dio!
13. Eccola! Va, mi lascia
14. Va, crudele, al Dio spietato
15. Vieni in Roma, ah, vieni, o cara
16. Vanne, e li cela entrambi
17. Adalgisa!… Alma, costanza!
18. Oh! Rimembranza! Io fui così
19. Ah! Si! Ah! Ah! Si, fa core abbracciami

CD 02
ATTO PRIMO (continuazione)
01. Ma di: l’amato giovane
02. Oh, non tremare
03. Oh! Di qual sei tu vittima

ATTO SECONDO
04. Introduzione
05. Dormono entrambi… Teneri, teneri figli
06. Me chiami, o Norma
07. Deh! con te, con te li prendi
08. Mira, o Norma, a’tuoi ginocchi
09. Cedi, deh! Cedi
10. Si, fino all’ore
11. Non partì!
12. Guerrieri! A voi venirne
13. Ah! Del Tebro al giogo indegno
14. Ei tornerà
15. Guerra! Guerra!
16. Né compi il rito, o Norma?
17. In mia man alfin tu sei
18. Dammi quel ferro!
19. Qual cor tradisti
20. Norma, deh! Norma scòlpati!

Callas’ most satisfying Norma

While the mono sound on this issue isn’t the best, it’s perfectly listenable and one soon forgets the hiss and distortion once one is drawn into the stellar characterisations by four artists all in their prime. I still would not dispense with the 1960 studio recording in favour of this, as Callas’ singing there is almost as good technically despite some flap in the top notes and there are many compensating subtleties of inflection plus the advantages of excellent stereo sound, Corelli’s thrilling Pollione, Ludwig’s glamorous Adalgisa, the same sonorous Oroveso from Zaccaria and experienced, sympatheic direction from Serafin. Similarly, I very much enjoy the live RAI broadcast (from the same year as this Milan performance, also with Del Monaco in sterling form and directed by Serafin) which is in marginally clearer, cleaner sound. So, I’m greedy; I want to have all three and find different virtues in them all. Having said that, this performance probably enshrines the best of all Callas’ many assumptions of this role and Simionato’s Adalgisa, in particular, is a performance to treasure. Del Monaco is a real helden-Pollione but not brutal or insensitive, nor necessarily inferior to Corelli’s equally virile Roman in the studio recording. Votto is a relaxed, pliant accompanist, reluctant to impose himself upon four such experienced and musical soloists (and the supporting roles are well taken, too). In the end, there’s no complete recorded performance – not Sutherland, not Caballe, good as they are – to touch Callas’, and you must have one or two of the three under discussion here. (The first Cetra Callas “Norma” sees her partnered by indifferent singers and she has yet to deepen her characterisation.)

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