This 1979 Norma features Renata Scotto in one of her very best recordings. She is in gorgeous vocal estate, with much exquisite pianissimo singing above the stave. Surprisingly, Scotto is one of the few native Italians to essay this most difficult bel canto role, and she brings an innate understanding of the text and music .
Previously only available on compact disc in Japan, the 1967 recording of Bellini's Norma featuring 24-year old soprano Elena Souliotis now gets an international release thanks to the Eloquence label. Sporting the original cover photo shot by Francesco Scavullo, this recording can be counted among the most worthy of owning .
This new production of Bellini’s Norma by Jürgen Rose (sets, costumes, stage direction, and lighting) to honor Edita Gruberova’s first staged assumption of the title role was taped in January and February of 2006 in Munich. It does neither the opera nor the soprano any favors. In most ways, it’s a pretty gloomy affair.The sets are minimal angular wood constructions comprised of a step or two here and there and a not-very-high platform or two that the players can climb up and down. Everything is dark. The costumes are modern but only can be defined as such because they evoke no particular era; Norma’s rich blue outfit for the first scene, complete with scarf/hood that effectively covers everything but her apple-shaped face and hands, allows for little expressivity.
Pavaroti is in great voice, Caballe is brilliant, Sutherland is OK,It doesn't have the excitement of other "Norma's", but is a good addition to a "Norma" collection.
-By Thomas E. Lawson-
Following the Grammy-nominated 'Distances' comes the eagerly awaited second ECM album from the British-German-Italian trio fronted by singer Norma Winstone, with pianist Glauco Venier and reedsman Klaus Gesing. Alongside their own pieces, the musicians play songs from Mexico's Armando Manzanero to Armenia's Komitas, to Wayne Shorter. Textures, colours and rhythms are drawn from scattered, surprising sources. (Source: amazon.co.uk)