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Bellini - Norma

19 customer reviews

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(Mar 13, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Edita Gruberova, Zoran Todorovich, Roberto Scandiuzzi, Sonia Ganassi, and Markus Herzog star in this Bayerische Staatsoper production of the Belini opera conducted by Friedrich Haider.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Edita Gruberova, Sonia Ganassi, Zoran Todorovich, Roberto Scandiuzzi, Friedrich Haider
  • Directors: Jurgen Rose
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.1), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 155 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,349 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Robert Petersen on March 13, 2007
Gruberova waited long before tackling Norma on stage, and this DVD confirms that the wait has been worth it. Having released a concert performance on CD which was recorded in 2005, her first staged performances were recorded by UNITEL in January/February 2006 at the Bayerische Staatsoper. I must admit that looking at Gruberova, one sees an older woman, which is obvious, given that she was almost 60 at the time of this recording. However, age has not seemed to have taken its toll too heavily on her vocal resources. It was probably the need to rise to the occasion that made this recording all the more special. Munich assembled an outstanding supporting cast and Haider, ever the loving and sympathetic conductor, allowed his wife to shine. His interpretation of Bellini's score is, in my opinion flawless and even better than the CD recording. The audience love Gruberova and the performance is one to listen to over and over again. This will probably be the ideal performance for many, however, Jurgen Rose's sets, costumes and direction will disappoint those who prefer a more traditionlist approach to the opera, with a minimal set and the chorus flasing guns at certain moments. Musically, there are no cuts and Gruberova sings Casta Diva in G, as well as both verses of of her ensuing cabaletta. Mira o Norma, with a wonderul Ganassi as Adalgisa, is sung in the high key, with both voices blending beautifully. Todorovich bawls his way a bit through the ungrateful role of Pollione and Scandiuzzi is sonorous as Oroveso. There is even an 11 minute feature on the making of the production, as well as short interviews with the stars. With superb DTS sound and picture in high definition colour, this is one DVD I have and will return to many times over!
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By OperaLover on August 30, 2007
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I am going to take exception to virtually everyone here about this performance. I won't comment at all on the virtues or lack thereof of the production. This is all about Ms. Gruberova and, thus, the success of this production must predominantly rest on her shoulders. Kudos, by the way, to Sonia Ganassi, who is an exceptionally beautiful bel canto singer and actress who fully grasps the Italianita of the role of Adalgisa, originally written for a lighter soprano to contrast with Norma.

Bellini wrote Norma for a soprano "dramatica e de agilita" or a "dramatic soprano with agility." While Ms. Gruberova certainly has great agility, she is far from ideal as far as dramatic weight. I was lucky enough to attend one of her Norma's in Munich. As with the great Beverly Sills before her, Gruberova is essentially miscast. Norma must have a powerful MIDDLE voice -- a spinto of the likes of Callas, Ponselle, Caballe, and Sutherland. [Hearing this DVD with amplification and sound mastering is very different from the natural acoustics of the Bavarian State Theater.] Ms. Gruberova has enjoyed a long and varied career, carefully husbanding her resources as she has undertaken heavier roles like Norma, Anna Bolena, etc. It seems like just a few years ago that she was a delightful Oscar (Abbado DG) and Zerbinetta, roles for a leggiero (or light voice). While she manages, a la Sills, to sing (most) everything correctly, she does not have the essential power in the middle and lower registers to sing Norma as, I believe, Bellini intended. Her war cries of "Sangue," "Guerra" should amply fill the house, which they did not. As ever with Ms. Gruberova, she avoids pushing for a larger sound, so she has never developed the tremolo and excess wobble that forced Sills into an early retirement.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Stanley H. Nemeth on March 16, 2007
Wonderful singing by the principals and fine conducting make this a memorable performance. The by now conventional aspects of the staging and costumes (minimalism in the sets, pointless mixing of eras and apparently deliberate ugliness in the costumes) are easily ignored when one hears Gruberova's and Ganassi's undeniably beautiful way with the bel canto line. No doubt Bellini himself would have approved, if he had been lucky enough to have had a duo of their caliber.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Niel Rishoi on September 8, 2007
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Here is an intriguing new concept and approach to Bellini's near-masterpiece. Filmed in the early part of 2006 at the Bavarian State Opera, the performance comes across as a tightly-focused drama that plays up the dilemmas of the characters in a very intimate and personal way.

The direction, sets and costumes, are all by Jürgen Rose. There
were some comments in initial reviews about the ugliness of
it, but I like it. It does not get in the way of the drama,
and actually enhances it. It is stark, dark and austere,
residing in a perpetual, sinister night that never abates.
I do not get in what period it is supposed to be set; some
of it looks primitive, some of it looks faintly Middle
Eastern; the pointed guns during the "Guerra!" chorus
modernizes it. Overall, though, you do get a sense of a
cultish sect, one very tribal and ritualistic. The
dominant colors are black and blue, and it works in lending
an eerie atmosphere, and looks forbidding and ominous.
Oroveso is put in priestly robe and cap, while the men's
chorus look like guerrilla warriors. The women's chorus and
Adalgisa are all in black robes and head-snoods, and they
look impressively clannish. Norma herself comes out in a
patterned robe with a brilliant blue head-snood and
"tribal" crown: it sets her apart as the head priestess. Act
two features her in a simple black, somber shift, which she
adorns with a robe and a crown for the "Guerra!" chorus.
Pollione and Flavio are in what look like tan Foreign
Legion uniforms. Go figure.

The set itself is quite innovative, a cinematic, two-tiered setup in which the top part is accessed by stairs.
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