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  • Bellini - Norma / Sutherland · Caballé · Pavarotti · Ramey · WNO · Bonynge
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Bellini - Norma / Sutherland · Caballé · Pavarotti · Ramey · WNO · Bonynge Import

26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 25, 1990
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Bellini - Norma / Sutherland · Caballé · Pavarotti · Ramey · WNO · Bonynge + Verdi: Rigoletto
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Editorial Reviews

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Sutherland's Norma offers ravishingly beautiful tone at a pitch where most soprano voices get thin, exquisite grace and agility in the elaborate ornamentation that characterizes bel canto style, and freedom from strain no matter what kind of vocal acrobatics a composer may demand. What one misses here is the heightened drama, the precise delineation of character and emotion, and the verbal mastery of Callas. Sutherland's voice--the main reason for wanting to hear this recording--is perhaps a shade less fresh in this 1984 performance than when she recorded her first Norma 20 years earlier, but she still has all the grace, all the high notes, and most of the power that earned her the Italian nickname "La Stupenda." She heads an all-star cast that lives up to its reputation, and her husband's conducting is more impressive than it was in 1964. --Joe McLellan

Disc: 1
1. Norma, opera: Sinfonia
2. Norma, opera: Act One: introduzione
3. Norma, opera: Act One: Svanir Le Voci!
4. Norma, opera: Act One: Meco All'altar Di Venere
5. Norma, opera: Act One: Me Protegge, Me Difende
6. Norma, opera: Act One: Norma Viene
See all 10 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Norma, opera: Act One - Scene One: Sgombra È La Sacra Selva, Compiuto Il Rito
2. Norma, opera: Act One - Scene One: Deh! Proteggimi, O Dio!
3. Norma, opera: Act One - Scene One: Eccola! Va, Mi Lascia, Ragion Non Odo
4. Norma, opera: Act One - Scene One: Va, Crudele, Al Dio Spetato
5. Norma, opera: Act One - Scene Two: Vanne, E Li Cela Entrambi
6. Norma, opera: Act One - Scene Two: Adalgisa!
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Norma, opera: Act Two - Scene One: Scena - Introduzione
2. Norma, opera: Act Two - Scene One: Dormono Entrambi
3. Norma, opera: Act Two - Scene One: Mi Chiami, O Norma!
4. Norma, opera: Act Two - Scene One: Deh! Con Te, Con Te Li Prendi
5. Norma, opera: Act Two - Scene One: Mira, O Norma
6. Norma, opera: Act Two - Scene One: Si, Fino All'ore Estreme
See all 17 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Vincenzo Bellini, Richard Bonynge, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé, Orchestra and Chorus of the Welsh National Opera, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041QF
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,358 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I have always been a great admirer of Joan Sutherland. To hear her in operas like "Lucia", "Sonnambula", "Puritani, "Semiramide" or even "Maria Stuarda" was to experience the "real thing". No doubt about it. As a sheer singing machine, Sutherland in her prime had no rivals ---- certainly not even Callas, whose genius was rooted in a different sphere entirely. But Norma requires something more than a voice, no matter how great that particular voice and technique may be. I always felt that Sutherland's vocal personality was not sufficient for Norma. who must project powerful emotions. She is, after all, a feared presence in the story. Of course one can say that in opera it's the singing that matters and that Norma must have voice, voice, and more voice. True, but there must be a vocal personality to suit the character. I found this to be totally missing on Sutherland's 1964 recording, and still feel that the violent emotions or Norma never really came naturally to her, as it certainly did to Callas. Nevertheless, Sutherland had come a long way in the projection of a text in the intervening years between the 1964 recording and the present one. Sutherland actually projects great power and authority here, and for me, her Norma becomes at least plausible from a dramatic standpoint. Her recititives now ring with a strength and power that were completely absent before. The voice is clearly no longer the liquidy and shining instrument it was before, but it remains valid nonetheless. I actually can appreciate the Sutherland more on this recording than I could on the first. And she is to be respected and admired as well.Read more ›
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sarah-Jane Leslie (sjleslie@eden.rutgers.edu) on December 2, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I am a great Sutherland fan, and have many of her recordings. This one stands out. I have never listened to this recording in its entirety without crying - I can say that about no other CD. Sutherland's voice shows some signs of age, yet is still magnificent.
I must disagree with some critics'opinion that she was unable to fully characterize Norma. She portrays the betrayed woman with heart-breaking clarity and understanding. The other performers live up to their reputations. Pavarotti paints Pollione with arrogance and passion - the neceassary combination. The two stars interact most convincingly, both with each other and with Caballe's touching Adalgisa. Bonynge's conducting is similarly excellent.
Sutherland's second Norma recording conveys deep pain and anger. I do not find the characterization lacking at all. Norma is Bellini's greatest opera; this recording is undoubtedly worthy of his music. I strongly recommend it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Mitnick on July 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Joan Sutherland's place in operatic history was quite secure before she did this recorded remake of Norma in 1984 -- her previous 1964 London recording (as well as her subsequent 1972 live San Francisco recording) accomplished this (as did her her 1960's recordings of Semiramide, Sonnambula, Puritani, and others) most successfully. Sutherland was possibly the master bel canto vocal technician of the twentieth century, and the ends she sought were very different from those of Maria Callas. However, NO voice, no matter how magnificent, can remain immune to the passage of twenty years, as well as the ravages of age. Sutherland does a vocally respectable job here for a soprano at age 58, and there are times when she still has at her command the technical skill necessary for the great role. At other times, however, the voice becomes "gray" and colorless, and not always completely steady. Of course Callas lacked steadiness to an even greater degree (especially on her second EMi recording in 1960), but her dramatic and musical genius yielded far greater dividends than Sutherland does here. I suspect that the availability of Pavarotti was the reason for this recording (John Alexander ably partnered Sutherland on her 1964 recording), and he certainly sings a good Pollione (though not as heroic or stentorian as Franco Corelli on the 1960 Callas recording), though he's not very subtle. The interesting component here is Montserrat Caballe', soprano Adalgisa, who sounds amazingly youthful (a far cry from the matronly and aged sound of Ebe Stignani on the first Callas recording in 1954). I've always felt that a soprano works better in this role than a mezzo (Marilyn Horne being the exception, and her duets with Sutherland on the 1964 recording are the stuff that legends are made of!).Read more ›
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By BRETT H DAVIS on July 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I am a huge fan of all of the 3 principals and saw them many times at the San Francisco Opera in the 70's and 80's. Their TURANDOT studio recording together from 1973 is other worldly...and I am also a big fan of a Nilsson, and Price and all of the greats that I have seen or been lucky to be exposed to over the years. This NORMA was recorded in 1984 and they are all in great voice. Remember Caballe went on to sing ISOLDE in 1989! Only Caballe would use pianissimos in the Act II love duet. I have the LP with Sutherland/Horne NORMA from 1964..(from my teen years) it is the most beautiful NORMA ever recorded. However, I especially love the last act of this opera and the final scene with Sutherland and Pavarotti (the dynamic vocal duo) moves me deeply. Sutherland does not sound tired! The only recording of Sutherland'S that really sounds tired and effortful is the Video VHS of the LES HUGENOTS which I believe was her farewell performance from the stage in Australia. It was painful to watch and I have never finished watching it! I saw the great Maria Callas in her farewell tour with Di Stefano and it was sad. I think people who only enjoy one singer in a particular role are limiting themselves and closed minded. Callas, Caballe, Sills, and even Shirley Verrett (who sang it in SF) are all great interpreters of NORMA. Pavarotti is at the peak of his powers and that is why I bought this recording. Buy it and you will not be disappointed!
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Bellini - Norma / Sutherland · Caballé · Pavarotti · Ramey · WNO · Bonynge
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