88 of 89 people found the following review helpful
Just the best thing you are ever likely to see.,
This review is from: Bellini - Norma / Patane, Caballe, Vickers, Veasey, Theatre Antique d'Orange (DVD)
I saw a clip from this film many years ago on a late night TV documentary on the career of Caballe. I have been trying to track down a copy for years and so when I saw this DVD on sale in the Royal Opera House Shop (Covent Garden) I snapped it up. I have to tell you it one of the best things I have seen or heard. Gramphone Magazine (March 2003) describes Pierre Jordan's film as "a priceless document in the history of opera.", and that is no exageration. How different from that travesty of a DVD from Orange with Birgit Nilson in Tristan und Isolde.
Caballe's performance is just perfection personified, I can say no more, and Gramphone's comment that "the others in the cast are worthy partners, and that says much, though they all individually deserve more" is so true. Except they deserve much much more, Josephine Veasy makes a very moving Adalgisa and Jon Vickers a heroic Pollione - in fact the whole thing is just superb. On the down side (although this is really not a problem) the sound isn't fully syncronised - but the camera keeps a distance that adds even more atmosphere to this wind swept production and so you hardly notice the pour lip synch. As for the Mistral, for once I welcome it's presence - the production team couldn't have planned it better.
I hope you buy this DVD, and that you get as much pleasure out of it as we have. Caballe describes it as "the greatest single performance of her career", and one can't argue with the great lady. Her Cast Diva is sublime, and it's hardly believable but she gets better and better throughout the preformance.
A wonderful document of a very special night in the history of opera.