Cher Public

Sonya non mente

norma-yonchevaA big chunk of the last act of Norma, after the jump. 

  • spiderman
    • Sirotah

      Wow. Spot on. Splendid.

    • I approve of this.

  • PCally

    Damn they’re both incredible here

    • Magpie

      I also thought they were both the best I have heard or seen in a long time. I actually thought Calleja acted very well. I understand the comment about standard operatic acting (a la Pavarotti with the excessive manipulation of the eyebrows). But his close ups made a fan now. I loved Yoncheva, but I found her final Aria to be devoid of any vulnerability… It was so patent that I think it must be a choice….

      • PCally

        I agree actually. I’m a fan but I do actually think she has a way to go before she’s a fully formed artist, which is why I was initially a bit surprised to see her tackling Norma this early. I love her violetta and appreciated that she brought out the darker aspects of the role but even there it was a collection of ideas rather than a flesh and blood creation (minority opinion I know). The voice is uniquely gorgeous and I think she’s really special but I think she’s still working her way into certain aspects of her artistry. I just never thought I’d hear Norma sung this well in my lifetime. I’ve never seen a really exciting performance of this opera.

        • Magpie

          Thank you PCally… I log in for a quick peek and it turns into 2 hrs tracing back performances etc. I just finished watching Yoncheva’s Traviata, and although I belong to the school of “less is more” I thought she was riveting in many parts. I understand what you say about a collection of ideas..
          Her choices may not be our idea of a full fledged performance but it made me notice and think about her, her choices, staging, and performance in general.
          I found Radvanosky’s Norma to be a better package overall; it gave me great pleasure. Yet Yoncheva is the one I want to revisit and “understand” since I feel she does have something to say I have not heard before

  • simonelvladtepes

    Can someone post the cabaletta “Ah, bello a me ritorna”? Any chance this will be released?

  • guy pacifica

    Wow — that is powerful singing and staging. It’s hard to tell from these clips what the overall story gains by updating it to a Victorian Christian setting, but there’s no doubt that it brought a psycho-sexual element to the fore that I’ve never experienced in Norma before. Yoncheva is spectacular. I couldn’t help but smile at the following image with subtitle. I hope it loads correctly…

    • manou

      There is nothing Victorian about it -- the scene with the children takes place in a ultra modern setting with every electronic gadget you can think of. And a flat screen TV showing the Watership Down cartoon.

      • guy pacifica

        Manou, I presume you saw the production live? I’d be very interested to hear what you thought. I have only seen the two clips posted above but it appears the production was very intense and dramatic. I wish I had seen it!

        • manou

          Hello guy -- yes, I have seen the production live. There is a detailed review by armerjacquino here (scroll down to the last third of the page).

          I liked certain aspects of the production -- it seemed apposite to substitute some of the Catholic ritual for the equally arbitrary druidic ritual, but it didn’t really explain the oppression suffered by what looked like a powerful and well organized tribe -- and Pollione was just a chap in a suit which was a bit of a let down.

          There is also as you will see from the review a spacehopper making an inopportune appearance.

          Yoncheva was splendid -- and Pappano a real magician.

          • guy pacifica

            Thanks, Manou. I had missed that earlier Norma interchange. Hope things are better in your world now.

            • manou

              Very kind of you.

    • Art Arcas

      “No, casi, casi…” LOL

  • DeepSouthSenior

    I just purchased a ticket for Norma with Sondra Radvanovsky at Lyric Opera Chicago on February 9, 2017. I’m treating myself to a solo trip to Chicago for my birthday week the year before I hit the big 70. Is anyone else going to this production?

  • Brackweaver

    Calleja. Yes!

  • Well, Maria Callas she ain’t! Ha ha.

    Joking aside, both of them are very impressive here (too bad he didn’t join her on the final high note). The “Casta Diva” is also first-rate.

    I really liked Yoncheva’s Desdemona but Norma is a bigger deal and she seems fully up to the task. Thanks for sharing, La Cieca.

    • Frankly I was wowed by her Norma and believe it’s her time for it. I loved her Violetta. Loved it. But then not so much her Desdemona, kash. And recent stabs at Thais’s music have left me unconvinced. But this Norma put me back on the Yoncheva train. The production is fascinating. I got a distinct feeling of the action being staged for a timeless but parallel future Ecumenical Council of the Inquisition of the First Order. Fabulous. And it really works with the ritual epic color of the score. And Art Arcas has a good point. Why wait if she has the goods to do it now? Some of a certain age wailed when Domingo sang Otello early on. And he tenorized magnificently for another 30 years.

    • Luvtennis


      Based on the limited evidence of a YouTube clip, I would say this performance is extraordinary. I cannot think of a version I prefer more. No idea what she sounds like in house, but this is superb. The voice has a definite edge that helps her sculpt the lines. She also has a very hard floor to her lower register -- similar to Maria -- that also helps give definition and emphasis in the lower register without belting. Despite that, the top remains free, and she negotiate upward intervals without manipulating the line or the dynamics. I was not enthralled by her studio recordings. The voice sounded harsh with a certain shrillness to notes above the staff. Not here though. The top has shimmer and real spin.

      Love it.

      • I also like the fact that it’s a full lyric voice, as opposed to a spinto voice. Norma doesn’t have to have a dramatic soprano to be sung successfully.

  • Art Arcas

    Yoncheva is wonderful here! I find her acting particularly good (specially facing Calleja and his rather standard, “operatic” acting style). Quite a feat for a 34 years old soprano still singing Violettas, Mimis & Micaëlas to upgrade herself to Norma… that’s the spirit, I think, we are missing today: if you, as a performer, have the goods, why waiting until you are over 50 to sing the demanding parts, am I right?

  • David Prosser

    The production is odd -- some of it works some doesn’t. It is strange what annoys one, but all the way through I was bothered by the transfer to catholic iconography for an opera in which the lead character is a female priestess. Catholics are not famed for allowing women to officiate and so it constantly jarred. It also didn’t really feel like the druids were the oppressed people -- the Romans are the ones sulking around and the druids have this whole set of complex religious paraphernalia that they can wheel out at a moment’s notice. And the space hopper was a bit distracting.

    Where it did work well for me was the Act 1 Norma/Adalgisa duet where Adalgisa pours out her heat. The scene was set in a confessional which allowed Norma to react to what she was hearing ‘in private’. I found Yoncheva very affecting in that passage.

    Overall I thought Yoncheva spellbinding and totally commanding -- superb singing and a very committed acting performance -- in the confessional and the final confrontation with Pollione, and especially with her children at the start of Act 2.

  • I watched this and the Casta Diva this morning and I liked it as well, although her top sounded a bit spread in parts to me, much like Callas actually, so perhaps it was intentional. A few of the phrases also sounded a bit choppy and short of breath, but I’m sure she will improve and on the whole this is great singing and acting. Again she has that earthy, vulnerable quality to her voice with a rich and dark timbre that is very appealing. Yet hers is also an agile voice, which is rare and pretty neat. The production looks interesting and pretty stunning. Can’t wait to watch the entire performance.

    And speaking of singers waiting, like, forever to take on demanding parts…I can’t believe I have to wait another year and…I don’t even know how long actually, to hear LM finally sing Norma. This literally feels like waiting for Godot to start Waiting for Godot. UGHH.

    Anyway good on Sonya to break that trend. Girl ain’t scurred to break them rules. #ovariesofsteel.

  • often admonished

    Well sung leads in both Tristan and Norma.
    This is a remarkable year.

  • Ingrid Delaria

    The ROH Norma is being shown in movie theaters in October -- I just bought a ticket for October 15 in Seattle. A live showing of Kaufmann’s Otello is scheduled for June…

  • QuantoPainyFakor

    The Russians have posted the links to download the complete video of the production (9 files in all, mkv 9.77 GB + 7.84 GB, 1920 x 1080 resolution, AC3, 5.1, 48 kHz):