“Opera can, in fact, be something beautiful and moving even when all a performance has going for it is some really excellent singing. And that’s what the Met has served up in its current revival of Bellini’s La Sonnambula, vocalism so splendid it hardly matters it’s happening in a dramatic vacuum.” [New York Observer]
“The Met’s production, originally directed by John Copley, is still a hideous, confusing mess. But with Ms. Meade and Ms. Barton acting with moving subtlety, singing generously and feeling deeply, it was hard to care.” [New York Times]
La Cieca is sort of out of words trying to describe what makes a great performance of the role of Norma, as opposed to the conscientious traversal of the notes that, curiously, seems to inspire such absurdly hyperbolic statements as “The role has been a magnet for many great sopranos—Ponselle, Milanov, Callas, Sutherland, to name a few—and after last night Radvanovksy can add her name to the list.”
Thus your doyenne now graciously offers an audio example of “greatness,” including ferocity of attack, nobility of fraseggio, crisp rhythm and expressive use of the text… following the jump. Read more »
Everyone who revives Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, as the Collegiate Chorale did at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night, calls the piece an “overlooked masterpiece.”
Beatrice di Tenda was a problem child, Vincenzo Bellini an alternately protective and disparaging parent.
Richard Wagner told Cosima he first got the idea of composing an opera about Tristan and Isolde while he was conducting Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi starring his muse, Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, in the trouser role of Romeo.
By the time Rossini was 20, he had produced six operas, most of them brief, comic and slight. He admitted to admiring Mozart (not then well known south of the Alps), but the melodies of his early works show more of the influence of Paisiello.
Mariella Devia will augment her already vast bel canto repertoire next year with the role of roles: Bellini’s Norma.