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.  

Norma (Vincenzo Bellini)
Norma: Leyla Gencer
Adalgisa: Giulietta Simionato
Pollione: Bruno Prevedi
Oroveso: Nicola Zaccaria
Clotilde: Luciana Piccolo
Flavio: Piero De Palma
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala
Gianandrea Gavazzeni, conductor
Live performance, 13 January 1965

Act 1:

Act 2: