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Bellini: Norma / Patanè, Caballé, Vickers,

Bellini / Vickers / Caballe / Veasey / Patane
Release Date: 03/11/2003 
Label:  Video Artists International   Catalog #: 4229  
Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Marisa ZottiJosephine VeaseyJon VickersMontserrat Caballé,   ... 
Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio di Torino
conducted by Giuseppe Patanè
Live performance, Théâtre Antique d'Orange, July 20, 1974
optional ENGLISH SUBTITLES

R E V I E W S:

Despite the general darkness of the picture and the antediluvian camera-work, not to mention the fact that this performance took place outdoors (at Orange's Roman amphitheater) during a mistral that threatens to uproot even Montserrat Caballé, this 1974 Norma is a must-have for anyone who cares about great singing, especially bel canto. Caballé has referred to this as the finest performance of her career, and you may well agree; indeed, outside of Callas', this is the only
Read more recording of a Norma that I have found riveting in every way. Caballé's ability to spin out incredibly long, perfectly-tuned, soft phrases is well known; in fact, in the opera's final act she begins a phrase and doesn't end it, through a multi-note melisma, for almost a half-minute. As pure sound, it boggles the mind, and the fact that she is at her most dramatically involved and authoritative, at times singing with a Callas-like intensity and brutal but appropriate chest voice (her "In mia man" duet with Pollione is spine-chilling), equals an unforgettable experience.

Jon Vickers is the Pollione, and he makes as much of the role as is humanly possible; he's in fine voice and he brings virility and total commitment to the proceedings. Josephine Veasey is not the loveliest of Adalgisas, but her somewhat edgy vocalism is more than compensated for by her dramatic connection. Agostino Ferrin's Oroveso, very darkly filmed, is sonorous and majestic. The wind blows what seems like miles of costumer Fiorella Mariani's chiffon robes exquisitely, creating a dramatic effect of its own, and the requirements made of the performers on the immense stage somehow keep everything in motion; the very still moments are all the more focused. Precisely how conductor Giuseppe Patané keeps the whole show under such tight control is miraculous--almost everything except his singers and orchestra seems to be working against him--and this is a simply great Norma. The sound is excellent mono and there are English subtitles. There were a reported 10,000 people in the audience--what a show! Do yourselves a favor and join them--you won't regret or forget it.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Marisa Zotti (Soprano), Josephine Veasey (Mezzo Soprano), Jon Vickers (Tenor),
Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Agostino Ferrin (Bass), Gino Sinimberghi (Tenor)
Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/20/1974 
Venue:  Théâtre Antique d'Orange, France 
Language: Italian 

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