Notes and Editorial Reviews
(Gesamtaufnahme · Complete)
Edita Gruberova · Sonia Ganassi · Zoran Todorovich · Roberto Scandiuzzi · Markus Herzog
Der Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper
Das Bayerische Staatsorchester
Friedrich Haider, conductor
Staged by Jürgen Rose · Directed by Brian Large
STEREO: PCM / SURROUND: DTS 5.0
Picture Format: 16:9 (widescreen)
An HDTV-Coproduction of Unitel/Bayerischer Rundfunk/Classica
* Edita Gruberova, one of today’s reigning bel canto performers, takes on the demanding role of Norma for the first time in her celebrated career.
Gruberova's role debut as Norma emerged as one her most significant and compelling performances to date - this DVD is a stand-out release among her extensive filmography.
* Jürgen Rose directs staging, settings, costumes and lighting concept for this 2006 performance at the Bavarian State Opera.
* Bonus material: the making of 'Norma' (in German)
R E V I E W S
“Gruberova delivers her own wholly individual interpretation … she translates Bellini’s interplay of pain, love and desire into physically palpable inner and outer drama. Immensely moving.” -- Die Welt
It’s been a long wait but here’s proof: this is the greatest Norma of the day
Edita Gruberová waited until last year to sing Norma on stage for the first time (her recording on Nightingale Classics to which John Steane gave a warm welcome – 11/05 – was based on a concert performance). In this production from Munich she is revealed as the greatest Norma of today. Her singing and acting bring out the complete portrait of the guilt-ridden priestess, trapped between her sense of duty to her religion and country, and the sickening prospect of losing her lover and her children. Gruberová brings a lifetime’s experience of singing bel canto opera and caresses Bellini’s vocal lines with many subtle touches. Almost entirely absent is that mannerism of sliding between notes which has marred some of her singing in the past. Every phrase is moulded with the feeling and reticence of a great artist.
Jürgen Rose, in total control of the production – stage direction, lighting, costumes and sets – succeeds where many have failed in the past. The action seems to be taking place in the aftermath of some terrible conflict. The middle-eastern costumes suggest the Iraq war, but the whole concept is more ambitious than merely to rely on familiar signs. Norma’s tribe seems to have returned to its ancient religion as a refuge from the surrounding chaos. The semi-abstract sets are beautiful, the costumes simple. The priestesses’ hands are stained with symbolic woad. The men carry machine guns and wear black woollen masks. Norma’s dwelling is an underground bunker.
Sonia Ganassi makes a sympathetic Adalgisa, and she and Gruberová sing both the great duets with exquisite tenderness. There is a touching moment when Adalgisa first confesses her love and Norma removes the girl’s veil, as if to free her from her vows. Zoran Todorovich is a charismatic and virile Pollione. In the first act his singing seems rather over-loud at moments, but he is a fine actor and rises to the challenge of the final scene, where Gruberová begins “In mia man” while he is bound to the altar with ropes.
Roberto Scandiuzzi makes the most of the somewhat ungrateful part of Oroveso. He too is very moving in the closing ensemble, as he forgives Norma and agrees to care for her children. Friedrich Haider conducts the Munich forces with fine urgency and an impeccable understanding of the grand sweep of this notoriously tricky work. The whole undertaking is a triumph for all concerned, above all Gruberová and Jürgen Rose. Even those who shy away from the bel canto repertory may find this an unusual pleasure.
Patrick O'Connor, GRAMOPHONE (6/2007)
Works on This Recording
Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Zoran Todorovic (Tenor),
Sonia Ganassi (Mezzo Soprano),
Edita Gruberova (Soprano),
Roberto Scandiuzzi (Bass)
Bavarian State Orchestra,
Bavarian State Opera Chorus
Written: 1831; Italy
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