Bellini: Norma / Levine, Scotto, Troyanos, Plishka

Release Date: 8/28/2015
Label: Sony
Catalog Number: 88697446182
Conductor: James Levine
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
When, in 1979, Renata Scotto undertook to record the title role in Norma, she had only recently begun to move from the lyric soprano repertoire to heavier dramatic parts such as Norma and the title role in Bellini’s La straniera. Norma suited her well. She makes the most of the big dramatic moments, sings ‘Casta diva’ quite beautifully, and its cabaletta excitingly, though the cabaletta is transposed down a tone. Her voice blends well in duet with that of the Adalgisa, an agreeably youthful-sounding Tatiana Troyanos. Giuseppe Giacomini is a sturdy Pollione, and Paul Plishka a mellifluous Oroveso. James Levine’s lively tempi keep the action moving inexorably to the opera’s tremendous finale. Riccardo Muti’s performance, recorded live at last year’s Ravenna Festival, is three minutes shorter than Levine’s, but takes up three discs to Levine’s two, with discs two and three giving very short measure. Jane Eaglen scored a huge success as Norma at Ravenna, but on these discs she is not in the same league as Scotto. Her voice frequently exhibits a heavy beat which I have not noticed to such an extent in the theatre, and her tone occasionally becomes squally. Eva Mei is an appealing Adalgisa, Kavrakos an acceptable Oroveso and, although his individual timbre may not be to all tastes, Vincenzo La Scola copes well with Pollione’s demanding vocal line. Muti conducts with discretion, his phrasing sensitively attuned to that of his singers.

-- Charles Osborne, BBC Music Magazine Reviewing earlier release of this recording.
Works on This Recording
1. Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer: Paul Crook (Tenor), Paul Plishka (Bass), Giuseppe Giacomini (Tenor), Renata Scotto (Soprano), Tatiana Troyanos (Mezzo Soprano), Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor: James Levine
Period: Romantic
Written: 1831 ; Italy
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