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What opera would you most like to see in a good production with good singers, but don't think you will? Mine would be Norma. I just don't think we have a soprano who can do te role justice like Callas did. Truly great Normas are rare.
 

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Ain't that the truth.

I believe Netrebko is singing it at the Met next season. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! She simply doesn't have the technique. There's a video of her singing Casta diva in concert on youtube. Her articulation of the gruppetti is ungainly and jumpy, her chromatic scales are just slithers and she has absolutely no trill. How on earth is she going to sing the complete role?
 

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To go back in time to the Bernstein conducted Fidelio of 1978 with Gundula Janowitz is my dream opera. Can add to that, the La Fille du Regiment with Mariella Devia and the L'elisir d'amore conducted by Muus with Valeria Esposito. All three are on DVD and all three have excellent casts in my opinion.
 

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Until we have a Callas for Norma, and a Flagstad and Melchior for Tristan, I will not hear those operas adequately sung in the theater and won't even think of going to the theater to see them. Really, though, there are a lot of works, most of them 19th-century, which are presently almost impossible to cast well. Early opera up to Mozart, and 20th-century opera outside of verismo, generally fares better.
 

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Until we have a Callas for Norma, and a Flagstad and Melchior for Tristan, I will not hear those operas adequately sung in the theater and won't even think of going to the theater to see them. Really, though, there are a lot of works, most of them 19th-century, which are presently almost impossible to cast well. Early opera up to Mozart, and 20th-century opera outside of verismo, generally fares better.
I think you are forgetting the late Jon Vickers as Tristan!
 

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Cloud Atmosphere Sky World Black-and-white
Black Flash photography Standing Lighting Entertainment


24 August 1960 and the ancient theater of Epidaurus is full of 20.000 admirers,
waiting to enjoy at last "Norma" with Maria…

Imagine if we could travel back in time and live that day.
Tulio Serafin the conductor, the orchestra of greek National Opera set on the stage
of one of the most beautiful ancient theaters with a perfect sound, surrounded by huge trees,
wonderful summer night, and us in the front row… waiting…

And there she was, her voice heard in all its glory,
from coloratura to very dark, low note, soprano.
Incredible… She was the mother, the woman, the lover, the priestess.

"Mira o Norma"… a mysterious dream
 

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What opera would you most like to see in a good production with good singers, but don't think you will? Mine would be Norma. I just don't think we have a soprano who can do te role justice like Callas did. Truly great Normas are rare.
Once again it seems we do not see things the same way. First your criticism of Richard Tucker's stupendous performance in La forza del destino and now, it is really hard to believe you ever saw Sondra Radvanovsky doing Norma and still can come away stating that no one "can do [te] role justice just like Callas did" (whatever that means).
Different strokes....
 

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Until we have a Callas for Norma, I will not hear those operas adequately sung in the theater and won't even think of going to the theater to see them.
From reading your posts, and even learning from you, you seem to really express yourself better than many about opera and for that reason it kind of surprises me that you tossed aside a brilliant performance of Norma by Sondra Radvanovsky. Or maybe you never saw her doing it, in which case, I would sincerely urge you to change that error fast and then come back and give your opinion. La Divina is indeed divine, but Radvanovsky's performance takes a back seat to no one's!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Once again it seems we do not see things the same way. First your criticism of Richard Tucker's stupendous performance in La forza del destino and now, it is really hard to believe you ever saw Sondra Radvanovsky doing Norma and still can come away stating that no one "can do [te] role justice just like Callas did" (whatever that means).
Different strokes....
I don't criticize Tucker. He is one of the greats. I just prefer other singers. And all these are just my own opinions. And Callas for me is Norma. Others might think differently. I think this is the beauty of opera. There are so many singers for a certain role and some people like one singer and some like another. Just fantastic isn't it :)
 

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I don't criticize Tucker. He is one of the greats. I just prefer other singers. And all these are just my own opinions. And Callas for me is Norma. Others might think differently. I think this is the beauty of opera. There are so many singers for a certain role and some people like one singer and some like another. Just fantastic isn't it :)


My best (opera) buddy loves completely different singers to me but we don't denigrate each other's opinions or each other's choices.
 

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From reading your posts, and even learning from you, you seem to really express yourself better than many about opera and for that reason it kind of surprises me that you tossed aside a brilliant performance of Norma by Sondra Radvanovsky. Or maybe you never saw her doing it, in which case, I would sincerely urge you to change that error fast and then come back and give your opinion. La Divina is indeed divine, but Radvanovsky's performance takes a back seat to no one's!
Thank you for bringing Radvanovsky to my attention. Though I haven't seen her in the theater, I have listened to her a number of times. Her "Casta diva" is available in several versions on YouTube. She sings the aria very well, but the cabaletta "Ah, bello" exposes weaknesses. I'd concede that she might be a very creditable Norma, but not the equal of Callas in any aspect of her singing except for more reliable high notes. Not to be hypercritical, but her coloratura is imprecise, her tone monotonous, her diction lacking incisiveness, with impure Italian vowels. No doubt these things are less noticeable if we can watch her, assuming that she acts the part well. Altogether I don't experience, listening to her, the distinctive, commanding vocal presence that Callas - or Ponselle or Caballe, or even Sutherland - brought to the music. I hear a very good soprano doing a very good job.
 

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Thank you for bringing Radvanovsky to my attention. Though I haven't seen her in the theater, I have listened to her a number of times. Her "Casta diva" is available in several versions on YouTube. She sings the aria very well, but the cabaletta "Ah, bello" exposes weaknesses. I'd concede that she might be a very creditable Norma, but not the equal of Callas in any aspect of her singing except for more reliable high notes. Not to be hypercritical, but her coloratura is imprecise, her tone monotonous, her diction lacking incisiveness, with impure Italian vowels. No doubt these things are less noticeable if we can watch her, assuming that she acts the part well. Altogether I don't experience, listening to her, the distinctive, commanding vocal presence that Callas - or Ponselle or Caballe, or even Sutherland - brought to the music. I hear a very good soprano doing a very good job.
More than a dozen YT friends praised Radvanovsky to the skies as "the Verdi soprano of our age" when her career took flight in the late 2000s. Given the dearth of spinto voices in the Italian repertoire, her emergence seemed to be an answer to many opera fans' prayers and I guess that's why they were and possibly still are crazy about her. I saw and heard her TROVATORE Leonora on YT. She gave an undeniably heart-felt performance, but her tone lacked the wide palette of colours and shades that Callas commands and as you said, her diction lacked incisiveness. Furthermore, I agree with you that she still has a lot of work to do in developing a truly individual, distinctive, commanding vocal presence and personality that make Callas, Ponselle, Muzio, Olivero, Caballe and Sutherland so telling.

Radvanovsky is a case of the excellent being compared to the greats, with the excellent still found wanting in crucial aspects that make the greats great. Perhaps her artistic stature may grow further with time.
 

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Thank you for bringing Radvanovsky to my attention. Though I haven't seen her in the theater, I have listened to her a number of times. Her "Casta diva" is available in several versions on YouTube. She sings the aria very well, but the cabaletta "Ah, bello" exposes weaknesses. I'd concede that she might be a very creditable Norma, but not the equal of Callas in any aspect of her singing except for more reliable high notes. Not to be hypercritical, but her coloratura is imprecise, her tone monotonous, her diction lacking incisiveness, with impure Italian vowels. No doubt these things are less noticeable if we can watch her, assuming that she acts the part well. Altogether I don't experience, listening to her, the distinctive, commanding vocal presence that Callas - or Ponselle or Caballe, or even Sutherland - brought to the music. I hear a very good soprano doing a very good job.
My thoughts exactly. I listened to some of the Norma excerpts on youtube too. Her casta diva is certainly a lot better than Netrebko's , but, like you, I hear a very good soprano doing a good job. At no point does she illuminate the music in the way Callas does. Nor would I put her in the same league as Caballe or Sutherland in this music. The search for the next great Norma still goes on.
 
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