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I just picked up a version of Norma that trumps it all. :p

June Anderson (Norma), Daniela Barcellona (Adalgisa), Shin Young Hoon (Pollione), Ildar Abdrazakov (Oroveso), Svetlana Ignatovitch (Clotilde), Leonardo Melani (Flavio). Orchestra Europa Galante (on period instruments), Fabio Biondi (conductor) & Roberto Andò (stage director); 2001.

Many of you might well know the early music band Europa Galante under Fabio Biondi, who normally excels in historically informed performances of Baroque and Classical repertoire. So, when this reputable band puts on a Romatic period opera, it sure does arouse interest amongst HIP fans. Justifiably so. You see, Norma premiered in 1831, not that well into the Romantic relatively speaking; Beethoven's ninth symphony premiered only seven years earlier in 1824. Under Biondi, this opera does not sound like a grand Verdi opera nor a Wagner epic. The transparency of the early Romantic score becomes especially revealing with obvious late Classical structures; original instruments, orchestral and singing pitch, and key. The staging is sensible, what you would expect - Roman - and nothing is distracting, everything subservient to the plot and music, without an egotistical modern stage director asserting his own ugly fingerprints.

I enjoyed it.

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