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For someone new to Norma start with one of these stereo versions featuring two of the greatest sopranos of the stereo era:

-Sutherland
-Caballe



This is the early 1964 Sutherland release (not the later one with Pavoratti) when she had clear voice and staggering vocal range, strong support from young Maryln Horne, the very best version for many. The 1960s Caballe has extremely strong supporting cast, a balanced beautiful presentation but not the most dramatic......perhaps I am just under a Callas spell and her technique has forever biased me. I give a slight edge to the 1964 Sutherland

Once you have your feet wet you go for the supreme Norma of the last 60 years Maria Callas.



The early mono version (black) has Maria in full command of awe inspiring full range bel canto technique, unmatched power and dramatic impact. The later stereo (blue) in very popular because of much stronger supporting cast in Corelli and Ludwig, but Maria's vocals are in decline here, very insightful nuanced performance that still eclipses her rivals

Then if/when you are ready for the ultimate Norma you get the live 1955 Divina label performance (expensive), how do you top studio Callas......live of course, includes a staggering collection of bonus rare high quality 120+ photos on CD documenting this Norma production and backstage activities. For experienced hardcore Norma fans a gift from the opera gods......

 

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I have Norma on CD and mp3. I'd love to watch it, but I have no idea what to chose. I love Maria Callas, but she has no video recording of this opera. I know Montserrat did a wonderful Norma in 1974, but what about the sound quality of an outdoor recording? Edita Gruberova was too old when she did it. About others I don't know anything.
:tiphat::tiphat::tiphat:

Edit: Sorry! Before posting I did search for Norma, but I could not find something similar. I later realized, there is a post about Norma. I am focused on DVD only though...
Check the Bellini on DVD and Blu ray thread for discussion of several versions available with pros and cons for each, my pick is Cedolins..........

beautiful Fiorenza gives us a great performance of the druid priestess in modern picture/sound, wonderful production but supporting cast could be better........extended ovation below after casta diva well deserved


 

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Thanks!
Edit: Angel, thanks for the video. Great rendition of Casta Diva, but I still miss Callas' Norma. I am so sad she could not leave any filmed Norma, Traviata, Il Barbiere, as she is the best Norma, the best Violeta and the best Rosina ever. And as a bonus, her partners were Gobbi, Corelli, Di Stefano...
In Norma, I also like Monserrat Caballe and Angela Gheorghiu.
Have you seen this short snippet of Norma (our Maria) preparing her followers for the day when they will rise up and crush the roman eagle, we are with you priestess Norma!

 

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I have some old recordings on DVD: Turandot with Corelli:

I love them both in spite of their bad quality video and limited audio.

I wonder, if they have/produce anything similar with Maria Callas in a full opera on DVD.
No full opera DVD exists.......only extended staged scences of Tosca, Paris 1958 and ROH (covent garden) 1964

 

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I have ordered the Covent Garden from a discount store a while ago, they haven't shipped it yet, I'm starting to get worried. But in any case, my question is: is the Paris one much better, with a younger voice? Is it imperative to have it once one has the Covent Garden one, for someone like me who likes Callas very much but is not completely crazy about her like... I mean... people like you?;) I mean, I know you'll say that for you, it's imperative to have both, but for me, are they similar enough that I'll be fine with only one?
Yes the paris "toujours" is the best single Callas DVD......not only do you get extended act 2 of Tosca but a recital of many of her famous arias in much better voice than 1964 era Callas

Second best Callas DVD.......1959 Hamburg recital (includes later 1962 Hamburg recital)



1959 Hamburg sample:

 

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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.


Looks promising from short clip...........unfortunately it is not widescreen format :(

Love the rustic animal pelt wardrobe for the druid priestess, the usual weak spot of modern Normas is the Pollione part (here with Shin Young Moon????) which never come close to measure up to the likes of Corelli, Del Monaco, Vickers etc from past
 
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