Many thanks to our friend Jean-Luc for this wonderful gift
“La Stupenda” Joan Sutherland underlines with this performance, that she was the best soprano ever lived. She was able to sing every role with an angelic smile on her face. Sutherland was the vocal wonder of the world at the time of this recording (1964). I would go further after hearing this miraculous recording to call her the vocal wonder of all time. The voice is just opulent and huge. Even Marilyn Horne’s voice sounds thin next to Sutherland’s. She simply opens her mouth, and a gigantic high E-flat comes out with the greate of ease. Note here that Casta Diva is sung in “G” instead of “F”. Which is much more difficult, of course, because of all the sustain high notes. Opera is voice, and Sutherland has been called by Pavorotti as the greatest voice of the century. And this recording proves that. I respect Callas, but her voice and technique can’t touch Sutherland’s.
# Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
# Performer: Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, John Alexander, Richard Cross
# Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
# Conductor: Richard Bonynge
# Vinyl (1968)
# Number of Discs: 3
# Format: Flac
# Label: Decca/London
# DR-Analysis: DR: 14
# Size: 3.19 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
Joan Sutherland became the greatest Norma of all. But she learned her art partly because of her great admiration for Maria Callas. With whom she sang the role of Chlotilda in I think 1953. Maria Callas has to be given credit for making 20th Century bel canto possible.
Then Joan Sutherland takes bel canto, especially Norma, Lucia, and Sonnambula to new heights. La Stupenda, along with Sills, Price, Corelli, Tucker, Peerce, Horne, Scotto, Pavarotti, Domingo, Caballe, Carreres, Milnes, Merrill, Moffo, Nilsson and now Sumi Jo started a new golden age of singing that has never been equalled since the days of Grisi, Pasta, Malibran.(note that not all the above mentioned singers are bel canto singers).
Sutherland’s Norma is a classic Norma in the traditional style of bel canto – long lines, amazing breath support, powerful high notes, trills, and fioratura must be secure in order to be a good Norma. This type of technique is taken to the limit by Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne. That makes them the best sung Norma and Adalgisa of our time. Bellini also required his singers to have a large voice. Therefore dramatic sopranos such as Ponselle and Milanov have also made great Normas. However, Caballe and Sills have also been successful in singing the Druid high priestess. But Sutherland is the only Norma who is a true dramatic coloratura. This gives her a huge advantage over other sopranos for obvious reasons.
There are those who think that theatrically she is deficient. But in the true style of Bellini, it is the bel canto style of singing and the music that makes Norma come alive. Remember this is Bellini, not Puccini. Bel canto and verisimo are totally different. And there really is no comparison when it comes to the glorious singing that Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne make as Norma and Adalgisa. Their duets are especially ethereal.
This edition of Norma is legendary. It is the one to which all others are compared to. But there are others to choose from. The 1960 Karajan Norma with Callas is a contender, also the 1968 Decca production with Elena Suliotis. In particular, the 1972 live recording of Norma with Sutherland Tourangeau shows Sutherland in even better form with strong chest notes and surprisingly powerful temperament. Both choices are excellent.
But at the end, I always come back to this Sutherland/Horne edition as the true classic Norma. That is, unless the Met releases its 1970 Sutherland/Horne Norma rumored to be the last word in bel canto.
Analyzed folder: /96k Bellini – Norma – Sutherland
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR14 -0.92 dB -20.41 dB sideA.wav
DR13 -0.80 dB -20.49 dB sideB.wav
DR15 -0.74 dB -21.41 dB sideC.wav
DR14 -0.74 dB -20.54 dB sideD.wav
DR14 -0.46 dB -20.99 dB sideE.wav
DR14 -0.72 dB -20.29 dB sideF.wav
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR14
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Große Vorstufe, Erste Frankfurter Röhrenmanufaktur (Tube)
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
I tend more and more, in the last time, to de-click with an automatic setting between 0.7 and 1.2 so you can say, my rips are like half rough rips.
- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Very light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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