Gui: Bellini - Norma 1952 Live Recording (3 CD, APE)
Gui: Bellini – Norma 1952 Live Recording (3 CD, APE)

Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 3
Format: APE (tracks)
Label: EMI Classics
Size: 429 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

Norma – Maria Callas
Adalgisa – Ebe Stignani
Pollione – Mirto Picchi
Oreveso – Giacamo Vaghi
Flavio – Paul Asciak
Clothilde – Joan Sutherland

Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra Covent Garden
Conductor – Vittorio Gui
18 November 1952

CD 01
01. Sinfonia
02. Act 1. Scene 1. Ite sul colle… Dell’aura tua profetica
03. Act 1. Scene 1. Svanir le voci!
04. Act 1. Scene 1. Meco all’altar di Venere
05. Act 1. Scene 1. Odi?… I suoi riti a compiere
06. Act 1. Scene 1. Me protegge, me difende
07. Act 1. Scene 1. Norma viene
08. Act 1. Scene 1. Sediziose voci
09. Act 1. Scene 1. Casta Diva
10. Act 1. Scene 1. Fine al rito, e il sacro bosso
11. Act 1. Scene 1. Ah! bello a me ritorna
12. Act 1. Scene 1. Sgombra è la sacra selva
13. Act 1. Scene 1. Eccola – va, mi lascia
14. Act 1. Scene 1. Va, crudele
15. Act 1. Scene 1. Vieni in Roma

CD 02
01. Act 1. Scene 2. Vanne, e li cela entrambi
02. Act 1. Scene 2. Adalgisa!… Alma, costanza
03. Act 1. Scene 2. Oh, rimembranza!
04. Act 1. Scene 2. Ah si, fa core, abbracciami
05. Act 1. Scene 2. Ma di’… l’amato giovine
06. Act 1. Scene 2. Oh, di qual sei tu vittima
07. Act 1. Scene 2. Perfido!… Or basti!
08. Act 1. Scene 2. Vanne, si, mi lascia, indegno

Also available:  The Art of Joan Sutherland (6 CD box set, APE)

CD 03
01. Act 2. Scene 1. Introduzione
02. Act 2. Scene 1. Dormono entrambi!
03. Act 2. Scene 1. Olà! Clotilde!
04. Act 2. Scene 1. Mi chiami, o Norma?
05. Act 2. Scene 1. Deh! con te, con te li prendi
06. Act 2. Scene 1. Mira, o Norma
07. Act 2. Scene 1. Cedi… deh cedi!
08. Act 2. Scene 1. Si, fino all’ore estreme
09. Act 2. Scene 2. Non parti?
10. Act 2. Scene 2. Guerrieri! a voi venirne
11. Act 2. Scene 2. Ah! del Tebro al giogo indegno
12. Act 2. Scene 3. Ei tornerà. Sì!
13. Act 2. Scene 3. Squilla il bronzo del Dio!
14. Act 2. Scene 3. Guerra! guerra!
15. Act 2. Scene 3. Né compi il rito, o Norma?
16. Act 2. Scene 3. Già mi pasco ne’ tuoi sguardi
17. Act 2. Scene 3. Dammi quel ferro!
18. Act 2. Scene 3. Qual cor tradisti
19. Act 2. Scene 3. Norma! deh! Norma, scòlpati!
20. Act 2. Scene 3. Deh! Non volerli vittime

Greatest Norma at greatest price!

EMI has again favored us Callas fans with one of her greatest recordings at budget price. When first released in the CD format, this 3-disc 1954 landmark NORMA was sold at full price. In a second phase release EMI placed it in it’s Recordings of the Century series, bringing the price down, but still retaining the notes and libretto. Now the third phase release is an irresistable price drop, now minus the libretto. If you love opera in general, or you love Bellini, or you love to hear the 30-year-old, newly dieted Callas at her utmost peak, you must have this NORMA.

Like other reviewers, I, too, wondered why EMI didn’t put more of a dream cast together with La Divina , such as Corelli or del Monaco as Pollione, and Barbieri or Simionato as Adalgisa. Yet, Callas’ assembled collegues meet the demands of their roles more than adequately.

The Adalgisa of Stignani shows her amazing capabilities, even at the end of a three-decade career. Her voice may have that mature, matronly sound, but her insight into her role matches Callas at every turn.

Tenor Mario Filippeschi is a very satisfying choice for the role of Pollione. He was already a seasoned veteran of the opera stage, and had collaborated with Callas on other productions such as a 1950 NORMA in Mexico as well as Rossini’s ARMIDA the following year in Florence. It is refreshing to hear this tenor able and unafraid to deliver the role with such panache, clarion high notes and all.

The bass role of Oroveso is ably covered by Nicola Rossi-Lemini, another frequest partner with Callas as well as other recording artists of her era. His distinguished career includes the lead bass in such operas as ANNA BOLENA, I PURITANI, IL TURCO IN ITALIA, IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, DON CARLO, and THE SICILIAN VESPERS.

I would be repeating so many other reviewers if I were to go into describing how great Maria Callas is in the role of NORMA. Some people avoid Callas altogether, saying that her voice is not pleasing to their ear. You can pull up other reviewers comments about NORMA to read, and there is plenty to read.

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