View Poll Results: Bellini's favourites

Voters
21. You may not vote on this poll
  • Adelson e Salvini

    0 0%
  • Bianca e Fernando

    0 0%
  • Il Pirata

    0 0%
  • La Straniera

    0 0%
  • Zaira

    0 0%
  • I Capuleti e i Montecchi

    4 19.05%
  • La sonnambula

    4 19.05%
  • Norma

    14 66.67%
  • Beatrice di Tenda

    5 23.81%
  • I Puritani

    15 71.43%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Preferred Bellini opera

          
   
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  1. #31
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Attachment 10498

    noooooooooooooooooooo!
    Yikes! That guy scares me more than Norma!
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  2. #32
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Very well put, captain.

    If Florestan wants to explore, I would recommend my favourite.

    7th December 1955, Maria Callas at La Scala. A monumental occasion captured on recording and one of those CDs I like to be buried with just in case I find a cd player on the udder side. There are a few releases of this recording available but I would recommend the Pristine release. This one was remastered by a god of sound engineers, Andrew Rose who created the recording label Pristine Classical.

    Name:  Norma - Maria Callas live recording, La Scala, 7 December 1955, Antonio Votto.jpg
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  3. #33
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    With after thought, the above recording is a very bad choice to try Norma and I think is for Norma nuts only. It costs about one trillion dollars and even with the miracles performed by Andrew Rose has much noise that some listeners of modern recordings would find intolerable.

    So I retract that recommendation and say (as I think it's been proposed before) that the first Norma recording I would recommend would be the Bonynge.

    Name:  Norma - Richard Bonynge 1984.jpg
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    Bellini: Norma
    Joan Sutherland (Norma), Luciano Pavarotti (Pollione), Montserrat Caballé (Adalgisa), Samuel Ramey (Oroveso)
    Orchestra & Chorus of Welsh National Opera, Richard Bonynge

  4. #34
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    If I were going to do Norma it probably would be this one,
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  6. #35
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Oh I like that one too

  7. #36
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Norma for me is his best. The art form wouldn't be the same if gems like "Casta Diva" and "Mira o Norma" did not exist. I think the problem with Norma is that it is harder to sing so we don't get the best of performances that often. I Puritani is easier to produce than Norma, given the difficulty in finding a soprano that can sing the latter's title role properly. I mean, people of the caliber of Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballé, and Joan Sutherland are not born every day.

    Lilli Lehman famously said that the singing of all three Brünnhilde roles in one night would be less taxing than one performance of Norma.

    I find the current least indecent ones way below the standards set by the great ones of the past. With Montserrat practically retired, there just isn't a great Norma these days. Fiorenza Cedollins, Sondra Radvanovsky... nah.

    So, it becomes unfair competition, when you go see a performance of I Puritani and you get correct bel canto singing with no flaws, but things don't go so well when you see a Norma who gets tired before the end and doesn't get the entire range and the dramatic push - it brings down the whole experience. Elvira is much easier to sing than Norma.

    Not to forget, I much prefer the much tighter libretto in Norma. The one for I Puritani is a bit far-fetched.

    Don't read me wrong, I Puritani contains lovely music and I wouldn't fault anyone for upholding it first among Bellini's operas - but all things considered, *for me* Norma is the better opera of the two (and of the whole Bellini bunch). I think it is more compact, tighter, with better pace and theatricality, with poignant drama, and one of the most complex characters in all of opera, the very iconic title role. I Puritani doesn't even start competing in terms of iconic characters - who cares about this Elvira who gets mad, doesn't get mad, and is just another one of the multiple female characters in opera who love someone but are told they'll be forced to marry someone else? Norma on the other hand packs in herself conflict of personal and public life, maternal love and despair, forbidden love, religious role conflict, guilt, friendship, jealousy, murderous intent, and resignation. Whew! I Puritani holds its own as far as the vocal music goes, but even though music is the most important part of an opera, it is not the only part.

    And besides, Norma gave us this, one of the best moments in the history of opera performances:

    [Link to video removed by Admin - video no longer available]
    This Italian commentator got it right:

    "La più grande interpretazione di Casta Diva di sempre! La Caballè, nonostante il vento che disturbava, con la sua meravigliosa voce ha superato tutte le interpretazioni precedenti, anche quella della Callas."

    "The greatest interpretation of Casta Diva ever. Caballè, in spite of the troublesome wind, with her wonderful voice surpassed all previous interpretations, including those by Callas."

    And listen to this, my friends - there aren't too many moments in opera more beautiful than this (in spite of Dame Sutherland's dreadful diction):



    Marilyn Horne at her peak, a force to behold![/QUOTE]



    Thanks, Luiz, for showing that clip. It's always useful to remember how lucky we are to have such great singing frozen in time. I once was lucky enough to see Horne and Caballe in a double recital sing "Mira O Norma" - awesome to hear such singers live. We really hit the jackpot when Caballe sang her signature "O Mio Babbino Caro" for one of the encores.
    Last edited by Ann Lander (sospiro); January 10th, 2018 at 01:02 PM.

  8. #37
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    After listening to all my Sonnambula sets for the past several weeks,
    this one has risen to the top and is now my favorite:


    It was based not only on performance but also sound quality of the recording.
    Favorites among these are in bold.
    Here is my collection it was selected from (minus those still in shipping):

    Aliberti (this one is still shipping)
    Anderson, June (this one is still shipping)
    Bartolli
    Callas 1955 live
    Callas 1957 live
    Callas 1957 studio
    Ciofi
    Dessay
    Devia
    Gruberova
    Lind
    Orgonasova (NAXOS set)
    Pagliughi
    Scotto
    Sutherland 1980
    Sutherland 1962 (this one is still shipping)
    Sutherland 1960
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  9. #38
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    After listening to all my Sonnambula sets for the past several weeks,
    this one has risen to the top and is now my favorite...
    Of course it is.


    Though I just realized I had missed putting it on the discography page...

    woops

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  11. #39
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    This one is currently at the top of my list after listening to a lot of La Sonnambulas this past week.


    Here is my Sonnambula CD collection it was selected from:

    Aliberti
    Anderson, June
    Bartolli
    Callas 1955 live
    Callas 1957 live
    Callas 1957 studio
    Carosio
    Ciofi
    Dessay
    Devia
    Gruberova
    Lind
    Moffo
    Orgonasova (NAXOS set)
    Pagliughi
    Scotto 1971
    Sutherland 1980
    Sutherland 1962
    Sutherland 1961
    Sutherland 1960
    Valaskova
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  13. #40
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Interesting article on Bellini opera.


    Also, from a different article, something on my favorite one,

    ... as Victorian Opera’s Richard Mills wrote on the eve of his production of La Sonnambula, Bellini “left us a canon of enduring value; a unique and inimitable feeling for poetic expression in music, a dramatic sense which manifests in noble and heroic situation, and a legacy of melodies that unfold as if they were made in heaven for singers on earth.”
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  15. #41
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Chapter 18 - Somnambulism in Verdi's Macbeth and Bellini's La Sonnambula: opera, sleepwalking, and medicine:

    Abstract

    The arts can provide unique ways for determining how people not directly involved in medicine were viewing and informing others about physical and mental disorders. With operas, one need only think about how various perturbations of madness have been portrayed. Somnambulism has long been a particularly perplexing disorder, both to physicians and the laity, and it features in a number of operas. Two mid-nineteenth-century masterpieces are examined in detail in this contribution: Verdi's Macbeth and Bellini's La Sonnambula. In the former, the sleepwalking scene is faithful to what Shakespeare's had written early in the seventeenth century, a time of witchcraft, superstition, and the belief that nocturnal wanderings might be caused by guilt. In Bellini's opera, in contrast, the victim is an innocent girl who suffers from a quirk of nature, hence eliciting sympathy and compassion. By examining the early literature on somnambulism and comparing this disorder in these operas, we can see how thinking about this condition has changed and, more generally, how music was helping to generate new ways of thinking about specific diseases and medicine.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  16. #42
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    "All of Italian opera can be heard in "Ah! non creda." --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."


    Here is a fine Amina:


    Just watched this complete Sonnambula on You Tube, and here is the leading lady singing Ah! non creda with piano accompaniment:
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  17. #43
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    Norma is his most popular opera and also my favourite Bellini opera it is an opera that is on top from beginning to the end. It is an opera you hardly can´t make a highlights collection of because it only have highlights. It just is one of the best operas ever.

  18. #44
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingvar View Post
    Norma is his most popular opera and also my favourite Bellini opera it is an opera that is on top from beginning to the end. It is an opera you hardly can´t make a highlights collection of because it only have highlights. It just is one of the best operas ever.
    If it had a few more, and bigger, bass roles in it, it would be perfect.
    " … if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it."
    Roald Dahl

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