Search - Vincenzo Bellini, Georges Prêtre, Fiorenza Cossotto :: Bellini: Norma

Bellini: Norma
Vincenzo Bellini, Georges Prêtre, Fiorenza Cossotto
Bellini: Norma
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #2


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Callas' Swansong
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a recording of Maria Callas' very last performances of Norma at the Paris Opéra in 1965. Forget everything you have ever been told about her voice no longer being what it used to be. It is all true, of course-but it does not matter a bit. No other singer, not even Callas herself in her prime, seems able to move me as much as she does here. True, she omits some of the high notes and skimps some of the coloratura, but athletics is one thing and music drama quite another. She was obviously aware that her days in the role were counted, and this makes her last-ditch effort to share as much as she can with the audience while there is still time all the more poignant. The rest of the cast is good without being exceptional in any way-but then no one ever buys a recording of Norma for the sake of the Adalgisa. Warning: the sound quality is poor-so if you want rock-solid high Cs and/or a clear sound, you should turn to either one of Callas' studio recordings, which are both wonderful."
A tragedy...
Emma de Soleil | On a holiday In Ibiza, then back to the UK for stu | 01/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Here we have the greatest Norma of all time at the very end of her career... in excerpts of her final performances as Norma... By the time these performances were recorded (live) Callas not only was feverish but incredibly fearful. Her being a perfectionist tormented her for she hated transposing a single note... But what is a single note if the rest is... Sadly this doesn't work here... The performance with Simionato (Who was a loving colleague) sounds better because Simionato is supporting Callas but Cossotto does the opposite, she's abusing Maria's illness and weakness to "outsing" her. Callas had to be given shots so she could go on with the performance, she didn't dare to quit the performance because more than anybody else she was torn to pieces for cancellations that never took place. In the final performance Callas collapsed in tears after the "Friendship-Duet"... It was then that director Franco Zeffirelli gave Cossotto what she deserved, declaring he'd never work with her again. And he never did. But it was too late for Maria... Act four of the final performance was cancelled. Callas couldn't even walk by herself because she was afraid and weak, she had to be supported. Whispering apologies to her loving audience she was led back home. She was never to sing Norma again, it was a traumatic experience. As for the performances: There are good things and sad ones... The uneven coloratura in Casta Diva where she had once dazzled audiences and critics alike with flawless glissandi and endless breath... The burned out sound, the stretched high notes... And yet, never have I heard a more gentle "Qual cor tradisti", she sounds more BEAUTIFUL (Yes, GORGEOUS!) than Sutherland and Caballe put together. I only listen to that one track, the four stars are for this one... I can't bear to listen to the rest without crying..."
Its a different atmosphere
daniel vasquez | Atlanta, GA United States | 08/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It would be fair to say that there are 3 stages to callas' career. there was the dramatic coloratura at the beginning (from mid 40's to 54) then the lyric with dramatic color (55-58) and then there is a period of time in which callas' instrument went through the bizarre decline that it did. there are some of us that actually hear a great glory in the latter sound, and gala has released this set for US. for the person that wrote the caballe comment. well...what can i say....look at a picture of callas and a picture of caballe and you tell me who is the most physically attractive. if you are referring to the "beauty" of the vocal timbre....there is no question there...caballe's timbre is more beautiful than fact i can list millions of singers that possess more beautiful voices. what one must realize is that Bellini wrote this role for a lyric soprano. Pasta. he didnt write this role for a dramatic soprano (there wasnt such a thing back in the day) and not a spinto (like caballe). the callas fach can be argue of debate. some say she is a dramatic coloratura..others say that she was a lyric all along. its hard to tell. but i can tell you that it is unfortunate that you cant hear one of the most poignant and human sounds in the world...the late callas voice. once you learn to hear it...i recommend listening to the 74 tour...which is incredibly painful at times...but at others there is magic...sola perduta abbandonnata is just incredible because it is so fitting to the letter..."io la deserta donna..." it is heart-breaking!i dont understand why people just HATE maria...even after death. i mean...just hatred. and its weird that most of the Hatred usually comes from anglo-saxon countries....the land that LOVES Charlotte Churchdaniel"