Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Cultural Observer | 03/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you think the 1955 Scala Norma with del Monaco and Simionato was legendary, wait until you hear this! This is Norma like it has never been sung before! At 1952, Callas was still the heavyset woman that she was during the earlier part of her career. And during this time, her voice was still a large, brilliant column of sound that could easily overpower the orchestra and her fellow singers without difficulty. And what is truly amazing is this performance with Vittorio Gui (later to conduct her legendary La Scala Traviata) in the pit, a better-sounding Ebi Stignani, and an amazing tenor with the name of Mirto Picchi. Callas was the legendary dramatic coloratura d'agilita that most people fantasized her to be during this night, and none of her notes resembled the voice which would soon arouse controversy amongst her many detractors years later. Her interpretation was as always, the greatest, and since the power of her voice had not yet diminished, her fury duets beginning with "Ma di l'amato giovane...Oh non tremare" to "Oh di qual sei tu vittima" and "Perfido...Vanne,si,mi lascia indegno" are simply mind blowing. Her first recitatives, aria, and cavatinas are sung with seamless legato, and the final scene is as what most Italians would call (in reference to operatic perfection), Pace Verdi. And oh, did I mention Joan Sutherland's brief appearance as Clotilde in this performance? Too bad they didn't cast her as Adalgisa, otherwise this would be the greatest Norma of recording history! I just wish Dame Joan would have learned more about drama from Callas, otherwise her Norma would have been truly the greatest after La Divina. But no complaints about her Adalgisa, as Stignani sounded fresh and dramatically convincing as Adalgisa in this record. Mirto Picchi may not have the instant heroic timbre of Corelli and del Monaco, but he proved to be Callas' dramatic equal in that night's performance...a fine Pollione as I would say. Listen to the last act, and you would understand why Callas' Norma will always hold supreme over other Normas, even Ponselle, who was famous for triumphing in that role only half a century earlier.
Sutherland was right!
Emma de Soleil | On a holiday In Ibiza, then back to the UK for stu | 01/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bravo to Joanie for setting those stupid Callas-Bashers right! This performance is SUPERB, the EMI-Release is even better! (Of the same performance)"