"....As mentioned below- Clifford Grant is excellent- every bit the imposing father with his rich, huge voice. One wishes that the part were much larger. Merolla sings at a loud volume the entire time and muscles the character's limited coloratura.Troyanos is ...remarkable ... Her voice is a rich, dark miracle- luscious and sensual like the very finest red wine. It reminds me of the mahogany glory of Flagstad, imposing like hers, but yet vulnerable, and feminine even sexy. She certainly doesn't do anything inappropriate for the character of a deceived vestal virgin, but you can easily believe that she caught Pollione's eye. I doubt that Troyanos could have takne the gorgeous sensuality out of her voice if she tried. She has no trouble with the high notes or the coloratura- needing no aspirates: beautiful legato. She is the one who provides the lion share of vocal subtlety: dynamic shading, technically secure and dramatically sensitive phrasing: even without any artistry, her vocal color is so beautiful that it would have carried her through the performance and yet she misses not one opportunity for expression. The set is worth a far higher price for her singing alone.It is the impression that Deutekom leaves on the other listeners that puzzles me. I find her performance to be very uneven: yes, she gives her all dramatically, but not as much as Callas. Why must I compare her to Callas? Deutekom has some of the same acid in her voice, and many many times on this recording she sounds like a brighter-voiced Callas. More troubling are a couple of entrance mistakes and more times when her intonation strays too far south.However, in the plus column, she does make a dramatic impact, especially in the long recit sections in Act 2 and the ensemble finales, and unlike Callas's later recordings, she has some big high notes- one or two are not quite in tune and sound like they are hanging on by a thread, but if you choose to look at it as Norma's highly agitated state of mind, it isn't really a problem. Yes, this is bel canto, but it's some of the most dramatic bel canto, and I'd rather hear an exciting Norma as opposed to a beautifully sung but boring Norma. Deutekom only a couple of times indulges in that strange gobbling coloratura that she is notorious for, proving that she can indeed sing coloratura in a more traditional way. She follows Merolla's lead of forcing her way through the coloratura in the trio, but only that once. Also too her credit, she pulls out a few soft high notes in some critical moments- they are variable, but mostly successful, always effective and you have to give the woman credit for going out on a limb in a live performance.I wouldn't call this the finest Norma ever, but ...it certainly doesn't have to be your only copy of the work."
The "Norma" recording of the century!
madamemusico | Cincinnati, Ohio USA | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can only echo the words of praise found in the other reviews. Deutekom and Troyanos are at their absolute peak here, Morolla and Clifford Grant are wonderful "finds," and Cellario conducts with fire and excitement. If you listen to opera because you want catharsis, look no further. This set will transform you, and at this price you can afford to send a couple of copies to your friends (hint, hint)."
Good performance, mediocre to poor sound quality
Anthony Louis | USA | 08/04/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There is something not right with the sound quality on this CD. The performance is rather good, but after a while the sound gets to be grating, especially the female voices. I have heard Troyanos live and her voice is quite pleasant to listen to. On this CD I found her voice to be irritating, so it must be the recording. I doubt I will listen very often to this particular recording. There are more enjoyable Normas out there, so I would be hard pressed to recommend this one."
Mr. Daniel Zehnacker | 07/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Après les Norma de Sutherland (avec Tourangeau et avec Cossotto) voici la Norma de Deutekom. Il faut croire que le retrait de Callas, après ses Norma de l'Opéra de Paris (1965) laissa le champ libre à toutes ses rivales, qui voulurent s'approprier Le rôle. On y verra Verrett, Bumbry, Scotto et Caballé, entre autres, s'essayer à la Grande Prêtresse, avec plus ou moins d'assiduité. Sur scène, Deutekom est une grande Norma, vibrante et passionnée. A ses côtés, Troyanos déploie son timbre riche et sa forte personnalité. Les autres partenaires sont à la hauteur des deux divas, et l'enregistrement reste de qualité, parfaitement écoutable. Un témoignage que tout amateur de beau chant italien voudra acquérir et faire partager."
A fully charged Norma!
Armindo | Greece | 07/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording was a great surprise because I've heard Norma many times but listening to the young Deutekom in fearless, secure voice was an exciting experience I enjoyed tremendously. The voice from the opening phrases impresses with its abundant power, even registers and easy, healthy top, middle and lower notes (no squeezing, pushing or weakening of tone for this lady). The vocal authority in declamation passages is incredible and eliminates any competition. When we get to the cantabile however, things are more complicated. Deutekom fails to change the mood enough in slower, tranquil moments and this is one reason why Casta Diva doesn't quite have the impact it should. Furthermore she has a few intonation problems, the words are not always correctly pronounced (but at least they ARE) and of course in more florid moments her very individual coloratura spoils the scene if you've heard the role before. Fortunately here, this is basically only apparent in bello a me ritorna. But the sheer beauty and authority of her instrument quickly compensate and one only has to listen to 'In mia man' to hear one of the most exciting versions of this stunning scene and be convinced that this is a superb achievement. Hers was by far the easiest reading of this role I've heard so far.
Of the other principals I mostly enjoyed Merolla; a visceral Italian tenor of the Del Monaco/Corelli mould and an excellent choice for the role of Pollione. Troyanos' instrument is often too dark to project the qualites of Adalgisa and although Deutekom has a bright but mature sound, the combination is not ideal. But Troyanos is in fantastic voice, sings very well so brings enough musical greatness to the evening. With Grant perfectly reliable as Oroveso and Cillario at the pit matching their energy levels this must have been one of the great SFO nights. Though not perfect this Norma deserves 5 stars for the excitement it offers, the price and decent broadcast sound."