Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Bellini - Norma / Patane Caballe Vickers Veasey Theatre Antique d'Orange|
Actors: Montserrat Caballe, Jon Vickers, Joséphine Veasey, Agostino Ferrin, Marisa Zotti
Director: Pierre Jourdan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
NORMA (BELLINI) - DVD Movie
It's so good
Greg the guy | Spokane, WA USA | 04/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know if Caballe's was the best Casta Diva ever; I only have four Normas, and I know how people argue about these things, and I really don't care whose trills don't quite work or whose energy flagged toward the end. I absolutely love this recording. More for its drama than for anything else, and for me drama is the real heart of opera. The conducting: the tone set in the overture, attacked with a ferocity you usually only get when lives are actually at stake. The costumes, which make Vickers look like a real Roman general (see the tenor's costume in Sutherland's DVD of the same opera, for an unhappy counterexample) and the Druids (through some cosmically serendipitous prescience) look disturbingly like Palestinian Arabs. The setting, giving an opera set in Roman-occupied Gaul a stage built by the Romans when they occupied Gaul. The acting, as Vickers declares his love at the top of his lungs (he doesn't hit the high notes others do but damn! he knew how to be the hero) and makes it work, as Caballe convinces us all she IS the priestess who sees the end of the world. The titanic, magnificent central trios, as our three main characters blunder about the stage like blind giants or Greek gods, banging into one another and wondering why it hurts.
It is true that it's not nearly as satisfying to listen to this with the video off. Callas' studio version brings out the tenor's role in the trio much better, exposing a great deal of music that doesn't come through in this, and it's well known that the Sutherland/Horne duets were actually unachievable, and thus probably the only real evidence we have for the existence of God; but get this one too. Get this one too.