May 182013

Norma 2013 – Cecilia Bar­toli as Norma © Hans Jörg Michel

Who loves , will prob­ably love her Norma. Her eyes sparkle, she rolls her ‘R’s, breathes the piani, and tackles the eas­ily. Her stage début in Norma wants to get rid of the exist­ing per­form­ance tra­di­tion; to free inter­pret­ers from the shadow of . Bartoli’s Norma is a cel­eb­ra­tion of her own per­sonal style: some­what mannered, but per­fect, and always unmistakable.

says Bay­erischer Rundfunk.

How­ever Deutsch­landra­dio wanted to boo; not the per­formers or the pro­duc­tion team, but the audi­ence who annoyed with fall­ing hand­bags, cell-phones and inap­pro­pri­ate hys­ter­ical cries of “bravo!”. How­ever, they too cry “bravo” in their review,

Cecilia Bar­toli is, at the begin­ning of Bellini’s Norma in Salzburg, below her poten­tial, but then her musi­cian­ship shows through… After the inter­val Bar­toli was totally con­vin­cing, and her col­oratura fire­works fit per­fectly, but para­mount was her inter­pret­a­tion of the role, which offered some­thing spe­cial, very dif­fer­ent from Cal­las (and her count­less suc­cessors): a spir­itu­al­ity in the bel canto with innu­mer­able shades and colours.

Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s pro­duc­tion, set in Mussolini’s Italy, “is like a red car­pet, laid out to let the per­formers shine”, says the Aus­trian Kur­ier. And of Bartoli?

She plays with impress­ive intens­ity. Her singing, espe­cially in the second part, is enchant­ingly beau­ti­ful… She becomes one with her role, her col­oratura, the out­bursts, the humil­ity in “Casta Diva” aria, act naturally.

Focus, along with the first night audi­ence, gave a thumbs-up,

The audi­ence rel­ished this Norma bey­ond all norms („Norma“ jen­seits aller Nor­men) and Bar­toli was vis­ibly touched by the ovation.

How­ever, they also noted a slightly sub­dued Casta diva — maybe stage fright, they ask. This could well be true. I have heard this in her voice dur­ing the first ever  con­cert and on her return to with Bar­en­boim, both high-profile and stress­ful situ­ations. Noth­ing could be more stress­ing than Norma last night. Then her con­fid­ence grows, fears are for­got­ten and the voice opens up like a flower.

Focus also noted sta­ging that was at odds with the lib­retto, some­thing anti­cip­ated by this blog a couple of days ago. Again, it was the second act that impressed most:

Bar­toli was on top form in the second act, and gave great drama to her Norma… Rebeca Olvera as Adal­gisa looked almost child­like, which gave Salzburg’s Norma an even more intim­ate char­ac­ter, and reminded once more that Bellini was a con­tem­por­ary of Schubert.

The end­less applause at the cur­tain was almost boo-free.

Norma 2013 – Cecilia Bar­toli as Norma © Hans Jörg Michel

  3 Responses to “First reactions for Cecilia Bartoli as Norma”

  1. It is appalling to me that audi­ence did not bother to check their cell phones? Moreover, “almost boo free”? it goes with out say­ing also…

  2. Thank you for post­ing the first reac­tions to Norma at Whit­sun Fest­ival. I am very happy to hear that the pro­duc­tion went so well. I heard a stream­ing ver­sion today of the Decca record­ing and “Casta Diva” is just beau­ti­ful, so much more rich than pre­vi­ous record­ings of this aria. Well done, Cecilia Bar­toli and cast… Hope tomor­row night goes as well for you…

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