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Patrick Dillon
Opera News, April 2017

Here’s another worthy performance set in a less worthy frame. Well, “worthy” doesn’t do justice to Sondra Radvanovsky’s magisterial, multihued Norma. In the six years since she first braved this legendary acid test of soprano skill, style, and stamina, she’s established herself as its prime international exponent, on stages in Spain, Germany, Canada and (at its three leading opera houses) the United States.

Ekaterina Gubanova is a sturdy-voiced Adalgisa without much allure in timbre, but Gregory Kunde—nearing sixty-one during the Barcelona run—gives his still-impressive all to Pollione, shaping the music like the long-practiced bel canto stylist he is. Raymond Aceto is unimposing and efficient as Oroveso. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review



Rick MacMillan
Opera Canada, February 2017

Radvanovsky is blessed with both superb dramatic sense and a luscious, always well-focused voice, which can be dark and foreboding when that mood is called for. She sounds achingly beautiful in her poignant scene opening Act II, where she considers killing her children as they sleep, fearing for their future. …And she brings a rich palette of colours and lyric grace to the famous “Casta Diva,” which she sings near the beginning of the opera after plucking the sacred silver mistletoe to match the lines “Chaste goddess, who dost bathe in silver these ancient, hallowed trees.” What a concept! A staging that actually reflects and complements the text!

The other cast members are equally impressive. Russian mezzo Ekaterina Gubanova’s Adalgisa is very solid, with great clarity throughout her range. Her Act II duet with Norma, “Deh! Con te, con te li prendi,” is magnificent in its power and dramatic sense, the two women taking simple kneeling postures with no visual distractions. As the Roman consul Pollione, American Gregory Kunde is one of those barrel-chested tenors with a big, bright tone and excellent focus in the upper part of his range. …American bass Raymond Aceto serves up a sonorous tone as Norma’s father, Oroveso, and Ana Puche, the Spanish soprano, makes a fine Clotilde.

The chorus is stirring throughout, especially in the Druid warriors’ chilling battle cry in Act II, “Guerra, Guerra!” And the orchestra, under Renato Palumbo, sounds spectacular. In all, this is one of the best Norma productions currently available on DVD. © 2017 Opera Canada



Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, January 2017

This recording offers ample evidence that [Sondra Radvanovsky] has the range, the power, and the control the role demands. Her coloratura technique, while not as incredibly articulated as Sutherland’s, is quite impressive; and her amazing control of dynamics enables her to float pianissimo high notes better than almost anyone I’ve heard. Dramatically, she lives the role to perfection, whether as leader of her people, in her kindness to Adalgisa, her conflict over her children, or her anger and then remorse concerning Pollione. A great performance of one of opera’s most difficult roles.

The supporting cast of this production is just as good. Ekaterina Gubanova is an excellent partner to Ms Radvanovsky in their duets and makes a totally sympathetic Adalgisa. The tenor Gregory Kunde, who apparently can sing anything (both Rossini and Verdi Otellos) makes an ideal Pollione, with ringing high notes aplenty. The fine bass Raymond Aceto makes the most of Oroveso’s two appearances. The supporting cast, chorus, and orchestra of the Liceu perform very well under Renato Palumbo. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Neil Fisher
Gramophone, December 2016

BELLINI, V.: Norma (Liceu, 2015) (NTSC) 737208
BELLINI, V.: Norma (Liceu, 2015) (Blu-ray, HD) 737304

…it’s best to focus on the star. She is Sondra Radvanovsky, a soprano who has come relatively late to the touchstone bel canto roles—previously she was better known for heavier Verdi roles—but scores a triumph here. A few intonation lapses don’t detract from the intelligent and imaginative way in which she shapes both recitatives and arias, rising to fervent climaxes as well as silken, ethereal pianissimos. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Michael Schulman
The WholeNote, October 2016

…Liceu conductor Renato Palumbo kept things moving, generating real tension and excitement.

This DVD provides a splendid showcase for Sondra Radvanovsky, documenting a signature role of this Caledon resident, the GTA’s international operatic superstar. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review





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