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Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, February 2017

…I really enjoyed the voice of Gregory Kunde in this role. He has the power and forza to sing Pollione very convincingly, but there is a honeyed, golden quality to his voice that makes this performance really rather special, with never a hint of the barking the disfigured the performances of, say, Franco Corelli and Mario del Monaco in the ’50s. If anything, he reminded me of Domingo on Cillario’s recording, which is high praise. Ekaterina Gubanova is a very moving Adalgisa, particularly in her first duet with Norma, and she sings the great scene at the start of Act Two with great feeling and utterly convincing pathos. Raymond Aceto is a capable Oroveso.

Renato Palumbo directs a straightforward reading of the score, and the orchestra play for him in their most Italianate manner. The chorus also sounds excellent. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, December 2016

Sondra Radvanovsky excels in the title role as a woman in total turmoil, torn by the constraints of religion and forbidden love. …Radvanovsky’s voice is strong and weighty with a rapid vibrato that develops in appeal and focus as she settles into the role. Her coloratura is effortlessly attractive, demonstrating wide leaps to her top register which opens up stunningly.

As the dark-haired Adalgisa, a temple virgin, Ekaterina Gubanova makes a lot of her role that requires a lot of standing around. It’s certainly an exciting performance and striking is how the big voiced mezzo-soprano travels so fluently through her registers. The amount of emotion she generates in her act one aria Sgombra è la sacra selva is laudable. Formidable Archdruid Oroveso is played by bass Raymond Aceto, who commands a considerable stage presence, displaying a rich, sonorous tone, which transmits strongly. …Under the assured direction of Renato Palumbo, the Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu sounds in excellent form with what feels like ideal pacing.

Marvellously sung and well acted, there is a lot to enjoy in R.B. Schlather’s winning revival of Kevin Newbury’s Norma; making it a desirable addition to a collection. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



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





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