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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
Performed on early 19th century instruments and presented with brisk tempos, bright tone colors, and a lean ensemble sound, this 2013 Decca recording of Vincenzo Bellini's tragic opera Norma strives to re-create the authentic vocal style and instrumental sonorities that would have been heard at its premiere. This reading is based on a critical study of the manuscript and other sources by Maurizio Biondi and Riccardo Minasi. To the extent that Cecilia Bartoli is able to re-create the historical role of Norma and remove the modern associations that came with time (especially from the 20th century performances by Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, and Montserrat Caballé), she impresses with a lighter voiced and agile heroine who is wholly believable in this highly florid bel canto role. Bartoli is joined by Sumi Jo as Adalgisa, John Osborn as Pollione, and Michele Pertusi as Oroveso, and this cast was chosen to match their vocal qualities and to create expressive balance. The Orchestra La Scintilla is conducted by Giovanni Antonini, who communicates a lively and sometimes pugnacious interpretation of the score, notably in the incisive playing of the winds and timpani. While there is much to praise in this recording, purists may raise an eyebrow over the lowered pitch of the entire opera, tuned to A430. Furthermore, they may be disturbed by the unexpected modulation at the opening of "Casta diva" and myriad embellishments in its second verse, where Bartoli imitates the dazzling effects that were expected of a singer in Bellini's day. However, a real drawback is the sound of the recording, which was made in a church, necessitating extremely close microphone placement and audio enhancements that sound artificially mixed. Even so, considering the merits of Bartoli's bold reassessment of this time-honored role, and the complete rethinking of performance practices to bring them in line with the latest scholarship, this recording deserves a serious hearing, even if it doesn't win over all traditionalists or replace cherished performances from the past. © TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 18, 2019 | Tuk Music

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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 25, 2015 | Glossa

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Fabio Biondi, who shows up at extremely regular intervals in the nineteenth century repertoire, is back with a release exploring the unfairly neglected Vincenzo Bellini. A suitable team was assembled for the task, dominated by Valentina Farcas and Vivica Genaux, whose voices are supported by the strong leadership of the late Italian director.
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Opera - Released August 11, 2017 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
The opening night of Vincenzo Bellini’s first professional opera, Bianca e Fernando (NOT Gernando), set to take place at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples as part of a gala evening in January 1826, was cancelled at the last minute for reasons that remain unclear, even though it appears that at the time, use of the name Fernando in the title was forbidden because Ferdinando was the name of the Bourbon heir to the throne, and no form of it could be used on a royal stage. But in May of the same year, under the title Bianca e Gernando, the piece was finally premiered, with great success. But after the triumph of Il pirata in Milan in 1827, Bellini was commissioned by Genoa in 1828 to offer a new work – too late for the composer to write anything new: he resorted to the age-old trick of recycling old material, in this case his own Bianca, even though he was confronted with the difficult task of adapting several episodes to suit the voices of the new performers for the new production. He reverted to the former title Bianca et Fernando and it is that heavily revised score which has been produced, on and off, up to the 1980s, even though quite rarely. But in 2016, the famous festival Rossini in Wildbad decided to revert to the first version – which is radically different from the revised score, one should add –, a world premiere since 1826, which was duly recorded (live, of course) and is now available to aficionados in that excellent interpretation, with a brilliant cast and a highly polished orchestra. A brand new Bellini, 190 years after it was written! © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released July 23, 2009 | Opera d'Oro

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Opera - Released September 19, 2014 | Warner Classics

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Opera - Released November 17, 1998 | Opera d'Oro

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Full Operas - Released February 1, 2015 | Myto Historical

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Classical - Released November 5, 2007 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique - Diapason d'or / Arte
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Classical - Released January 1, 1965 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Opera - Released June 5, 2012 | Opera Rara

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Classical - Released March 3, 2016 | Opera Rara

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Adelson e Salvini was Vincenzo Bellini's first opera, written in 1825 while he was still a student at the Naples Conservatory and performed there by an all-male cast. The work has had to be reassembled from several versions that were used at the time, and it has rarely been performed. Those who love Bellini will absolutely find adumbrations of the mature composer here, but the opera is a bit of an odd duck. It has spoken dialogue, for one thing, in the manner of a German Singspiel. Bellini handles several instrumental transitions elegantly, but is hampered by this structure. And the opera is essentially a comedy, although it doesn't have much of a comic groove. The story, in a libretto by Andrea Tottola, is a marginally coherent tale of an Irish nobleman, Adelson, who employs an Italian artist named Salvini, who has fallen in love with Adelson's fiancée. A minor character, the servant Bonifacio, speaks in Neapolitan dialect, for which the hefty booklet is a lifesaver. There are plenty of arias that sound like Rossini, but some that do not. Sample Nelly the fiancée's "Dopo l'oscuro nembo," beautifully sung by Daniela Barcellona, who heads a strong cast. The production feels like a labor of love for conductor Daniele Rustioni, who gets strong forward motion out of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Strong studio sound is another plus. Recommended for Bellini lovers. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Opera - Released January 1, 2007 | Opera Rara

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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Brilliant Classics