In collaboration with Giovanni Antonini, Riccardo Minasi and Maurizio Biondi, Cecilia Bartoli restores the sound and spirit of Norma in a landmark Decca recording based on the operas original sources.
Cecilia Bartoli leads a fabulous cast in Deccas groundbreaking new recording, which presents Vincenzo Bellinis Norma in a form that is complete with the exquisite mix of vocal and instrumental colours that Bellini intended for his tragic opera. Sumi Jo, John Osborn and Michele Pertusi respectively illuminate the roles of Adalgisa, Pollione and Oroveso. The sounds of period instruments from the composers time, brought to life by Orchestra La Scintilla and conductor Giovanni Antonini, underpin and blend with the timbres of a cast carefully chosen to recreate the individual vocal qualities of the operas roles.
Cecilia Bartolis Norma evokes the style and artistry of the legendary soprano Giuditta Pasta, the operas original heroine. The Italian superstar here continues her mission to reveal lost details of expression and emotional variety in music covered by the dark varnish of later performance traditions. Norma, often portrayed as a superhuman priestess, emerges in Bartolis performance as a woman of flesh and blood, torn between duty and love.
Her interpretation was hailed by the Financial Times as a radical but convincing rethink of the part. Fonoforum wrote of the often moving and touching nature of Bartolis Norma, following her concert performance of the work in Dortmund in August 2010, while Die Zeit described the singers prayer-like account of the operas hit aria Casta Diva as great art, and also a provocation.
Deccas studio recording of Norma employs the latest critical edition of Bellinis score, painstakingly restored from manuscript and early printed sources.
Only in this way can we appreciate once more the true magic, the colour and emotion in this music, observes Cecilia Bartoli in a short essay included as part of the albums elegant hardback presentation. It was my wish, she continues, to bring Bellinis opera closer to the soundworld of the bel canto period.
Norma is set for release in May 2013 in time for the operas first staging in Salzburg as part of the city s annual Whitsun Festival. Cecilia Bartoli, in her second year as artistic director of the Whitsun Festival, will perform the title-role in company with John Osborn, Michele Pertusi, Orchestra La Scintilla and Giovanni Antonini (17 & 19 May). Moshe Leiser and Patrice Cauriers production will be revived in August during the Salzburg Festival, again with Bartoli as Norma.