Friday, 13 May 2016

Vincenzo Bellini, Norma - Deutsche Oper Berlin

Concert performance 12th May

There are not many operas that cause so much fascination and also differ so much in their execution. How to cast Norma is a question that is always coming with a long discussion: Shall Norma be sung by a light coloratura voice or a heavier dramatic soprano that is still able to manage the runs and coloratura? Undoubtedly Edita Gruberová had great success in this role and so she came to Berlin to sing it two times at Deutsche Oper.
The Orchester der Deutschen Oper was conducted by Peter Valentovic with great refinement and elegant balance between dramatic outbreaks and lovely belcanto phrases.The dynamic range that he and the orchestra had was marvelous and included everything from the dramatic climax to the soft duets. The Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin also did a good job with a great range of dynamics and very appropriate phrasing. However some tenors should definitely keep their volume down, because they should not stick out of the ensemble too much.
In the smaller roles of Clotilde and Flavio we heard Rebecca Jo Loeb and Attilio Glaser who both gave solid performances and sang their roles very appropriately. Marko Mimica sang the role of Oroveso and gave the best vocal performance of the evening. His dark imperious voice was powerful and very balanced. His performance was not just solid, but really convincing and qualitative
Sonia Ganassi gave a good performance as Adalgisa. Her voice is strong and has a very warm timbre, but tends to get a bit unpleasantly in the upper register. I personally would wish for more eveness and balance between the different registers. However she gave a very good performance and is definitely able to sing the role appropriately.
Fabio Sartori as Pollione has a very powerful tenor voice with a relatively dark timbre. I sometimes wanted him to articulate more clearly and sing more focused. Alltogether he gave a very good and convincing performance but I had the feeling that he could do even better.
Finally, last but not least, Edita Gruberová sang the title role of Norma. Of course she does not sing with the same quality as 30 years ago but it truly is magnificent how intact her voice still is. My personal opinion is that her voice never really was made for Norma, but she pulled it off quite well. Casta diva and Mira, o Norma were both sung at least as well as other sopranos today would do it. Unfortunately the role demands more than that. Especially the lower parts of the role showed that she is past her prime and this performance was more about the legend factor than the musical quality. However, as I said, she still did better than many other current sopranos and it was a pleasure to hear her once more.
Alltogether it was a nice evening that might not have been perfect but definitely convinced with the legend factor of Gruberová. So I would give 7 stars to the performance.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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