Bellini: Norma - Caballé, Vickers, Veasey, Ferrin; Patanè. Orange, 1974
Listen to a Sample:
The height of a great artists' powers is a precious thing and can seem all too short even if it lasts upwards of ten years. Even more exciting is when the stars align on a given night for a singer propelling them beyond the already stratospheric expectations set. Such was the case for Montserrat Caballé on the evening when this performance of Norma took place. Later in her life she would site it as one of her greatest performances. Listening to this performance, there can be no doubt why. I have never heard a singer who had the control over either ends of vocal extremes that Caballé did. She could alternate singing the most transparent piano with a fortissimo that would be the envy of any Wagnerian singer. Her excellence was certainly aided in no small part by her wonderful colleagues including the Pollione of Jon Vickers and the Adalgisa of Josephine Veasey. Vickers brings his signature power and intensity along with an unexpected knack for bel canto singing. Veasey was more known for Wagner, but nonetheless uses her lush mezzo-soprano to great effect. The sound is excellent.
NOTE: The opening of Act II is missing.