Bellini: Norma - Callas, Stignani, Del Monaco, Modesti; Serafin. Roma, 1955
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The marketing of Maria Callas since her death has certainly done a lot to expose opera to new audiences. However it has comes at a cost to some extant in as much as at times the artist has been eclipsed by the personality. I was very happy to be able to reacquaint myself with her genius working on this recording. In 1955 her voice was still in very good shape and she sings with almost reckless abandon remarkable especially given the enormous vocal challenges of this role. Mario Del Monaco may not match her in sensitivity but in sheer power and vocal glamour he makes it clear why Norma would be so drawn to him. Ebe Stignani sings Adalgisa. Her voice was certainly not the most beautiful but she shows that she knows a thing or two about bel canto. Tullio Serafin's interpretation is chocked full of nuances that executed by a lesser conductor would seem self conscious and fussy but from him seem to speak organically from the music. The sound is very good.