Bellini: Norma - Souliotis, Cossotto, Limarilli, Vinco; Bartoletti. Roma, 1969
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Emerging on the heels of fellow country woman, Maria Callas, Elena Souliotis was doomed to comparison by the press. Hearing this recording decades removed from the spin, it is interesting to see where the similarities lay and where Souliotis establishes her own unique brand of greatness. In my opinion the voice is more beautiful than Callas' and the youth in her voice (she was after all still in her twenties when this recording was made) gives Norma an unexpected ingénue quality. That said, her Norma is far from some wilting lily and Souliotis is not afraid to color her voice, especially in her chest register, for maximum dramatic effect as opposed to for vocal beauty. Fiorenza Cossotto is an excellent foil to Souliotis as Adalgisa and here sounds closer to a soprano than a mezzo. Gastone Limarilli's voice, although powerful, is a little too limpid and the pitch sags throughout most of the evening. Ivo Vinco is a sturdy Oroveso and Bruno Bartoletti supports the singers admirably. The sound is good.