Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Casta Diva

Playing on the iPod is the lovely Casta Diva from Bellini's Norma, superbly performed by Cecilia Bartoli.

Vincenzo Bellini's Norma is the quintessential Bel Canto opera. Few arias compare to "Casta Diva" and its eloquent, meandering melodic line lightly decorated with ornamental fioritura, a simultaneous evocation of the chaste and the erotic.

The opera offers its heroine a role that is both strong and sympathetic with moments of extreme pathos. It demands a capable dramatic soprano with great agility and firm technique who is able to expressively declaim and convey the meaning of Romani's painstakingly selected phrases. Bellini's Norma combines the requirements of both a coloratura and a dramatic soprano, calling for not only perfect vocal agility but intensity, stamina, and a wide range of characterizations as well. Since the opera's premiere in 1831, there have been only a handful of Normas who have truly captured every aspect of this all-encompassing role.

Maria Callas adopted Norma as her
signature role and she sang it over 40 times. Between 1948-1965, she was the reigning interpreter of this taxing part.

You can watch Callas perform this aria in a recording made in Paris in 1958.

1 comment:

Rauf said...

I have not gone anywhere beyond Sarah Brightman Claudia.