Magazine article Opera Canada

Norma

Magazine article Opera Canada

Norma

Article excerpt

BELLINI

SUTHERLAND, TROYANOS, ORTIZ, DIAZ, GINZER SHUST, ORCHESTRA AND Chorus of the Canadian Opera Company, Richard Bonynge, conductor. Video Artists International VHS Hi-Fi 69411.***

IT WAS INTERESTING TO VIEW THIS NEW VIDEO OF THE COC's 1981 production of Bellini's Norma with the 1998 season opener still fresh in mind. The staging styles couldn't be more different. This video is vintage Lofti Mansouri, at the time artistic director of the COC, which means picturely grands tableaux, the chorus and supernumeries marshalled with a precision that, ironically, undermines the realism. And while the costumes in the most recent production were appropriately dirty around the hems, everything in the video, in spite of very gloomy sets, looks as if it's just come off a very theatrical Paris runway.

Never mind. There's singing of a high order here, signalled right from the beginning in the firm-toned Oroveso of Justino Diaz. The big interest in this production was the Norma of Dame Joan Sutherland, who, despite a rather uncommitted (and, thanks to Richard Bonynge's conducting, rather speedy) "Casta Diva," does not in the end disappoint. …

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