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Bellini: Norma [Blu-ray] [Import]

Anna Steiger , Hasmik Papian , Misjel Vermeiren    NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 47.99
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2.0 out of 5 stars The drag of all times Dec 1 2013
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
I came to this Opera through sort of a back door. I was watching a documentary on Maria Callas. And several times he mentioned that she played Norma. Somehow I had overlooked this Opera so I thought I would catch up. This was the only version that was readily available I thought Norma is Norma is Norma.

I can see now that I made a small mistake. In general I don't like things that are in modern dress. But again I thought normal is Norma was Norma. I waited for them speak when they did I sort of wish they didn't. I have to confess I was using English subtitles. The production never got any better. It just drag on and on and on.

One day I hope to look at a different version and see what it is that Norma that makes it a classic as this version was the drag of all times.
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Amazon.com: 2.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Norma-----------NOT! Jan. 22 2007
By P. Byrne - Published on Amazon.com
Avoid this ridiculous "Concept" Norma at all costs, unless you want to plunk down nearly $40.00 for what is the most tired, trite staging of this magnificent opera I have ever seen. Don't the Euro-Trash directors have any new ideas? More of the same old 1950 period costumes with Norma making an entrance dressed like Norma Desmond with a turban and sunglasses, signing autographs for the Druid chorus.The stage business is completely ludicrous, and reduces the magnificent music to a meaningless side show.The cast all have beautiful voices and certainly deserve a better staging than this psuedo-arty nightmare..

Patrick C. Byrne
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not what I had expected but in the end - very good! Nov. 8 2008
By John Chandler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I was unprepared for the presentation and was initially irritated by the opening which brings ancient Rome backstage of a modern opera house. It all looked as if I was in for another of these modern and all too often pretentious productions. (I am generally a traditionalist and prefer to see what the composer would have had in mind). I had not done any home work and had not grasped what the producer was up to. The playing and singing is however exceptional and as the disc progressed I forgot my initial dislike and came to enjoy it more and more. This is an excellent disc, but go to the extras BEFORE you watch the opera. You will then avoid my mistake and be able to follow the production so much better. This is not the traditional Norma but neither is it the dreaded 'dinner suits on an empty stage'. The blend is quite skillful and once one accepts the revised plot the disc can be fully enjoyed. My initial reaction was to send it back, I will now keep it and expect to watch it many times. Get it, it is visually and sonically outstanding.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A terrible concept, yet again! Aug. 31 2008
By P. Byrne - Published on Amazon.com
This is that ridiculous Norma dvd from a couple of years ago, yet again. Changing the package, and the technology is not going to make it any better. Another "concept" on a masterpiece. This time we are backstage with the singers, making entrances and exits. None of it makes any sense. Norma makes her first entrance done up like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. What has that to do with anyting in the libretto? From there it is downhill. If the singing were great, maybe, but it isn't. Why bother. Get the Caballe Normas from Orange or Barcelona.Magnificent. When I first ordered this mess I played it several times to see if it had some redeeming factors. I sold it online for $10.00.

Patrick Byrne
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - spoiled by odd mish/mash of costuming Oct. 2 2009
By Mr. John A. Coulson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The mish mash of modern and traditional costuming in this opera is very distracting and spoiled enjoyment of the opera for me. Norma in priestess robe singing to a Roman soldier in a blue striped suit, idiotic and unecessary props like modern kitchen chairs and dressing tables with photos plastered on the mirror, all seem totally unecessary for the plot. One person has sarcastically labelled this all too common trend in modern opera productions as "Eurotrash". Much as I dislike the connotation, I must admit that it applies to this production. A shame because their is some beautiful singing from Hasmic Papian and Irini Tsirakidis although not all support roles were impressive. Another peculiarity, which I noted in a couple of other Blue Ray opera productions, was an uneveness in the volume of the voices at times plus a strange echo which appeared to be in the stage as it disappeared when the curtain dropped.
For once I looked at the "extras" before viewing the main event but they failed in preparing me for the odd approach to the opera with the Druits sometimes in casual modern dress but other times dressed up in the sort of religious garb appropriate for the context of the story. In summary, perplexing and confusing.
So, overall I cannot fully recommend this disc. Like the curates egg, it is bad in parts and sadly, there are too many of these.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning : This is NOT Bellini's Norma Dec 20 2006
By Chaconnesque - Published on Amazon.com
I wish Mr Rishoi would post his evaluation of this Norma here. I believe he said it was the worst production of Norma he had ever watched. I agree totally.

I almost went to Amsterdam to watch this production. I'm glad I did not. Instead of Bellini's great tragedy of sacrifice, forgiveness and reconciliation, we are treated to a story about two sopranos fighting for a tenor, and who happened to be singing Norma. So the story of Norma becomes relegated to become the backdrop for the real drama on-stage.

I would not pay to watch an opera about 3 singers who happened to sing in an opera which roughly reflected their 'real-life' situations. Neither would I have paid for this DVD.

I found the whole production so distracting that I could not listen to the music except by closing my eyes. But then Papian et al are nowhere near the likes of Callas, Sutherland, Caballe or even Scotto as Norma to merit such a listening.

I will not want to watch it again.

Stick to your Caballe DVD.
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