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BWW Reviews: Singers Brighten the Otherwise Dull NORMA

Bellini's "Norma" opened at the Metropolitan Opera last Monday night to a full audience giving resounding praise to the leading lady, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Ms. Radvanovsky's performance of the title role was incredibly expressive and most articulately nuanced. Her inaugural American performance of the role was the driving force that kept John Copley's otherwise dull production moving forward. Having been the first time she has sung bel canto at this house, she performed with amazing elegance, drawing the audience to her voice with seductive pianissimos and trumpeting top notes.

Ms. Radvonovsky's vocal abilities were matched by the performance she portrayed of Norma, the high priestess who's worst fears become true right before her eyes. Ravaged by the fact that Pollione would forsake his vows to her and their two sons for a lower priestess named Adalgisa, Norma's kindness toward Adalgisa turns to extreme fury in a blink of an eye. This passionate portrayal, again, is what kept the production alive.

Adalgisa, played by mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich, was a strong performance as well for her house role debut. Her strongest moments of the night were during the her duos with Ms. Radvanovsky. The ladies vocal tones played beautifully off one another to create rich vocal moments onstage.

Tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko sang Pollione with great conviction and tenor beauty while James Morris played the regal Oroveso with exceptional weight and vigor.

The orchestra, under the direction of Riccardo Frizza performed an exceptional rendition of Bellini's music. Both overture's were a delight to listen to as a lead into each act.

While not visually as compelling as other productions at the Met, this production is sure to provide stunning musical performances by all involved. "Norma" continues this evening and runs through November 1 at the Metropolitan Opera House.


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From This Author Scott Frost

Scott Frost is a Production and Stage Manager and a Freelance Costume Designer. In addition to being a theatrical manager and designer he currently works (read more...)