<< -- 4 -- Roderic Dunnett VERGING ON LONDON STANDARDS
Bellini's Scene 2 prelude is exquisite, though the initial cello tone
and overall balances weren't as fine as the descending clarinet and gentle
violins accompanying the pure-looking Norma upon her arrival. The small
role of Clotilde, the trusted confidante, is important (and operatically
forward-looking) in establishing pathos : Annalise Whittlesea proved a marked
asset. What follows is Adalgisa's (mezzo Andrea Baker, one of Dorset's best
dramatic, as well as vocal, leads) unwitting admission of her infatuation
with Pollione (who can blame her? Itaborahy certainly has the Latinate looks)
and some glorious passages of duet, interspersed by hushed cellos and harp.
A complete duet scena, in fact : for Bellini has both the Verdian
gift for carving out dramatic head-to-heads and the Mascagni-Puccini gift
of all but mimicking Neapolitan song. A heady mix.
Andrea Baker: an impressive Adalgisa in the Dorset Opera 2002 production of 'Norma'. Photo : Ikon Studios, Sherborne
Copyright © 1 December 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK