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<<  -- 4 --  Roderic Dunnett    VERGING ON LONDON STANDARDS

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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
Andrea Baker: an impressive Adalgisa in the Dorset Opera 2002 production of 'Norma'. Photo : Ikon Studios, Sherborne

 

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Copyright © 1 December 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

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