Sunday, October 18, 2009

Montserrat Caballe--First posted Mar. 26, 2009

In compiling this modest blogette, I often have trouble choosing just one (or sometimes two) YouTube clip(s) to feature, but it's rare I have to make a very difficult choice between two clips of the same aria, and even more rare, two clips of the same aria from the same year! But choose I did, and I give you Montserrat Caballe, whom I can't even begin to describe with my humble words, singing "Casta diva" from Sr. Bellini's tour de force Norma in 1974 at the Theatre Antique d'Orange in Aix En Provence. The wind cooperated quite beautifully with the performance, and it picks up quite noticeably in the cabaletta that follows.

The other 1974 Norma was at the Bolshoi in Moscow--also vocally amazing, and the ovation lasts forever before she raises her hand to stop the audience so that the show can go on. Chills. I hope you'll look up that clip as well.

The story? Your typical Hatfields and McCoys star-crossed lovers. Capulets and Montagues, Egyptians and Ethiopian slaves, American Naval officers and Japanese geisha girls, Druids and Romans--it's all the same. That's why it works so well. Oh, did I mention he betrays her by cavorting with her gal pal?

Here is the touching "Qual cor tradisti" from the same performance. Oh, and by the way, John Vickers is in this clip.

One more--the final scene from the same performance. I can't resist. It's simply amazing.

I'm tempted to post all the Caballe clips! The Orange performance is considered by afficionados and by Sra. Caballe herself to be her finest--some say the finest example of opera on video anywhere. One of those instances where everything worked together to make magic. It's available on DVD. If any of you love me, you might consider buying it for me.

I normally would cut and paste the Wikipedia bio-blurb, but frankly, I can't be bovvered. I want to go back to listening to YouTube clips!

No comments: