Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge Norma-phile. There is no better opera. Period. All you Wagner-philes can go find another blog to follow. I'm also a big fan of Carol Vaness, and I can't think why I've written so little about her here. But take a listen to this audio track of her singing "Casta diva" and you'll understand why I admire her singing so much.
What a gal! OK, so here's my personal Carol Vaness story: I was in Salzburg during the summer of 1988, at a summer program run by the University of Miami (which stubbornly never granted me a masters simply because I never finished all the work, but that's beside the point). Well, that summer Miss Vaness and dear Gösta Winbergh were singing Mr. Mozart's Clemenza di Tito at the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg. My friend and I foolishly accosted Miss Vaness and Delores Ziegler in the street as they were heading to the theater to prepare for the evening's performance to see if they could get us in. Ah, the innocence of youth! They took it in good spirits, though, and didn't resent it when we lied and got backstage after the performance, having bought last minute tickets, and sought their autographs. (I've written before about see Gösta in his undies when someone emerged from his dressing room, revealing him almost au naturel.)
Here she is singing an aria from Clemenza in a Chicago production the same year:
And in my other favorite opera, Anna Bolena. Although she never performed the role, she recorded the final act, of which this is the last part.