Monday, 6 January 2014

Pavarotti, Sutherland, Bellini


In my mid teens I listened through several of the operas of Vincenzo Bellini - which were rather riding high in reputation at that time.

I have never seen any Bellini operas live, nor have I listened all through to any of them again - so I don't really know how they stand-up.

But Bellini wrote some of the most glorious arias ever for a truly great singer in the Bel Canto style, who can sustain the long, fluid melodic line; and can 'rise' to the wonderfully well-prepared high notes.

In this aria from I Puritani, Pavarotti unleashes one of the most thrilling tenor high notes captured on vinyl - a C-sharp. It works best if you listen to the whole thing, and certainly the second verse run-in - but the actual note comes about 2.45:

Probably Bellini's best known aria is Casta Diva from Norma which is a big favourite among the best dramatic sopranos - here is a version from the best of the best:


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