Over the past century there have been many recordings of Norma, not all of them memorable, and in the early months of 2013 they were joined by yet another with the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the title role. This recording seeks to produce a Norma as it would have sounded when it was new so before it can be discussed, let us attempt to turn the clock back to the mid-19th Century.
In the mid-19th Century we encounter a totally different operatic world to the one we know today. Even though Bellini’s life was tragically cut short when he was only 34, he was not a prolific composer. He only composed 10 operas whereas in the same time span Pacini composed almost 20 and Donizetti composed coming up to 30. Every year operas were churned out at an astonishing rate and an opera that last twenty years was a rarity. In 1845, 11 years after Bellini’s death, the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung’s Italian correspondent noted that in the previous 8 years, 342 new operas had been staged in Italy alone and 130 new composers (Verdi included) had made their debut.
Link: http://www.operavivra.com/articles/revi ... a-bartoli/