From the YouTube Music Archives XI: Maria Callas Sings Selections from Norma

I’m going down to Portland tonight to see Brenda Harris perform in a production of Bellini’s most famous work, so I thought I would post some video clips of her in the role. She’s had some recent success with her performances of the ancient British queen. Unfortunately, there aren’t any on line. There’s plenty of Callas though, including this performance of Casta Diva, recorded at a concert performance in 1958. Here also is Ah bello a me ritorna from the same concert. From a 1952 performance at Covent Garden, here are two duets with Ebe Stignani, Mira, O Norma, and Oh, rimembranza!. There’s a different version of Mira O Norma with Giulietta Simionato, slower and I would say better. There’s also Oh! Di qual sei tu vittima by Callas, del Monaco and Simionato which brought down La Scala in 1955. And just because it’s one of my favorites, here is Compagne, Teneri Amici Come Per Me Sereno… from Bellini’s much too seldom performed La Sonnambula.

And as a special bounus, here is a quasi-interview with Callas after she created a scandal by walking out on a performance of Norma after the first act.


  1. Cool! how was the show? Nothing compared to callas I’d think…

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    Nothing compared to Callas, but then I’m still in the infatuation phase with la prima diva, so it’s a little unfair to make comparisons. Quite honestly, I didn’t think Brenda Harris was good as she’d been hyped – a little trouble with some of the notes, and I thought I heard her begin to really lose it before she backed off from high notes on a couple of occasions. It’s been a couple of months since I saw it though, and I’m certainly no expert on voice. A fine actress, I should add. And of course the role is perhaps the most demanding one ever written, and according to this review she was just great, and under difficult circumstances as well. They probably know better.

    I really liked Elizabeth Bishop as Adalgisa. And I wish I could have seen her in this, directed by William Friedkin! Creepy!

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