Triumphant: “Norma” at the Met

It’s the fourth season, the Armenian soprano has joined the Metropolitan Opera. This time, it wasn’t the Ethiopian slave in Verdi’s opera “Aida” which she has interpreted to much acclaim at Lincoln Center so far; this time, it was the Druid priestress – the peak of Bel canto, “Norma”. Hasmik Papian sang the opening night of the revival of a production of John Copley, conducted by Maurizio Benini, on November 12, followed by three more performances on November 16, 19 and 23 – all of them to sensational acclaim from packed houses. The cast included Dolora Zajick as Adalgisa, Franco Farina as Pollione and Vitalij Kowaljow as Oroveso. Here are some praises from the press:

Priestess on a high note
The Armenian Hasmik Papian, singing her first Norma here, has an interesting voice, well-colored dramatically. She made as convincing a Norma as can be made of this Druid high priestess.
(The New York Post)

Ms. Papian is able to make clarion sounds and is comfortable singing high notes. She is also physically credible as a striking woman and mother.
(The New York Times)

In the final furious duet with Pollione gleaming metal furled from her throat, displaying a high register and command of it.
(Opera Today)

Hasmik Papian, a soprano from Armenia, did some admirable things in “Casta diva” – for example, a lovely diminuendo at the end. She gave an excellent demonstration of bel canto singing. And she ended the opera with a superb high B. Norma is a very hard role, and Ms. Papian acquitted herself with honor. In addition to which – for those who value this kind of thing – she looked beautiful. The Met’s current “Norma” is very much worth seeing, and appreciating.
(New York Sun)

Ms Papian has a good-sized, bright voice and a good sense of the role’s complexities. She has little trouble with high notes. And she’s attractive. The long final scene was enormously effective – mesmerizingly sad, beautifully sung.
(Classics Today)

Nella recita dello scorso lunedì, la protagonista del quartetto di cantanti è stata il soprano Hasmik Papian, ben nota per aver più volte interpretato il difficile ruolo della sacerdotessa e, dotata di una tecnica belcantistica, ha superato se stessa nella celebre cavatina della “Casta Diva” e nel trasmettere un accento elegiaco che sfocia nel canto di “Deh, non volerli vittime” del finale. Al suo fianco una Adalgisa per più versi esemplare come il mezzosoprano Dolora Zajick, una veterana di successo in questo ruolo, si è distinta per un espressivo fraseggio nel duetto “Mira o Norma”, in cui le voci delle due eroine, si fondano con accurati accenti.
(America oggi)

Also look at the “Review”-page for two longer reviews – stating, among others: “one of the most exciting and excellent performances of an opera I have heard… This is an essential listen for anyone who wants to hear what a great bel canto opera should sound like!”