Casta Diva is one of the most famous soprano arias of the nineteenth century. It is in act 1 of Norma, a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani. Here are the Renée Fleming and Maria Callas versions of Casta Diva.
Renée Fleming version
Renée Fleming (born February 14, 1959) is an American soprano whose repertoire encompasses Richard Strauss, Mozart, Handel, bel canto, lieder, French opera and chansons, jazz, and indie rock.
Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice. She has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian.
Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka, the title role in Massenet’s Manon, the title role in Massenet’s Thaïs, the title role in Richard Strauss’s Arabella, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.
A National Medal of Arts and Richard Tucker Award winner, she regularly performs in opera houses and concert halls worldwide. In 2008 she was awarded the Swedish Polar Music Prize for her services in music. She serves as Creative Consultant for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Conductor Sir Georg Solti said of Fleming, “In my long life, I have met maybe two sopranos with this quality of singing; the other was Renata Tebaldi”.
A four-time Grammy winner, Renée won the 2013 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy Award for Poèmes (Decca, 2012), a collection of 20th-Century French music, including works composed especially for her by Henri Dutilleux.
Her current CD Guilty Pleasures was released by Decca last fall. In June 2010, Decca and Mercury records released the CD Dark Hope, which features Renée covering songs by indie-rock and pop artists. Her most recent opera DVDs are Strauss’s Ariadne
Ms. Fleming’s 2010 DVD Renée Fleming & Dmitri Hvorostovsky: A Musical Odyssey in St. Petersburg follows Renée and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky to Russia, where they explore and perform in some of St. Petersburg’s most historic locations. In recent years, this fourteen-time Grammy-nominated artist has recorded everything from Strauss’s complete Daphne to the jazz album Haunted Heart to the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
She recorded Alexandre Desplat’s theme song, “Still Dream” for the soundtrack of the Dreamworks Animation feature, Rise of the Guardians. Her recording honors range from the 2009 Echo Award for Strauss’s Four Last Songs to the Prix Maria Callas Orphée d’Or by the Académie du Disque Lyric for TDK’s DVD production of Capriccio. In February 2012, Renée received the Victoire d’Honneur, the highest award conveyed by the French Victoires de la Musique.
Maria Callas version
Maria Callas (December 2, 1923 – September 16, 1977), was an American soprano of Greek origin. She was one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice, and dramatic gifts. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini,
Casta Diva Italian Lyrics
Casta Diva, che inargenti
queste sacre antiche piante,
a noi volgi il bel sembiante
senza nube e senza vel…
Tempra, o Diva,
tempra tu de’ cori ardenti
tempra ancora lo zelo audace,
spargi in terra quella pace
che regnar tu fai nel ciel…
Pure Goddess, whose silver covers
These sacred ancient plants,
we turn to your lovely face
unclouded and without veil…
Temper, oh Goddess,
the hardening of your ardent spirits
temper your bold zeal,
Scatter peace across the earth
Thou make reign in the sky…
- Norma (Bellini) on Wikipedia
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