Happy Birthday Elena Souliotis (28 May 1943 – 4 December 2004)
Once hailed as the successor to Maria Callas, fellow Greek soprano Elena Souliotis' star shone all too briefly in the operatic firmament. Most famous for her interpretations of Bel Canto roles, such as Anna Bolena and Norma, it was as Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco that she was most famous. It's a commonly held theory that this was the role that ultimately shortened her career, her many performances of this and other equally demanding heroines placed incredible demands on her voice.
As much as I love the performance of Abigaille she recorded for EMI with Tito Gobbi, for me Souliotis' standout recording is of Bellini's Norma conducted by Silvio Varviso. Accompanied by Fiorenza Cossotto and Mario del Monaco, it's a heavy handed, rather unsubtle recording in most respects, but somewhat underrated.
Elena Souliotis however is gorgeous as Norma, she has a pathos to her that is absolutely endearing. Listen to her Casta Diva for an all too brief example and you will see what I mean.