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Performances have been cancelled.
For further info please read the press release.
Vincenzo Bellini -
Norma
Opera tragedy in two acts
Libretto by Felice Romani
Conductor Bruno Campanella
Director Walter Pagliaro
Set and Costumes Designer Alberto Verso
Chorus Master Paolo Vero
Assistant Director Daniela Schiavone
Lights Designer Bruno Ciulli


Teatro Massimo Orchestra and Chorus

New coproduction with Catania Teatro Massimo Bellini




Cast

Pollione Carlo Ventre
Renzo Zulian
Oroveso Riccardo Zanellato
Michail Ryssov
Norma Dimitra Theodossiou
Adrienne Dugger
Adalgisa Daniela Barcellona
Nidia Palacios
Clotilde Pinuccia Passarello
Carmen Ghegghi
Flavio Giuseppe Caltagirone



Timetable

Sunday 2 April 8.30 pm PREMIERE
Tuesday 4 April 6.30 pm E - CANCELLED
Wednesday 5 April 6.30 pm B - CANCELLED
Thursday 6 April 6.30 pm S/1 - CANCELLED
Saturday 8 April 8.30 pm CANCELLED
Sunday 9 April 5.30 pm D - CANCELLED
Tuesday 11 April 6.30 pm C - CANCELLED
Wednesday 12 April 6.30 pm S/3 - CANCELLED
Thursday 13 April 8.30 pm F - CANCELLED




Pictures
(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Pictures of  Norma
Norma, Adalgisa and
Pollione

Norma, Adalgisa and Pollione

Norma, Clotlde and
Norma's children


Pollione and Flavio

Norma

Norma, Oroveso and Pollione

Ensemble

Ensemble

Ensemble

Norma, Clotlde and
Norma's children

Norma

Norma

Pictures Franco Lannino ©Studio Camera


Synopsis

Act I

Deep in a forest, the Druids gather at the altar of their god, Irminsul, where their priest, Oroveso, leads them in a prayer for revenge against the conquering Romans. When they have left, the Roman procounsul, Pollione, confesses to his aide that he no longer loves the high priestess Norma, Oroveso’s daughter, but has fallen in love with a young novice priestess, Adalgisa. They leave as the Druids assemble and Norma prays to the moon goddess for peace. After the Druids disperse, Adalgisa arrives to pray for strength to resist Pollione, but when he appears he persuades her to flee with him to Rome the next day. In her hidden retreat, Norma tells her confidante, Clotilde, that she fears Pollione may desert her and her two children for a woman whose identity she does not know. The children are led away as Adalgisa enters to confess she has a lover. Recalling her own weakness, Norma is about to absolve Adalgisa from her vows, but this kindness turns to fury when Pollione appears and Norma learns he is Adalgisa’s suitor. Though Pollione would still flee with her, Adalgisa vows she would now rather die than steal him from Norma.

Act II

That night, dagger in hand, Norma tries to bring herself to murder her children in their sleep to keep them from Pollione. But she cannot, instead summoning Adalgisa to take them to him. The girl refuses, pleading with the despairing mother to pity her children. Norma embraces Adalgisa, overcome by her offer to go to Pollione and plead for Norma. The Druids assemble at their altar to hear Oroveso’s announcement that Pollione is being replaced by a crueler commander. He rages at Rome’s hateful bondage but counsels submission for the moment, so as to make the eventual revolt more certain of success. At the temple, Norma is stunned to hear from Clotilde that Adalgisa’s entreaties to Pollione have been in vain, and in a fury she urges the people to wage war on their conquerors. Oroveso demands a sacrificial victim, and just then Pollione is dragged in, having profaned the sanctuary. Alone with him, Norma promises him his freedom if he will renounce Adalgisa and return to her. When he refuses, Norma calls in the Druids and confesses her guilt. Moved by her nobility, Pollione insists on sharing her fate. After begging Orveso to watch over her children, Norma leads her lover to the pyre while the crowd prays.




Notes

The famous scene and cavatina from Norma opens up for the listener a new invention in drammatical vocality that is pure Bellini. Everything is scored with great care right down to the last accent, and during the scene the priestess demonstrates the same “encyclopedism” of the senses that Bellini required from his own diva, Giuditta Pasta.  The dramatic opening recitative, the sacral poetry of La Casta Diva., not bereft of occasional glimpses of the priestess lover’s passionate ambiguity in the rising up of the high passages, reveals in the woman a libidic timbre which never subsides, yet is extraneous to the charm.

Finally, the agile dramatic vocality of the plot, based, with modifications, on Bianca e Fernando, transforms the Rossini-like portions of the first version to veer towards a change in emphasis in the theatrical set-up of the “a parte”. The coloratura at this point expresses, in the descending chromatic run, something that is possibly tenderness, in a lover who is, moreover, imperious, and subsequently exalts in quadruplets of high semiquavers to express a joyous memory of love. A reprise in the style of Rossini which fits in with the nature of the character: Like Isabella, Elisabetta or Rosina herself, Norma is doesn’t show the romantic characteristic of the victim, it is an antithetical nature, in a larmoyant style. Her thoughts dominate events and are imposed on those close to her. We witness, so far,  in most nineteenth century theatrical history, that much care is taken in the re-working of aspects that came before, but with the Casta diva it appears we have an inventive original example of rhetoric vocality. This is the idea of the progression, of the diastematic scales, as Lippman describes it, a progression in stages of melodic development towards the top, a characteristic rhetoric form of the cavatina and finale of the opera, destined for great things to come. To find correct expression in the language of passion is obviously an aspect which the composer of dramatic works wishes to achieve. But examples of premeditated inquiry like this of Bellini were hitherto unknown in operatic history. The problem was to present passionate cathartic revelations within the construction of the melodic palette; the birth, the springing-up, the becoming, the affirmation, and, at last, the resolving of tensions, see to it that the music represents the original gesture of the libido, the feature which after all was the cause of new life in this world. The term “philosophic”, which is how critics describe the music of Bellini, intends in this way only to emphasis that it couldn’t be described by solely the word hedonism, it went much deeper than that.                                                                                                              

Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi
(from Vincenzo Bellini, Sellerio, Palermo 2001, pp. 112-114)