If we weep from emotion on hearing it, it's nothing to be ashamed of. That is what Richard Wagner said about Vincenzo Bellini's most famous opera, which he considered the most perfect example of a musical tragedy. And rightly so, because in Norma Italian Romanticism reached its pinnacle. This production, by up-and-coming American stage director Kevin Newbury, stresses the ritual aspects of the drama. In Roman-dominated Gaul, the high priestess Norma has broken her vow of chastity by entering a relationship with the Roman pro-consul Pollione and the birth of their two children has been kept secret. But when she discovers she has a rival, jealousy sets in. Norma is a classical heroine, passionate and revengeful, and her dilemma provides the starting point for the most successful work by the last and greatest composer of bel canto. Though the first performance was a failure, Norma went on to become an established favourite. It first came to the Liceu in 1847, not long after its official opening, and was, in fact, the third opera to be staged there.
Lyric tragedy in two acts. Libretto by Felice Romani based on the play by Alexandre Soumet. Music by Vincenzo Bellini. Premiered on 26 September 1831 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. First performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on 16 October 1847. Last staged at the Liceu on 30 July 2007.
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17 February 2014
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