Lyric Opera - Norma

NEW-TO-CHICAGO PRODUCTION

NORMA

by Vincenzo Bellini
JANUARY 28 – FEBRUARY 24
Performed in Italian with projected English translations
Performance running time: 3 hours 5 minutes including 1 intermission



Norma Opera Overview


If you’re drawn to vocal acrobatics, Bellini’s Druid priestess Norma will thrill and astonish you. The absolute pinnacle for any prima donna with the technical prowess, sumptuous voice, and dramatic fire to master its perilous challenges, Norma stands as a crowning jewel of the bel canto repertoire. This timeless story of love betrayed runs the gamut of emotions from loyalty and passion to jealousy, revenge, and redemption. You’ll hear melodies ranging from the stunningly serene “Casta diva” to the frenzy of vocal fireworks that pour forth as Norma’s rage overflows. Don’t miss world-acclaimed soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in this dazzling masterwork!


 
Coproduction by Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Gran Teatre del Liceu.

PRODUCTION SPONSORS 
JULIE AND
ROGER BASKES
EARL AND BRENDA SHAPIRO
FOUNDATION
ESTATE OF
VENRICE R. PALMER
 


Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera




#LyricNorma

Norma Opera Resources



Synopsis

In ancient Gaul, the Druids have been invaded by the forces of Rome.  Despite her hatred for Rome, the Druid high priestess Norma breaks her vows by falling in love with Pollione, the Roman proconsul, and bearing him two children. He abandons Norma in favor of a young priestess, Adalgisa. The guilt-ridden girl confides in Norma, who is sympathetic until she learns that it is Pollione whom Adalgisa loves. Norma castigates her lover for his betrayal. Out of revenge, she plans to kill their children, but cannot bring herself to do it. Adalgisa attempts to persuade Pollione to return to Norma, but he refuses. He tries to abduct Adalgisa, but the Druids capture him and bring him to Norma for punishment. When she confesses to the Druids that she has broken her vows and must die, Pollione understands her nobility of heart and chooses to die with her.




View Program


 
Norma

Audio Highlights

Vincenzo Bellini

Recording by EMI – Callas, Ludwig, Corelli, cond. Serafin. Courtesy Warner Classics.

"Casta diva"


"Vieni in Roma"




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Musical excerpts for Norma provided by through generous arrangement with Warner Classics, Official Education and Promotion Music Provider for Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Norma Synopsis



 
SETTING:

TIME: 50 BCE

PLACE: Gaul, during the Roman occupation

The opera will be performed with one intermission.




ACT ONE

Scene 1. Near a forest at night, the priest Oroveso leads the Druids in a prayer for revenge against the conquering Romans. After they have left, the Roman proconsul Pollione admits to his friend Flavio that he no longer loves the high priestess Norma, Oroveso’s daughter, with whom he has two children. He has fallen in love with a young novice priestess, Adalgisa, who returns his love.

The Druids assemble, and Norma prays to the moon goddess for peace. She tells her people that as soon as the moment for their uprising against the conquerors arrives, she herself will lead the revolt. At the same time, she realizes that she could never harm Pollione.

When the grove is deserted, Adalgisa appears and asks for strength to resist Pollione, who finds her crying and urges her to flee with him to Rome.


Scene 2. Norma tells her confidante Clotilde that Pollione has been recalled to Rome. She is afraid that he will desert her and their children. Adalgisa confesses to Norma that she has a lover. Recalling the beginning of her own love affair, Norma is about to release Adalgisa from her vows and asks for the name of her lover. As Pollione appears, Adalgisa answers truthfully. Norma’s kindness turns to fury. She tells Adalgisa about her own betrayal by the Roman soldier. Pollione confesses his love for Adalgisa and asks her again to come away with him, but she refuses and vows she would rather die than steal him from Norma.


ACT TWO

Scene 1. Norma tries to bring herself to murder her children in their sleep to protect them from living in disgrace without a father. She changes her mind and summons Adalgisa, advising her to marry Pollione and take the children to Rome. Adalgisa refuses: she will go to Pollione, but only to persuade him to return to Norma and the women reaffirm their friendship.

Scene 2. Oroveso announces that a new commander will replace Pollione and tells the Druids that they must be patient to ensure the success of the eventual revolt.

Scene 3. Norma is stunned to hear from Clotilde that Adalgisa’s pleas have not persuaded Pollione. In a rage, the high priestess urges her people to attack the conquerors. Oroveso demands a sacrificial victim and Pollione is brought in. Alone with him, Norma promises him his freedom if he will leave Adalgisa and return to her. When he refuses, Norma threatens to kill him and their children. She tells the Druids that a guilty priestess must die, referring to herself. Moved by her nobility, Pollione asks to share her fate. Norma begs Oroveso to watch over her children and prepares to die with her lover. Reprinted courtesy of San Francisco Opera.
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