Vincenzo Bellini • Norma
Tragedia lirica in two acts
Debut performance of the new edition by Riccardo Minasi and Maurizio Biondi
Libretto by Felice Romani (1788-1865)
after Alexandre Soumet's (1788-1845) tragedy Norma
Intermission approx. 6:20 p.m.
End of performance approx. 8:00 p.m.
Print programme (PDF)
Cecilia Bartoli, Norma, druidess, daughter of Oroveso
Rebeca Olvera, Adalgisa, young priestess at the temple of Irminsul
John Osborn, Pollione, Roman proconsul in Gaul
Michele Pertusi, Oroveso, head of the Druids
Liliana Nikiteanu, Clotilde, Norma's confidante
Reinaldo Macias, Flavio, friend to Pollione
Orchestra La Scintilla at Zurich Opera
Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Lugano
Norma is surely one of the most well-known operas, but also one of the most misjudged. Our new approach is meant to show that this work – popular, but often received with very mixed reactions – is one of the central works of romantic music theatre. Here, “romantic” means not only the plot – so typical for the genre – featuring atmospheric settings like moonlit nights and forests, and the torn female title role redeemed in the fire of her death for love’s sake. The detailed treatment of the orchestral parts is also typical, and the rendition of the most subtle emotional nuances in the vocal lines – not with the untimely means of verismo, but historically informed, based on the great singing traditions of the past.
The heroic beauty of Bellini’s opera can be experienced thanks to a new, critical edition of the score, which restores innumerable annotations of the composer as well as sections that are traditionally cut. As never before, the work’s rich palette of colours will be made audible by the historical instruments of the Orchestra La Scintilla. And not least, the approximation towards the original vocality of Bellini’s opera at its first perfomance restores the balance between the main protagonists, making the tragic events of the story and their musical realisation plausible.