Italian-born Cecilia Bartoli will sing the title role in a powerful, passionate production of Bellini’s searing opera masterpiece on love, betrayal and revenge. Since its unveiling at the 2013 Salzburg Whitsun Festival, the production has been acclaimed throughout Europe, winning that year’s International Opera Award for best new production.
Eminent directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier have set Bellini and librettist Felice Romani’s tragic tale of ancient druids rebelling against Roman occupation in more modern times – Second World War France, where the French Resistance struggles against its Nazi oppressors. Bartoli’s Norma is torn between loyalty towards her community and her illicit love for Pollione, chief of the occupying forces (and the father of Norma’s two children), who has diverted his affections to the younger Adalgisa.
The iconic role of Norma features one of the most famous arias in all opera – the prayer to the moon goddess ‘Casta diva’. Bartoli will perform the role as originally envisioned by Bellini thanks to a newly prepared critical edition that restores the originally intended vocal colours.
‘Only in this way can we appreciate once more the true magic, the colour and emotion in this music,’ Bartoli has explained. ‘It was my wish to bring Bellini’s opera closer to the sound world of the bel canto period.’
Cecilia Bartoli is one of the world’s finest and most sought-after singers, celebrated internationally for her astonishingly versatile voice and her searching, enormously expressive interpretations. She is joined by a superb cast including US tenor John Osborn as Pollione and Mexican-born soprano Rebeca Olvera as Adalgisa, alongside Péter Kálmán, Liliana Nikiteanu and Reinaldo Macias. Respected conductor Diego Fasolis will conduct his ensemble I Barocchisti, playing on authentic instruments from the 19th century.
Three performances – of approximately 3 hours – will take place 5th, 7th and 9th August at 7:15pm
Ticketing and other information is available on the Festival Theatre website