MET Opera: Norma

Bellini’s masterpiece comes to Picturehouse cinemas live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York on Saturday 7 October

Norma is a fusion of sublime melody, vocal force, and dramatic power. It stands as an archetypal ‘bel canto’ opera, a style from the 18th and early 19th centuries and literally translates to ‘beautiful singing’ in Italian.  Written in 1831 by Sicilian composer Vincenzo Bellini the opera still tugs at emotional chords and delights audiences worldwide.

Sir David McVicar directs this new production where nature and ancient ritual rule. It tells the tale of a priestess compromising the loyalties to her oppressed people under the spell of love, only to be left at the bitter end of betrayal. Along with the drama of heartbreak, the unfolding relationship between Norma and the new object of her lover’s affection adds a gripping sub story as she sees both rival and reflection in the younger woman’s character.

The lead demands dramatic vocal power combined with the agility and technique of a coloratura singer which places American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky perfectly at the helm. Bellini’s masterpiece boasts one of the most famous arias in opera, the beautiful “Casta diva”, and Radvanovsky dazzlingly delivers.

American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato plays Norma’s nemesis Adalgisa alongside Joseph Calleja as Norma’s unfaithful lover, Pollione, and British favourite Matthew Rose returning to the Met as Norma’s father, Oroveso – a casting coup for bel canto fans.

Sung in Italian with English subtitles.

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