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The opera from the famous Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani, is quite rightly regarded as one of the best loved tragedies of the classical world.
First performed at Milan's La Scala in 1831, it was brought to an even wider European audience by the composer and director Richard Wagner.
Famous for one of the most demanding title roles in the whole history of opera, the piece is often seen as a career making production for the greatest vocalists in the whole of opera.


The story is set in ancient Gaul around 50 BC and tells of the struggles of the ancient druids and the newly invading Roman forces. The opera focuses on the troubled love triangle between the title character, the Roman consul father of her children Pollione and his new paramour Adalgisa.
The story brings forth the tensions of romantic pain and tragedy and features emotional content of stirring beauty. Making use of just two acts instead of the more common three, the opera is a stunning testament to timeless themes of tragedy and confusion.

Act 1

In the grove of the druids the chief Oriviso leads his followers to pray for victory in the conflict with the Romans. The secret father of the central character's children, Pollione appears with his companion Flavio. Pollione tells her that he no longer loves her, and has instead fallen for the priestess Adalgisa. Anger and resentment fill the stage before Pollione reappears alongside Adalgisa and begs her to leave Gaul with him for his home city of Rome. Later Adalgisa tells Norma of her love for Pollione. The heroine cries a bitter song of betrayal.

Act 2

The title character considers killing her children as recompense for their father's betrayal, but it is held back by a pure love for them. Instead she asks Adalgisa to take them to Rome with their father. Adalgisa however, renounces her feelings for Pollione and pleads with him to stay in Gaul. She fails in this attempt however, and soon the call to war is issued by the druids. Around this time Pollione is captured, having entered the druid's temple in an effort to kidnap Adalsisa. Unable to stand the thought of being a witness to his sacrifice, Norma instead offers herself. Naming herself as the perfect sacrificial victim - as a high-priestess who has broken her vows - she leaps into the temple flames. Pollione, realising his love for her once more, follows her and also jumps into the fire.


Norma, daughter of Oroveso, High-priestess of the Druids, soprano
Adalgisa, priestess in the grove of the Irminsul statue, soprano/mezzo soprano
Pollione, Roman proconsul in Gaul, tenor
Oroveso, chief of the Druids, bass
Clotilde, druid friend, soprano
Flavio, Pollione's companion, tenor

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Norma | 5 Performances

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