Opening its sixteenth season in Westchester, Taconic Opera will debut Bellini’s famous masterpiece, Norma, in Yorktown and White Plains. No other opera has received as much attention and acclaim as the story of the Druid princess. The title role has been sung by almost every famous soprano in the world during the past 180 years. Perhaps none have made the role more famous than Maria Callas, who performed the role eighty-nine times on stage, in addition to her seminal recordings.

“Every opera lover has an opinion about Norma. Callas has a cult following as do many others who have portrayed the great heroine,” says Dan Montez, General Director of Taconic Opera. “All you have to do is go to Amazon.com and read the comments from the recent release of Cecilia Bartoli’s Norma, and you will find hundreds of intellectually vitriolic reactions to the recording. These strong opinions make opera companies want to shy away from performing the work, but we won’t.”

In an unusual turn, the company will feature only one cast in both locations. Starring in the lead role is a soprano whom Dan Montez describes as “one of the best sopranos in the world.” Francesca Mondanaro, now singing leading roles in top opera houses, returns to sing this role after making her debuts with Taconic Opera in Macbeth and Nabucco.” This is what musicalcriticism.com has to say about her: “[Mondanaro’s] could well be the best interpretation of Abigaille I have ever heard live or on record, one that compares favorably with Maria Callas’s and Marisa Galvany’s, to name two….Mondanaro’s voice conjures up shades of a kind of Verdi soprano that has seemingly all but vanished. The voice itself is unforgettable – voluminous, lush, and beautiful, with a contralto-like darkness and an attractive vibrato. Chest notes were powerful and incisive, and the role’s perilous leaps were nailed without the smallest hesitancy or misstep in intonation. The voice sliced cleanly through the most voluminous ensembles like a hot knife through butter.”

Tickets to the event can be obtained online atwww.taconicopera.org or by calling their toll-free number at 1-855-88-OPERA (6-7372). Prices are posted on the website, with generous reductions for seniors and students. Performances will be held at the Yorktown Stage, 1974 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights, NY on Sunday, October 20 at 2:00 pm, and in White Plains, NY at the theater at Archbishop Stepinac High School on Saturday, October 26, at 7:30 pm.

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