5 – 9 August 2016
Cecilia Bartoli sang 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, it 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 featured one of the most famous arias in all opera – the prayer to the moon goddess ‘Casta diva’. Bartoli performed the role as Bellini originally envisioned it 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. I Barocchisti will be playing on authentic instruments from the 19th century.
Opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835). Performance of the new critical edition by Maurizio Biondi and Riccardo Minasi
Libretto by Felice Romani (1788–1865) based on the tragedy Norma ou L’Infanticide (1831) by Alexandre Soumet (1788–1845).
A Salzburg Festival production in association with U-Live/Universal Music Arts and Entertainment, London
Cecilia Bartoli Norma
Rebeca Olvera Adalgisa
John Osborn Pollione
Péter Kálmán Oroveso
Liliana Nikiteanu Clotilde
Reinaldo Macias Flavio
Gianluca Capuano Conductor
Moshe Leiser, Patrice Caurier Directors
Swiss Radio and Television Chorus, Lugano
A Salzburg Festival production in association with U-Live/Universal Music Arts and Entertainment
The New York Times April 14th 2016
The Telegraph August 6th 2016
Cecilia Bartoli’s Norma is a furious triumph ★★★★
She conveyed Norma’s confusion and fragility as well as her superb fury, and she made the immortal Casta Diva aria tremulous with suppressed emotion
Read the full review by Ivan Hewett
The Herald August 7th 2016
Rebeca Olvera’s Adalgisa is a gorgeous portrayal of corrupted innocence
The Sunday Times August 14th 2016
What a great marketing trick, THIS is the real Norma because they’re “restoring originally intended vocal colours”. Not having any recordings of Bellini’s premiere means we can’t know what the originally intended vocal colours were and the earliest recordings we have of 19th century singers sound nothing like madame Bartoli. So please, cut the crap and just say it’s Bartoli’s Norma. Using 19th century instruments however is an interesting concept.