23 September 2016 at 3.22pm | 3 Comments
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The cinema relay will be presented by TV and radio broadcaster Clemency Burton-Hill.
Bellini’s opera is based on the verse tragedy of the same name by the French poet Alexandre Soumet. Norma is a priestess who falls in love with Pollione, the leader of the occupying force suppressing her people. After becoming mother to two children, Pollione’s love for Norma withers and he pursues a fellow priestess Adalgisa. Meanwhile, rebellion against the occupying force grows – will Norma wage war on Pollione?
This new production of Norma is The Royal Opera’s first in nearly thirty years. Àlex Ollé modernises Norma into a contemporary setting, creating a backdrop of a cruel civil war. Ollé focuses on the opera’s exploration of the conflict between an individual’s own desires and those of her society – and of religion as a force for unity and for destruction.
Norma is perhaps most acclaimed as a vehicle for the lead soprano, and indeed Bellini provides some astonishing vocal fireworks for his title character – most famously ‘Casta diva’, Norma’s Act I hymn to the chaste moon, and Act II’s ‘Dormono entrambi’, as she contemplates the unthinkable act of killing her children.
The opera also includes some breathtaking ensembles, most strikingly in Norma’s duets with Pollione and Adalgisa, the Act I trio ‘Vanne, sì: mi lascia, indegno’ and the blistering Act II finale.
Music Director of The Royal Opera House Antonio Pappano conducts an excellent cast including Bulgarian soprano, Sonya Yoncheva who performs the title role. Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja is her former lover Pollione and Italian mezzo-soprano Sonia Ganassi takes on the rival priestess, Adalgisa.
Antonio Pappano and Joseph Calleja joined director Àlex Ollé to discuss the new production in our Norma live-streamed Insights event.
After the relay on 26 September, we will publish a roundup of the audience tweets, so share your thoughts using the hashtag #ROHnorma.
The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 26 September 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.
The production is a co-production with Opéra national de Paris and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE and The Tsukanov Family Foundation.