Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Norma. It was last on stage 12 September—8 October 2016 as part of the Autumn 2016/17 season.
The priestess Norma loves Pollione, leader of the occupying force suppressing her people, and has borne two children by him. But Pollione’s love has withered, and he now loves Norma’s fellow priestess Adalgisa. Meanwhile, the people urgently look to Norma to lead their rebellion.
Read more… (Contains spoilers)
Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece Norma had its premiere at La Scala, Milan, on Boxing Day 1831. After a muted initial response the opera quickly became popular, and is now a mainstay of the repertory. 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. But the opera’s dramatic potency rests in its 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.
This new production of Norma is The Royal Opera’s first in nearly thirty years. Directing is Àlex Ollé, of the Catalan collective La Fura dels Baus, reunited with the creative team behind his acclaimed production of Oedipe. They give Norma a contemporary setting against a backdrop of a cruel civil war, and focus 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.
News and features
7 October 2016
Despite her considerable artistic achievements, writers and fans have long made links between the heroine of Bellini's opera and Callas' own tumultuous private life.
26 September 2016
Your thoughts on the live cinema relay of Àlex Ollé's new Royal Opera production.
26 September 2016
The stars of Àlex Ollé’s new production of the bel canto masterpiece share why it has earned its place among singers and audiences alike.
23 September 2016
Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts Sonya Yoncheva, Joseph Calleja and Sonia Ganassi in a new production directed by Àlex Ollé.
16 September 2016
Our one-stop guide to Bellini’s beautiful prayer for his title character, one of the best loved arias in the bel canto repertory.
A Norma trapped by society’s norms: the challenges of directing Bellini’s masterpiece in the 21st century16 September 2016
Director Àlex Ollé on why Norma is no stock character but a very human figure, whose doubts and problems have an entirely contemporary resonance.