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Coming from one of the most prolific Italian opera composers of the 19th century, Vincenzo Bellini, Norma is amongst some of the most influential operas that came out around that time. Hailing from Catania in Sicily, Vincenzo's greatest works include La sonnambula, Beatrice di Tenda, and I puritani, apart from Norma. Norma made its world premiere with an original production at the La Scala back on in September 1831. Later in the 20th century, the opera started gaining major attention in different parts of the world. Various productions of the opera made way as the time went by and the popularity of the opera grew larger. Even today, many years after its original run, the opera is still watched and equally enjoyed by the patrons all over the world. Keeping in sight the popularity of the opera, it comes for yet another run this time around in a theatre near you. So grab your Norma tickets and catch Vincenzo's one of the most prized works with your very own eyes.
Vincenzo was born a child prodigy in a family full of musicians. He started taking music seriously back when he was just two years of age and was already learning music theory. Later on he started learning piano by the age three and by the time he turned five he could play the instrument pretty well. In 1819, he left his hometown to study at the conservatory in Naples. His very first opera was called Adelson e Salvini which made its premiere at the Theatre at Conservatory. He gained mediocre amount of success following the premiere of his next opera called Bianca e Germando which was staged at the Teatro San Carlo. That success led to him getting a commission by impresario Barbaia for an opera to be stage at Le Scala. That was the time when Bellini came up with II pirata which turned out to be a sudden success. This also kicked off his long lasting collaboration with librettist Felice Romani with whom he also worked on Norma. Romani wrote the libretto for Norma while it was based on Alexandre Soumet's Norma, or the Infanticide.
The lead character, Norma, requires the soprano voice type. The original production of the opera featured Giuditta Pasta as Norma, while the opera was conducted by Alessandro Rolla. Over the course of 20th century, the role of Norma has been played by numerous actresses, who brought their own strengths and weaknesses to the role. Some of the actresses who were praised for their portrayal of Norma include Rosa Ponselle, Raisa and Claudia Muzio. Following the world war, Maria Callas is considered to be the most famous Norma of all times.
Bellini's Norma is a masterpiece that brings a great vocal challenge to the leading lady of the opera, whoever she may be. For the opera's New York production, Sondra Radvanovsky takes up the challenge of being the leading soprano of the opera, and also does justice to the role along with it.
The plot of the opera is set during the ancient days when Rome conquered Gaelic lands. The story revolves around a druid priestess by the name of Norma, who is also the mother of two children. Watch the tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice as the tale unfolds this season with the Norma tickets. Presented and performed by the world's renowned operatic institution, Metropolitan Opera, the opera will surely keep its audience members at the edge of their seats throughout the entire performance. Each year, Metropolitan Opera stages more than twenty five different productions comprising of some of the most contemporary works as well as the classics from 18th and 19th century. The company also premieres various artists from all over the world, which grow on to become the big names of the future.