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Bellini: Norma



In the bel canto masterpiece set during the Roman occupation of England, Adalgisa is a novice Druid priestess who is devoted to her leader, Norma. But she has also fallen in love with the proconsul Pollione and is about to run off with him to Rome when she learns that he has secretly fathered two children by Norma. Horrified, she rejects her lover and reaffirms her loyalty to the high priestess.

To open the Met’s 2017–18 season, powerhouse soprano Sondra Radvanovsky tackled one of opera’s most fearsome roles, the title druid priestess of Bellini’s Norma, and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sang Norma’s friend and rival, Adalgisa, in Sir David McVicar’s evocative production.


Anticipation had run high for Radvanovsky’s return to the role that vaulted her to the top rank of bel canto sopranos just four years ago and which has since included her thrilling performances of all three of Donizetti’s Tudor queens in one season two years ago. If anything, Radvanovsky surpassed all expectations. From the moment she enters and crawls onto the Druid altar to deliver “Casta Diva,” one of the great soprano arias in all opera, Radvanovsky embodies the tormented priestess vocally and physically, torn by her love for the faithless father of her two children, the betrayal of her young disciple, and her own sense of guilt.

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