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Starting Point

Vincenzo Bellini was not immune to a fascination with the classical world that impregnated Romanticism.  A fascination which dictated that tragedies must take place during the classical period of history using Greek or Roman characters. Norma does not break with this tradition; indeed, it is a story of Roman characters.  Notwithstanding, the real focus is actually on the Celts who are dominated by the Romans. It is the story of their High priestess which inspired an opera destined to become an indisputable reference point in Italian Bel canto. Yet this is a Bel canto which responds to the romantic ideal of an art form that aspires to convey and touch emotions. The amorous conflict is based on the tragedy of Euripides by design.  However, Norma, unlike Medea, does not kill the children whom she shares with the man that betrays her. The impenetrable forests of northern Europe are the background of a story bathed in moonlight, where daylight hardly seems to exist. This was a far distant scenario to those of the Italian Opera seria of the period. 102 years after it was last staged, this tragedy returns to the Teatro Real. It is the story of a woman destroyed by a terrible contradiction where she is forced to break her sacred vows for loving someone who is the enemy of her people.   



Tragedia lirica in two acts

Music by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)

Libretto by Felice Romani, after Norma, ou l'infanticide (1831) by Alexandre Soumet
Premiered at the Teatro alla Scala of Milan, 26 December 1831
Premiered at the Teatro Real, 14 November 1851

New production by the Teatro Real, in co-production with the Palau de les Arts de Valencia and the Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera (ABAO)

Principal Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real
(Coro Intermezzo / Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid)


The action takes place in Gaul during the Roman occupation, around 50 BC. 

The warriors and druids of the tribe of the Sicambri have gathered to wait for the rising of the new moon, when Norma, the high priestess, will perform religious ceremonies and consult the will of the god Irminsul. Inspired by the chief druid, Oroveso, father of Norma, the people express the hope that the god will favor their projected uprising against the hated Romans...

Approximate running time

3 hours

Act I: 1 hour and 25 minutes
Intermission: 25 minutes
Act II 1 hour

Production Team & Cast

  • Musical director: Roberto Abbado
  • Stage director: Davide Livermore
  • Set designer: GIÒ FORMA
  • Costume designer: Mariana Fracasso
  • Lighting designer: Antonio Castro
  • Video: D-WOK
  • Chorus Master: Andrés Máspero
· - ·
  • Pollione: Gregory Kunde (Oct. 20, 23, 26, 29 · Nov. 1, 4)
    Roberto Aronica (Oct. 21, 24, 28, 31 · Nov. 2)
    Stefan Pop (Oct. 30)
  • Oroveso: Michele Pertusi (Oct. 20, 23, 26, 29)
    Simón Orfila (Oct. 21, 24, 28, 31 · Nov. 2, 4)
    Fernando Radó (Oct. 30 · Nov. 1)
  • Norma: Maria Agresta (Oct. 20, 23, 26, 29 · Nov. 1, 4)
    Angela Meade (Oct. 21, 24, 28, 31 · Nov. 2)
    Mariella Devia (Oct. 30)
  • Adalgisa: Karine Deshayes (Oct. 20, 23, 26, 29 · Nov. 1, 4)
    Veronica Simeoni (Oct. 21, 24, 28, 31 · Nov. 2)
    Ketevan Kemoklidze (Oct. 30)
  • Clotilde: Maria Miró
  • Flavio: Antonio Lozano

Performance Dates

  • 20 OCT (T) 22:00h
  • 21 OCT (F) 22:00h
  • 23 OCT (S) 20:00h
  • 24 OCT (M) 22:00h
  • 26 OCT (W) 22:00h
  • 28 OCT (F) 22:00h
  • 29 OCT (S) 22:00h
  • 30 OCT (S) 19:00h
  • 31 OCT (M) 21:00h
  • 1 NOV (T) 21:00h
  • 2 NOV (W) 21:00h
  • 4 NOV (F) 21:00h
  • Place: Main Auditorium


You can find more photos here.

Programme of show

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