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Set in ancient Gaul, Norma tells the tale of a druidic high priestess who incites her people to war when betrayed by her illicit Roman love. At the core of the drama lies not just this passion, however, but the universally human dilemmas of how to best look after children of a divided home, and whether to chose one’s own community over one that seems antithetical to it. It is a story of the profoundest intelligence, delivered in Bellini’s exquisite long melodies and overwhelmingly beauteous arias. The finale, which pre-empts the conclusion of Wagner’s Ring, is one of the most sublimely tragic in the repertoire, and brings Bellini’s incredible command of dramatic poetry to a high.
Christopher Alden’s production, although new to the English National Opera, comes to London after an acclaimed debut with Opera North. An old hand with a record of interesting and engaging works, Alden has set Norma at the onset of the Industrial Revolution, substituting the arrival of the Romans with that of technology. Fellow American Stephen Lord, one of the greatest masters of bel canto interpretation, conducts. The production also offers a chance to see one of today’s rising stars in the title role – Marjorie Owens, feted for her ability to meld subtly with high tension. She will play against the veteran Peter Auty, whose skill and adaptability have long been noted.
|What||Norma, London Coliseum|
WC2N 4ES | MAP
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
17 Feb 16 – 11 Mar 16, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the English National Opera|