Classics of the Italian Opera.
"Home" to one of the greatest bel canto arias of all time (Casta diva
Bellini's opera, Norma
, is considered to be his
greatest tragic opera.
The story, like many other operas, centers around the
love between two high-class people, in this case the daughter of a high priest
and a Roman proconsul. She gave up her vow of chastity to him, even though their
love was forbidden, but he fell in love with another woman.
Norma is a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after Norma, ossia L'infanticidio (Norma, or The Infanticide) by Alexandre Soumet. First produced at La Scala on 26 December 1831, it is generally regarded as an example of the supreme height of the bel canto tradition. "Casta diva" was one of the most familiar arias of the nineteenth century.
Time: Early times of Roman conquest of Gaul.
A secret love unites the seer Norma with Pollione, the Roman proconsul, father of her two children. But Pollione has grown tired of the aging druid and has fallen in love with Adalgisa, a young temple virgin. Despite Adalgisa's piety and virtue, she agrees to flee to Rome with Pollione. Adalgisa innocently tells Norma of her love, and Norma curses Pollione for his treachery.
Norma is about to kill her children, but her love for them finally consigns them to the care of Adalgisa. When Pollione comes to take Adalgisa from the temple, Norma denounces him; after he refuses to give up Adalgisa, he's seized by the Druids. Norma proclaims herself equally guilty with him. The pyre is lighted and Norma ascends it to die with her lover.