MET Opera Live On The Big Screen
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• 12pm Brown Bag Lunch with Guest Speaker in the Sculthorpe Theatre
• 12:55pm Opera coverage begins
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“Ponselle, Milanov, Sutherland, Callas … after last night, Radvanovsky can add her name to the list,” declared the Huffington Post when Sondra Radvanovsky made her Met role debut as Norma in 2013. The 2017–18 season opens with a new production of Bellini’s masterpiece, starring Radvanovsky as the Druid priestess and Joyce DiDonato as her archrival, Adalgisa—a casting coup for bel canto fans. Tenor Joseph Calleja is Pollione, Norma’s unfaithful husband, and Carlo Rizzi conducts. Sir David McVicar’s evocative production sets the action deep in a Druid forest where nature and ancient ritual rule.
Production a gift of Veronica Atkins
Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835) was a Sicilian composer whose greatest gift was his extraordinary understanding of the human voice. His meteoric career was cut short by his death at the age of 33, shortly after his opera I Puritani triumphed in its Parisian premiere. Felice Romani (1788–1865) was the official librettist of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. A frequent collaborator of Bellini, he worked with the composer on six operas, and also wrote the libretti for Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amoreand Anna Bolena, among many other works.
PRODUCTION: Sir David McVicar
SET DESIGNER: Robert Jones
COSTUME DESIGNER: Moritz Junge
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Paule Constable
The opera is set in Gaul (France) at the beginning of its occupation by the Roman Empire. Almost all of the characters are druids, members of the Gallic priesthood, the only exceptions being the tenors, both of whom are Romans. It is interesting that the Roman Empire, long depicted in European culture as a civilizing force, is here seen as corrupt and exploitative.
Norma is perhaps the archetypal bel canto opera, a style of singing that flourished in Italy in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Its principal features are beauty of tone, legato phrasing, and the delivery of florid ornamentation. The score of Norma is characterized by extraordinary melody punctuated by sharp moments of raw drama. The primary functions of the clear orchestral writing are to move the drama along with vigorous rhythm and to inform certain moments with feeling and emotion.