Bellini: Norma (Live) by Lyric Opera of Chicago, Riccardo Frizza

If you’re drawn to vocal acrobatics, Bellini’s Druid priestess Norma will thrill and astonish you. The absolute pinnacle for any prima donna with the technical prowess, sumptuous voice, and dramatic fire to master its perilous challenges, Norma stands as a crowning jewel of the bel canto repertoire. This timeless story of love betrayed runs the gamut of emotions from loyalty and passion to jealousy, revenge, and redemption. The melodies in this opera range from the stunningly serene “Casta diva” to the frenzy of vocal fireworks that pour forth as Norma’s rage overflows. World-acclaimed soprano Sondra Radvanovsky stuns in this dazzling masterwork.

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About the Album

In ancient Gaul, the Druids have been invaded by the forces of Rome.  Despite her hatred for Rome, the Druid high priestess Norma breaks her vows by falling in love with Pollione, the Roman proconsul, and bearing him two children. He abandons Norma in favor of a young priestess, Adalgisa. The guilt-ridden girl confides in Norma, who is sympathetic until she learns that it is Pollione whom Adalgisa loves. Norma castigates her lover for his betrayal. Out of revenge, she plans to kill their children, but cannot bring herself to do it. Adalgisa attempts to persuade Pollione to return to Norma, but he refuses. He tries to abduct Adalgisa, but the Druids capture him and bring him to Norma for punishment. When she confesses to the Druids that she has broken her vows and must die, Pollione understands her nobility of heart and chooses to die with her.