In a new co-production of the Royal Opera House Muscat with Opéra de Rouen, the ROHM presents Vincenzo Bellini's 1831 bel canto masterpiece opera, Norma, a lyrical tragedy about a high priestess of the ancient Druids whose passionate love for Pollione, an unfaithful Roman conqueror, has fateful consequences.
The tragic heroine's role has challenged the world's greatest sopranos, including twentieth-century legends Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, and Montserrat Caballé, as well as some of today's superstar divas, notably, Cecilia Bartoli. The role of Norma calls for exacting, flexible vocal control, including the expression of beauty in tone as well as precision in bel canto ornamentation, while the emotional range encompasses anguish over conflicting personal and public responsibilities, both romantic and maternal love, passionate jealousy, murderous intent, and tragic resignation.
The ROHM-Opera de Rouen co-production features the superb Romanian soprano, Elena Mosuc as Norma, while Pollione is sung by the acclaimed Belgian tenor, Marc Laho, who is known to Muscat audiences most recently for his performance in The Pearl Fishers. The stellar cast is completed by the award-wining Armenian soprano, Anna Kasyan in the role of Adalgisa, the young Priestess with whom Pollione falls in love.
Norma is considered to be one of the finest operas in the belcanto repertoire and many consider it to be Bellini's finest dramatic work. The great Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) praised Bellini for the "elevation of thought" underlying the duet in Norma, "In mia man alfin tu sei" ("At last you are in my hands"). In a rare gesture of commendation, Verdi declared, "No-one ever has created another more beautiful and heavenly". The opera has stood the test of time and is brilliantly realised in the exciting ROHM-Opera de Rouen production. It is staged in traditional dress by the renowned Director, Frédéric Roels with the Orchestra and Choir of Opera de Rouen conducted by Maestro Fabrizio Maria Carminati, an expert in the bel canto repertoire.
Four young school boys and girls from Muscat will participate in all performances of the opera in the role of extras. Engagement with the community involvement is important to the Royal Opera House Muscat and it is a matter of policy for ROHM to give interested people, young and old, as required by the plot and casting of various works, the chance to discover their talent or simply enjoy close-up involvement in the wonderful art of opera.
Bellini's unforgettable tragedy, Norma will be performed at the Royal Opera House Muscat on Thursday 22nd and Sunday 25th February, 2018 at 7:00 pm.