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TH 11/05/2023

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WE 10/05/2023

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TU 02/05/2023 (Premiere)

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Opera Carlo Felice Genova
Part one 1 hour 30 minutes
Interval 25 minutes
Part two 1 hour 10 minutes
Total duration 3 hours 5 minutes


The sacrilege of two priestesses in the Druidic forest, love overcoming the thirst for revenge, under the icy moonlight.

A lyric tragedy in two acts
Music by Vincenzo Bellini
Libretto by Felice Romani from Norma, ou L’infanticide by Louis-Alexandre Soumet

Critical edition by
Riccardo Minasi e Maurizio Biondi

Copyright and publishing
Alkor/Bärenreiter, Kassel

Italy Representative
Sonzogno Music House of Piero Ostali, Milano

Vasilisa Berzhanskaya
Gilda Fiume (3, 6, 11)

Carmela Remigio
Anna Dowsley (3, 6, 11)

Stefan Pop
Antonio Corianò (3, 6, 11)

Alessio Cacciamani
Mariano Buccino (3, 6, 11)

Simona Di Capua

Blagoj Nacoski

and orchestrator
Riccardo Minasi

Stefania Bonfadelli

Scenic designer
Serena Rocco

Costume designer
Valeria Donata Bettella

Ran Arthur Braun

Lighting designer
Daniele Naldi

New staging by
Fondazione Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova
co-produced with
Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna

Orchestra, chorus and Technicians
of Opera Carlo Felice Genova
Claudio Marino Moretti

Performers of the Bologna Theatre School
Alessandra Galante Garrone

Thanks to FILARMONICA SESTRESE “C. Corradi – Ghio S.

Staging director
Luciano Novelli

Stage musical director
Paloma Brito

Sirio Restani, Antonella Poli

Stage musical assistants
Andrea Gastaldo, Anna Maria Pascarella

other Choir Master
Patrizia Priarone

Lighting Master
Silvia Gasperini

Supertitle Master
Simone Giusto

Head of musical archives
Simone Brizio

Scenic director
Alessandro Pastorino

Vice scenic director
Sumireko Inui

Consolle supervisor
Andrea Musenich

Stage technicians foreman
Gianni Cois

Tooling foreman
Tiziano Baradel

Audio/video foreman
Walter Ivaldi

Head of tailoring, shoemaking, make-up and wigs
Elena Pirino

Director’s assistant
Carmelo Alù

Costume assistant
Donato Didonna

Scene Assistant
Maria Ianesi

Make-up and hair co-ordinator
Raul Ivaldi

Sets and props
Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna
and Fondazione Teatro Carlo Felice

Costume designer
Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna
by Opera Carlo Felice
andSartoria Klemann

C.T.C. Pedrazzoli

Mario Audello

Prescott Studio

Eni logo n

Opera in brief
by Ludovica Gelpi

The composition of Norma began in 1831. Bellini worked with librettist Felice Romani on a tragic subject, Norma, ou L’infanticide, by French playwright Alexandre-Louis Soumet, a tragedy that was performed in Paris with great success in April of the same year. Only three months after the work began, Norma was staged at La Scala, it was 26 December. The first performance did not captivate the public, so much so that Bellini himself called it a fiasco. The reasons were probably circumstantial, from the second performance in fact the title became more and more popular, to the point that it was soon revived in several Italian and European theatres. The winning elements can be traced back to both the choice of subject and the way it is transposed to music.

Soumet’s text, suitably adapted for transposition, is full of fascinating elements. The story is set in Gaul, at the time of the Roman invasion, particularly in the sacred places of the Druids. We therefore have two separate dimensions: the mysterious Druidic culture, with sacred rituals and a spirituality linked to the cult of nature, and the Roman culture, which instead represents a more materialistic dimension. The protagonists on stage experience the tension of the contrast between a sense of cultural belonging and the feelings that challenge it. Norma is a multi-faceted tragic heroine, the very symbol of the Druid civilisation, as a priestess, and at the same time in love with the Roman consul Pollione, father of her two sons. Her story is articulated between a spirituality linked to her origins and her fundamental role in the society she represents, and her feelings that lead her to break her vows. Another prominent figure is Adalgisa, herself a priestess but younger. Her character represents a premature version of the protagonist. One of the purest and most intense examples of female friendship and solidarity is staged between the two. Pollione also experiences the weight of his responsibilities, but seems to escape them by allowing himself to be carried away by the feelings that lead him to love and then betray Norma. It is only in the finale that Norma and Pollione redeem themselves, meeting the tragic fate that will see them united in death. Bellini’s approach to the text emphasises and amplifies the presence of so many different dimensions, with a style ranging from recitative with an almost hieratic rhythm, to the more melodious bel canto of some arias. A key element is the chorus, which brings to the stage the Gauls who are oppressed but ready to rise up forcefully. His role is therefore of great importance in the portrayal of the vibrant tension throughout the story. To fulfil this fundamental dramaturgical function, the choral mass is significantly present, and takes on majestic dimensions.

Norma’s great influence on the opera to come is undisputed; it played a vital role in paving the way for what would later become 19th century Italian melodrama. Among others, Richard Wagner was an ardent admirer, so much so that he wrote: ‘How fruitful, compared to the bailamme of musical organisation of the new German opera composers, the Italian operatic form and manner is demonstrated by Bellini with his Norma in which music and poetry rise to the level of the ancient Greeks’.

There has always been much debate around the study of vocal registers in Norma. The first interpreter of the character of Norma, Giuditta Pasta, had in fact a unique vocality, with a singularly wide range, and in Bellini’s writing, the vocal line of Norma can adapt to both a mezzo-soprano and a soprano register. With the aim of highlighting all the possibilities of vocal extension, the critical edition edited by Riccardo Minasi and Maurizio Biondi includes two variants, one with a mezzo-soprano as Norma, the other with a soprano (with due adjustments in the orchestration). For this production, the Opera Carlo Felice Genova offers the public both versions, with two different casts featuring a mezzo-soprano Norma (Vasilisa Berzhanskaya) and a soprano Norma (Gilda Fiume).