Tag: Casta Diva


Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Music

Back at the Met Opera tonight for the last performance of my winter season, before resuming with Tristan und Isolde in March.

We were there tonight for Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, an opera I’d not yet seen, despite its semi-regular rotation in the operatic repertoire. The eponymous lead soprano role in this 19th century Italian work is considered one of the greatest (and most difficult) in the bel canto canon — rife with the passion and melodrama for which opera is known. Norma tells the tragic story of a love triangle: the Druid high priestess has broken her vows of celibacy and borne two children with Pollione, the ruler of the opposing Roman army. After urging her Druid people not to war against the Romans, Norma learns that her lover has been unfaithful with Adalgisa, a young novice priestess — a betrayal which unleashes a torrent of emotions from revenge and despair to love and honor, all of which plays out against a background of war.

Norma precurtain

But somehow, we weren’t feeling it tonight. And after Norma sang her ”Casta Diva,” there seemed little reason to stick it out for the remainder of the evening.


Later that week, as I was puttering around in the kitchen, I once again heard the familiar strains of that beautiful aria coming from the television. I dashed into the living room just in time to catch the last seconds of a Jean Paul Gaultier Parfums commercial for “Le Male,” featuring the singular voice of La Callas, the most famous Norma of the 20th century.

No telling in what form the Bellini opera will return to New York: Renee Fleming recently abandoned plans to perform her Norma in a new Robert Wilson production for the Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 season.

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