MET Opera HD Broadcast season opener: ‘Norma’ at Colorado Mountain College | SummitDaily.com

MET Opera HD Broadcast season opener: ‘Norma’ at Colorado Mountain College

Elmer Koneman
Guest Columnist

The 1917-18 Metropolitan Opera High Definition Broadcast season will begin with an evocative new production of Bellini's opera , "Norma," to be shown at Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge, on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.

This new opera, with Sir David McVicar as producer, continues to be set in Gaul (France), during the 1st century B.C., at the time of occupation by the Roman Empire. Act I opens in a forest scene where a religious clan, the Druids, led by a high priest, Oroveso (sung by basso Matthew Rose), are gathered for worship. Included is a choral contempt of the Roman Empire, considered to be corrupt and exploitative.

Soon Norma, Oroveso's daughter, (sung by soprano Sondra Radvanovsy), arrives on the scene, performing her famous aria, "Casta Diva," a prayer for peace. Hidden is her own sense of guilt, having broken her vow of chastity by giving birth to two illegitimate children from a now fatherless father, Roman Procounsel Pollione, (sung by Joseph Calleja).

Pollione appears in the next scene, relating that he no longer loves Norma, indicating his affection is now on one of the virgin temple priestesses, Adalgisa (sung by Joyce DiDonato). In the final scene of Act I, Adalgisa confides with her close friend, Norma, that she has been unfaithful to their gods because she has given her love to a Roman man. Norma, recalling her own sin, is about to forgive Adalgisa, when Pollione arrives, seeking Adalgisa to accompany him to Rome. Norma's love quickly turns to anger.

This anger extends into Act II when Norma calls for war against the Romans. As soldiers and the Druids return, Oroveso demands that a life must be sacrificed so that their gods will grant them victory over the Romans. Out of despair, Norma confesses her sins to her father in front of the soldiers and Druids, offering herself for sacrifice. Pollione cannot believe Norma's benevolence, as his love for her returns. Together they mount the sacrificial pyre, facing earthly death, with love in the heavens to come.

Light snacks and beverages will be available during the single intermission. Those requiring a full lunch are requested to bring their own.

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