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  • Bellini’s Norma relayed live to cinemas on 26 September 2016

Bellini’s Norma relayed live to cinemas on 26 September 2016

Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts Sonya Yoncheva, Joseph Calleja and Sonia Ganassi in a new production directed by Àlex Ollé.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

23 September 2016 at 3.22pm | 3 Comments

Àlex Ollé’s new Royal Opera production of Vincenzo Bellini's Norma was broadcast live to cinemas around the world at 7.15pm GMT on 26 September 2016.

Download the Norma Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREENORMA and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production.

The cinema relay will be presented by TV and radio broadcaster Clemency Burton-Hill.

The story

Bellini’s opera is based on the verse tragedy of the same name by the French poet Alexandre Soumet. Norma is a priestess who falls in love with Pollione, the leader of the occupying force suppressing her people. After becoming mother to two children, Pollione’s love for Norma withers and he pursues a fellow priestess Adalgisa. Meanwhile, rebellion against the occupying force grows – will Norma wage war on Pollione?

The production

This new production of Norma is The Royal Opera’s first in nearly thirty years. Àlex Ollé modernises Norma into a contemporary setting, creating a backdrop of a cruel civil war. Ollé focuses on the opera’s exploration of the conflict between an individual’s own desires and those of her society – and of religion as a force for unity and for destruction.

Read Opera Essentials: Bellini’s Norma

The music

Norma is perhaps most acclaimed as a vehicle for the lead soprano, and indeed Bellini provides some astonishing vocal fireworks for his title character – most famously ‘Casta diva’, Norma’s Act I hymn to the chaste moon, and Act II’s ‘Dormono entrambi’, as she contemplates the unthinkable act of killing her children.

The opera also includes some breathtaking ensembles, most strikingly in Norma’s duets with Pollione and Adalgisa, the Act I trio ‘Vanne, sì: mi lascia, indegno’ and the blistering Act II finale.

The cast

Music Director of The Royal Opera House Antonio Pappano conducts an excellent cast including Bulgarian soprano, Sonya Yoncheva who performs the title role. Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja is her former lover Pollione and Italian mezzo-soprano Sonia Ganassi takes on the rival priestess, Adalgisa.

Antonio Pappano and Joseph Calleja joined director Àlex Ollé to discuss the new production in our Norma live-streamed Insights event.

Your Reaction

After the relay on 26 September, we will publish a roundup of the audience tweets, so share your thoughts using the hashtag #ROHnorma.

The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 26 September 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is a co-production with Opéra national de Paris and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE and The Tsukanov Family Foundation.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

23 September 2016 at 3.22pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Antonio Pappano, Bellini, by Àlex Ollé, Joseph Calleja, Norma, Opera national de Paris, Sonia Ganassi, Sonya Yoncheva

This article has 3 comments

  1. Ashley Armstrong responded on 26 September 2016 at 9:11pm Reply

    Watching Norma live from Covent Garden at the Showcase in High Cross, Leicester. Quite magnificent! I wish I could have gone to see it live in person. Sonya Yoncheva in the title role is astonishing, and despite the anachronisms, I'm persuaded by the staging too.

  2. Jacky Cook responded on 26 September 2016 at 11:17pm Reply

    In the last 5 mins. the picure disappeared so we lost the finale! The sound was good but no picture!

    • Noelia Moreno responded on 28 September 2016 at 6:20pm

      Dear Jacky,

      Thank you very much for your comment and sorry you couldn't see the finale. We are following up with the cinema and hope this issue will be resolved for future screenings.

      Best wishes,

      ROH Cinema

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