“If we weep from emotion on hearing it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.” That is what Richard Wagner said about Vincenzo Bellini’s most famous opera, which he considered the most perfect example of a musical tragedy. And rightly so, because in Norma Italian Romanticism reached its pinnacle.
This production, by award-winning American stage director Kevin Newbury, stresses the ritual aspects of the drama. Norma is a classical heroine, passionate and revengeful, and her dilemma provides the starting point for the most successful work by the last and greatest composer of bel canto. Though the first performance was a failure, Norma went on to become an established favorite. It first came to the Liceu in 1847, not long after its official opening, and was, in fact, the third opera to be staged there.