Vincenzo Bellini: Norma
Norma is by common consent the finest of the ten operas composed during Vincenzo Bellini's short career, representing his genius more comprehensively than is usually the case with any single work by an operatic composer. This 1998 handbook provides the biographical and cultural context of the opera. It gives a full synopsis and an examination of the music and poetry, which is rooted in the aesthetics of early nineteenth-century Italian opera. Professor Kimbell suggests something of the impression Norma has made on our imaginations and sensibilities in the 165 years since it was first produced in Milan in December 1831. He considers the great interpretations of the eponymous leading role. His discussion also embraces Bellini's work more generally by presenting some of the critical reactions to his music.
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The composition of the opera
Medea Velleda Norma Romanis sources
Synopsis and musical frame
Music and poetry
A glimpse of the genesis of the opera
Some variant readings
Contemporary reactions to Norma
Critical fortunes since the Unification of Italy
Act I finale Adalgisa Adamo and Lippmann altar aria autograph bars beautiful Bellinian Branca cabaletta Callas Cambi cantabile Casta Diva character choral chords chorus chromatic close coda composer Coro decasillabi Donzelli drafts dramatic druidesses druids duet effect F major Felice Romani Florimo Gauls German Giuditta Pasta Giulia Grisi Giuseppe guerra Irminsul Italian Italy La Scala La sonnambula libretto lines Liszt lyrical Medea melody Milan minor mistletoe Monterosso movement Naples Norma opera orchestral Oroveso ottonari passion performance phrase poetry Pollione Pollione's Ponselle prelude premiere priestess pure song quinari quoted recitative repertory role Romani Romani's libretto Rossini Scala Scena e Cavatina Scena e Duetto settenari Sinfonia singers singing sketches solo song sortita Soumet's stage stanza strophe structure style sung tempo d'attacco tempo di mezzo theatre theme tion tonal tragic Velleda Verdi's verse versi Vincenzo Vincenzo Bellini vocal score voice W. A. Mozart Wagner