NOTES: Bellini’s “Norma” at the Met Opera
The Metropolitan Opera launched its 2017-2018 season in September with a new production of Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” directed by Sir David McVicar. I caught a performance of this 1831 bel canto masterpiece on Friday night; two more chances remain, this evening at 7:30pm and Saturday, December 16th at 1pm.
This tragic tale set in ancient Gaul follows a Druid High Priestess’s affair with a conquering Roman proconsul, is imbued with brooding themes of religious ritual, doomed love, honor, and sacrifice, and features a memorable ending. Performed in a dark and somber new production that allows for the gorgeous score to shine, “Norma” is an excellent, non-traditional choice for a novice opera fan, like me, as it features a simple plot and an outstanding, dynamic, and melodic score, including the famous Casta Diva aria.
While a recent sex scandal threatens to impact the Met Opera’s already-struggling bottom line, if you have never done it, I strongly urge you to attend one of the Met Opera’s 220 performances this season. This world-class opera company, founded in 1880 and performing at Lincoln Center since 1966, is one of the most special and unique cultural institutions in New York City, and still performs a rotating, repertory schedule, with multiple large-scale productions of different operas each week, offering both the devoted opera fan and casual culture-seeker the greatest variety of options in America.
Ticket Tip: the Met Opera offers $25 rush tickets daily online