Ep. 15 Norma by Bellini broadcast 11.12.17
In this episode of Opera for Everyone we listen to Norma, an opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after 'Norma, ou L'infanticide' by Alexandre Soumet. It was first produced at La Scala in Milan on 26 December 1831.
The action takes place in ancient Gaul, under Roman occupation, where the Druid priestess Norma has fallen in love with a Roman official named Pollione and has secretly borne him two children. Norma is also the daughter of the Druids' leader, Oroveso.
Norma's young acolyte Adalgisa asks to be released from her vows as - unbeknownst to anyone - she's fallen in love with Pollione. Norma agrees to release Adalgisa from her vows, but when Pollione arrives, the truth comes out. Norma realizes that he has betrayed her with Adalgisa, and Adalgisa learns that Pollione had pledged himself to Norma.
Norma tells Adalgisa to take the children and go live with Pollione in Rome, but Adalgisa refuses vowing to convince Pollione to return to Norma.
Adalgisa is unsuccessful, and as the Druids are assembled in the temple, an intruder is captured and is revealed to be Pollione. The punishment for any outsider entering the temple is instant death, and Norma is prepared to kill him with the sacred dagger.
Suddenly, Norma calls for her people, announcing that Pollione won't be killed after all. Instead, there's a new victim, one who has betrayed her country. "I am the guilty one," she says and then calls for the sacrificial pyre to be prepared. In her final words to her father, Norma admits that she is the mother of Pollione's children and asks the shocked Oroveso to protect them. Meanwhile, Norma's bravery revives Pollione's love for her. He steps to her side, and the opera closes as the two walk into the flames together.