Vincenzo Bellini

The Paris opera season kicks off with a dual highlight when the Salzburg Festival comes to Paris with Cecilia Bartoli as Norma

Approximate running time  2h30
Sung in Italian with French subtitles

The beginning of the opera season for the theatre on the avenue Montaigne promises to be an outstanding one, with four performances of the Salzburg Festival's production of Bellini's Norma. Cecilia Bartoli plays the title role with a very personal dramatic ardour and musical force, in a brilliant production by her colleagues Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser.

We owe this rereading of Bellini's masterpiece to the Roman diva, who is known for a keen sense of curiosity and a taste for historical research on the repertoire and performance aspects, as well as a new critical edition of the score. Cecilia Bartoli was keen to return to a version of Norma that is more accurate from a musicological viewpoint, played on period instruments and based on the original tonalities. The result is more powerful, both musically - for example in the duets between Norma and Adalgisa - and dramatically. Cecilia Bartoli's Norma breaks with the accustomed model: the priestess has stepped down from her pedestal and become a woman in love and hurt (her "Casta diva" takes on all the colours of unhappy passion with a supreme command of the art of cantabile). Her low notes are superb and the vocal line is very refined in terms of colours, legato and articulation. As a betrayed and disappointed lover sinking into infanticide, her Norma is quite simply humanised human and magnificent.

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