The Sunday Opera: Vincenzo Bellini's "Norma" from LA Opera On Air

Oct 4, 2018

The Priestess of Bacchus by John William Godward (1898)

A recurring theme in opera deals with forbidden love that leads to a tragic ending, and this week’s Sunday Opera (10/7 3:00 P.M.) is a version of that in Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” from LA Opera On Air.  Angela Meade stars as the titular Druid princess who falls in love and secretly has children with the Roman proconsul Pollione (Russell Thomas) against the laws set forth by her father, Oroveso (Morris Robinson).  

When Pollione turns his affections to another priestess, Adalgisa (Jamie Barton), Norma’s wrath begins a series of events that ends on a sacrificial pyre.  Also featured are Rafael Moras as Pollione’s companion Flavio and Lacey Jo Benter as Norma’s friend Clotilde.  James Conlon conducts the LA Opera Orchestra and Chorus.  Michael Kownacky will continue with music of Bellini after the opera with a fantasie based on his themes from his opera “La Sonnambula” arranged by Sigismund Thalberg before turning to a charming ballet where love has a happy ending by Andre Messager based on a fable by Jean de la Fontaine entitled “The Two Pigeons.”