Double jeopardy

Daniel Oren returns to the Israeli Opera to conduct Bellini’s ‘Norma’ with an international cast.

By NERIA BARR
April 1, 2011 14:17
2 minute read.
Norma, Israeli Opera

Norma, Israeli Opera 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Renowned Israeli Opera conductor Daniel Oren returns to the Israeli Opera to lead the new production of Norma (directed by Federico Tiezzi), featuring an international cast of opera singers – Dimitra Theodossiu, Eva Mei, Roberto Aronica and Roberto Scandiuzzi – who perform regularly on leading opera stages around the world.

Norma is the story of a woman who has to decide whether to follow her heart and betray her people or forsake her love, confess her sins and be punished. She is one of the most complex opera heroines in the repertoire, and her story is the theme on which many variations were later created, such as the story of Aida.

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Norma takes place in the first century BCE in Gaul, where the Romans ruled the land. Norma is a Druid priestess who betrays her people and her religion by falling in love with a Roman soldier named Pollione and giving birth to two children. But Pollione soon forgets Norma and is infatuated with her closest friend, the priestess Adalgisa.

When the two priestesses finally reveal the truth and confess their love to the same man, each is willing to give up her happiness for the sake of her friend. At the end, Norma confesses her crime and willingly accepts the punishment – to be burned at the stake.

Greek soprano Dimitra Theodossiu, who performed Abigaille in Nabucco at the Israeli Opera’s Masada Festival last summer, is Norma, a role she sings regularly in leading opera houses around the world. Young Italian soprano Maria Agresta will replace her in some of the performances. The role of Pollione will be shared by three tenors: Italian Roberto Aronica (Rodolfo in La Boheme at the Israeli Opera) and two tenors, Italian Giorgio Beruggi and Korean Francesco Hong. For both, it is their first performance on the Israeli opera stage. The role of Adalgisa will be shared by two Italian singers – soprano Eva Mei and mezzo-soprano Daniella Barcelona. Also appearing are Roberto Scandiuzzi and Carlo Striulli as High Priest Oroveso, mezzosoprano Ayala Zimbler and tenor Guy Manheim.

As per usual in Israeli Opera performances, a 30-minute preperformance lecture (in Hebrew) will be available to all ticket holders one hour before curtain time. Opera Talkbacks will take place after several of the performances.

12 performances from April 8. The opera will be performed in Italian with Hebrew and English surtitles. NIS 175 – NIS 428.


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