Apr 11, 2018

Bellini's Norma: Your Opportunity to watch the Bel Canto classic


Vincenzo Bellini’s masterpiece opera Norma is coming to Hong Kong on May 5, 2018. With less than one month remaining, here’s why you should attend this magnificent spectacle, directed by none other than Sir David McVicar. 


This critically acclaimed opera is considered the pinnacle of the Bel Canto genre. The historic opera dates back to December 26, 1831, and is set during a period when druids were at war with Romans.


The opera is divided into two parts, and here’s what you need to know about the plot:





Norma, the eponymous character, is the leader of the druids, looked up to and respected as their leader. What no one knows, however, is the fact that Norma had broken her vow of chastity in order to be with Pollione, the proconsul or governor of the Roman Empire. Not only that, but he is the father of her two children.


Unbeknownst to Norma, however, Pollione is no longer in love with Norma. Instead, he has fallen in love with Adalgisa, the temple priestess under Norma’s wing.



Norma tells the druids that the time isn’t right for them to strike, and that the Romans shall die by their own hands. Norma then prays to the moon gods, singing the iconic Casta Diva, where she prays for peace, not war with the Romans.


Adalgisa, always loyal to Norma, prays as well, but her prayer is that she will be able to resist the advances of Pollione.


Pollione enters seeking Adalgisa, and Norma learns the truth. Despite Pollione asking Adalgisa to come with him, she refuses and stays loyal to Norma.





Full of rage and despair, Norma seeks to murder her children while they’re sleeping, so that, at least, Pollione can never have them, but loves them too much to carry out the act. She selflessly tells Adalgisa to take her children to Pollione and raise them with him as their own.


Adalgisa, eternally loyal to Norma, leaves to go to Pollione and convince him to take Norma back. He refuses and Adalgisa returns. Norma, who has heard of a new and crueler leader of the Roman armies, declares war.


The opera ends on a bittersweet note of romantic sacrifice. The druids seek to sacrifice Pollione for his crimes against their religion. Norma attempts to save the Romans, confessing her sins and offering herself as the sacrifice. Pollione, falling in love with her all over again, takes his place beside her on the sacrificial pyre as the curtains fall.


The stars of the play



This dramatic portrayal of the moving story of romance, war, loyalty and sacrifice is brought to the Hong Kong’ big screen at the Bethanie with international stars such as, Radvanovsky, DiDonato, and Calleja. 


Sondra Radvanovsky (Norma) has big shoes to fill, succeeding the likes of Cecilia Bartoli, Maria Callas, Daniela Dessi, Jane Eaglen and Gwyneth Jones. Radvanovsky showcases raw emotions of anger, despair and tragedy, sparkling in some of the more involved scenes.


Joyce DiDonato took a unique approach to Adagisa, with a very different look from earlier artists. Critics praise her performance, which touches upon the core of the character. She truly “elevates” the confession scene, described as “one of the most inspired” in the opera.


Radvanovsky and Didonato genuinely brought the best out of each other in the scene where they uncover their sisterly love for one another when working through their shared crisis... the highlight of the opera.


Joseph Calleja (Pollione) brings a new height to the final sacrifice scene and his duet with Radvanovsky. His powerful, commanding voice transforms the moment, making it emotional and affecting.



Carlo Rizzi, the conductor, gets his biggest moment when Norma declares war on the Roman armies. Rizzi led the orchestra through the rage-fueled emotions, elucidating an absolutely intense piece of music, unparalleled by any other moment during the opera.


Sir David McVicar and the team have created operatic magic with the Bel Canto classic. Now, with this magnificent piece of visual art coming to the Bethanie, you have the chance to watch these elite-level opera stars perform on the big screen, rebroadcast live from the New York Metropolitan Opera House. For a preview of the evening’s event:  https://www.facebook.com/TheMetLiveinHD.HongKong/videos/10155169762618730/


Mozaic will provide a pre-opera drink to get us in the mood and offer a buffet-style dinner with a glass of wine at the intermission.  Opera theatre entrance tickets, drinks and dinner are included in our price. Come join us for an entertaining and enjoyable evening.


You can get your tickets by clicking below button:

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#mozaic #Norma #Opera #BethanieTheatre #FAMA

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