- Vincenzo Bellini. Tragedia lirica in two acts. 1831.
- Libretto by Felice Romani, after the verse tragedy by Alexandre Soumet.
- First performance at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, on 26th December 1831.
|Oroveso, Archdruid ||bass|
|Norma, his daughter, Druid high priestess ||soprano|
|Clotilda, her confidante ||mezzo-soprano|
|Adalgisa, a young priestess of the temple ||soprano|
|Pollione, Roman pro-consul in Gaul ||tenor|
|Flavio, a Roman centurion ||tenor|
|Two Children of Norma and Pollione ||silent rôles|
Oroveso seeks to rouse his countrymen to rebellion against the Romans. Pollione now confides
in Flavio that he no longer loves Norma, in spite of the fact that, unknown to everyone, she has born
him two sons. Norma tries to prevent rebellion, to protect Pollione, prophesying the fall of Rome
through its own internal weaknesses. Pollione persuades Adalgisa to run away to Rome with him.
Norma, at home, knows that Pollione plans to leave her, but does not know the name of her rival.
Adalgisa admits her infidelity to her people to Norma, who eventually understands that Adalgisa is
the new object of Pollione's affections. When Adalgisa realises the situation, she rejects Pollione.
Norma considers killing her sons and then asking Adalgisa to go with Pollione and be a mother to
her children in her place. Adalgisa refuses to be disloyal to Norma, but goes to Pollione to recall him
to his duty. He will not hear her, and Norma now calls for open revolt. Meanwhile Pollione,
attempting to abduct Adalgisa, has been taken prisoner, and will be put to death. Norma offers in his
place one who has broken faith with her people, herself. A funeral pyre is erected, which she
mounts, joined in her final moments by Pollione.
Norma occupies a very particular place in operatic repertoire, a dramatic work of lyrical beauty,
not least in the most fanous of Norma's arias, Casta diva (Chaste goddess), her first-act prayer to the
moon. Oroveso calls the Druids to watch for the new moon in Ite sul colle, o Druidi (Go to the hills,
O Druids) and in the second act he warns of Pollione's possible successor, inveighing against
Roman tyranny in Ah! del Tebro al giogo indegno (Ah! To the disgraceful yoke of Rome). Norma
has notable duets with Adalgisa and with Pollione, revealing different aspects of her tragic