Overture Opera Guides: Norma - Vincenzo Bellini

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Overture Opera Guides: Norma - Vincenzo Bellini

Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, first produced at La Scala, Milan, in 1831, is widely regarded as the greatest achievement of the bel canto era. Its title role, sung at the premiere by Giuditta Pasta, has been undertaken in more recent times by Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Monserrat Caballé and remains one of the supremely challenging soprano parts in the operatic repertory. The opera tells of the conflicting loyalties of the High Priestess of the Druids, Norma, who is torn between her duty to her people and her love for the father of her two children, the proconsul of the occupying Roman forces in Gaul.

The guide contains articles on the background to the opera and the development of bel canto, a detailed examination of its musical structure and a survey of its performance history, dealing in particular with the approaches of some of the many distinguished singers who have appeared in its principal roles. There is also a discussion of the contentious issue of which voice-types should more appropriately be singing each of the two leading female characters. The guide includes the full libretto with English translation, sixteen pages of illustrations, a musical thematic guide, a discography, a bibliography, and DVD and website guides.


The Genesis of Norma, Susan Rutherford

Norma’s Musical Journey, Roger Parker

Norma: A Selective Performance History, John Allison

Weep, Shudder, Die: Vincenzo Bellini, Norma and Their Admirers, Gary Kahn

Norma: Libretto by Felice Romani after Alexandre Soumet’s verse tragedy Norma

Norma: English translation by Kenneth Chalmers

Overture Opera Guides: Norma - Vincenzo Bellini - Reviews:

‘Neat little volumes they are, handy for carrying around, clearly printed and well set-out, complete with libretto and translation, discography and a generous selection of illustrations.’ Gramophone

'Brilliantly produced and superb value.' The Sunday Times

'The jolliest of bargains.' The Musical Times

'Marvellous... the best books of their kind.' Hugh Canning

‘The first thing noticeable about these initial items in the revamped Opera Guides series... is how much more solid and attractive these volumes are compared with the old ones. Production values are up, with more appealing design, clearer print and much better paper, making these books altogether more shelf-worthy.’

BBC Music Magazine

  • Language


  • Book Binding


  • Book Dimensions

    12.8 x 0.1 x 19.8 cm

  • Book Genre


  • Book ISBN


  • Book Page Count


  • Book Publication Date

    15 Jun. 2016

  • Book Publisher

    Overture Publishing

  • Product Supplier

    Macmillan distribution

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