Opening of the 35th jubilee season at St. Petersburg Opera with Bellini’s Norma
The premiere of the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini staged by People's Artist of Russia, artistic director and founder of the St. Petersburg Opera Yuri Alexandrov will take place on September 4, 2021 and will open the 35th jubilee season.
The work of Bellini was written by him in 1831, on the plot of the then popular tragedy “Norma, ossia L'infanticidio” by Alexandre Soumet. Since then it has become a bestseller of the world opera stage.
Thus, the theatre continues the tradition of acquaintance of the local audience with rarely performed masterpieces of world classics. As a director, Alexandrov makes it possible to create a new artistic system, different from the traditional one, capable of most adequately reproducing the rhythm of modern life with its nervous impetuosity of pace, an instant change of ideas and impressions. In his production, Bellini's immortal masterpiece will find a new life on the stage of the St. Petersburg Opera.
“That which is connected with human suffering is always relevant. This opera, despite the naivety of the presentation of the material, contains a huge drama. Here, the humane becomes the cornerstone. Therefore, this story is very difficult, very complicated and confusing and with a terrible end. It seems to me that the opera Norma is a very modern material, because I cannot say that a good beginning wins here. Suffering wins. Now the whole world is experiencing suffering, and we have to respond to this,” noted Yuri Alexandrov.
Bellini considered the opera a masterpiece and said that if some shipwreck suddenly happened, the only work that needed to be saved was Norma.
“Norma is one of my favorite operas. I wanted to find a space that changes with the music, breathes and transforms. The main thing that I wanted to define for myself was the style of the performance. Few iconographic materials about the druids have survived, and we composed a kind of fantasy on the theme of antiquity and the druids. In the theatre's decoration workshops, it was figured out how to assemble a puzzle from the complex movements of our decorations, and wonderful textures were found. We also managed to design highly detailed costumes that resemble excavation artifacts. The viewer, I think, will be able to appreciate the painstaking work of the theatre's workshops,” said People's Artist of Russia Vyacheslav Okunev.
According to the plot, the high-priestess of the druids Norma loves the Roman proconsul Pollione, from this union they had two children. However, Pollione is imbued with feelings for the young Adalgisa and wants to steal her in order to go with her to Rome. Norma finds out about this and decides to take revenge on her unfaithful lover. At the first moment, she wants to kill the children, but then she asks Adalgisa to take them with her so that they avoid shame and death. Norma turns the druids' anger on Pollione and accuses him for entering the sacred dwelling of the priestesses. Gallic priests grab the Roman proconsul and are ready to sacrifice him. Norma offers Pollione help in rescuing, but for this, he must forget Adalgisa, but Pollione refuses. Love still conquers hatred in Norma's heart, and at the last moment, to save her beloved, she calls her name for a sacred ceremony. Pollione is imbued with the sacrifice of his abandoned beloved and together with her ascends to the fire.