”Bel canto” means ”beautiful singing” in Italian, and the term has given its name to an entire operatic style. The ultimate gem of bel canto opera is Bellini’s Norma, a tragedy spun from sublime and sensual music, like the famous aria Casta diva.
The protagonist of the drama is a powerful woman. Norma is a high priestess who leads a double life, torn between her public, religious duties and a private life fraught with family secrets and forbidden passion.
The title role requires gripping stagecraft, immaculate technical skill and a voice capable of being heavy and light at the same time. Swedish court-singer Katarina Karnéus won the Svenska Dagbladet Opera Prize in 2018.
In this revival production, Norma’s rival, the young Adalgisa, is sung by soprano Mia Karlsson. The fickle and deceitful Roman Pollione, whom both women love, is sung by tenor Tomas Lind. The opera also offers up some exceptional chorus numbers. On the podium is Greek conductor Myron Michailidis, former artistic director and chief conductor of the Greek National Opera. The spectacular staging is originally from the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.