Norma (includes Casta Diva)
Vincenzo Bellini

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Bellini is a Hall of Fame One Hit Wonder.

In the same year that Darwin set sail in his Beagle, Bellini rocked the Milan opera world with not one but two operas. La Sonnambula had already done very well for him in March 1831, transferring to Paris and London almost as soon as the sets could be painted. Later in the year, far from resting on his laurels, Bellini produced his most enduring hit: a lyric tragedy in two acts centred on a druid called Norma, the daughter of the chief druid, Oreveso.

The brightest shining jewel in its vocal crown is the exquisite 'Casta Diva' an aria Bellini rewrote some eight times. It comes from Act I and is Norma's 'song to the moon', as it were. Having cut some mistletoe, she sings to the lunar goddess, praying for peace as well as hoping for luck when trying to defeat the Romans.

Brenda Harris as Norma in the Michigan Opera Theatre's 2010 production.