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Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli takes the lead in the lastest, production of Vincenzo Bellini's romantic tragedy Norma.
It tells the story of a Celtic priestess, Norma, who lives in Roman occupied Gaul. Norma is in love with Pollione, a Roman soldier, thus ostensibly her enemy. But, as in all romantic tragedies, Norma has a rival for her lover's affections, Adalgisa. This production is neo-realistic – moving away from 20th century versions where the performers showed little emotion. Cecilia Bartoli says she deliberately went against that: "At that time, in the past, it was difficult to show human weakness, it was not allowed. This character is sometimes an icy woman. Her love for Pollione is not so obvious. In this scenic, new and neo-realistic vision, for the first time Norma is also a woman in love. So a passionate woman, a woman who loves, and yet is fragile. To show Norma's fragility, is definitely a new vision of the role."