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VINCENZO BELLINI

MARIA CALLAS
VINCENZO BELLINI
OPERA IN FOUR ACTS
LIBRETTO BY FELICE ROMANI
TEATRO ALLA SCALA
MILAN Norma Maria Callas
December 7, 1955 Pollione Mario del Monaco
Adalgisa Giulietta Simionato
REMASTERED FROM
A FIRST GENERATION
Oroveso Nicola Zaccaria
COPY OF THE Clotilde Gabriella Carturan
ORIGINAL MASTER
Flavio Giuseppe Zampieri
BEST SOUND
AVAILABLE
Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala
COMPLETE OPERA
LIVE RECORDING Antonino Votto
TEATRO ALLA SCALA ˜ MILAN
Recorded live, December 7, 1955
Chorus master Norberto Mola. Stage director Margherita Wallmann.
Stage director Nicola Benois. Costume designer Salvatore Fiume.
Assistant master Giuseppe di Luggo.
Prompter master Vasco Naldini. Master of the band Marsilio Ceccarelli.
Scenery made by Carlo Ighina and Vincenzo Pignataro.

C O L L E C T I O N
C O L L E C T I O N

www.divinarecords.com | info@divinarecords.com

Track List | Important Note | Liner Notes | Libretto | Program | Reviews | hotographs | Playbill
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 1
Track List
COMPACT DISC 1 [79.58] 16 • Va, crudele** [5.14] 6 • Mira, o Norma [4.15]
1 • Overture* [5.42] Pollione / Adalgisa Adalgisa / Norma
Orchestra 17 • Vieni in Roma [3.10] 7 • Cedi, deh cedi! [1.04]
ACT I Pollione / Adalgisa Adalgisa / Norma
2 • Ite sul colle, o Druidi* [8.06] ACT II 8 • Sì, fino all’ore estreme [1.59]
Oroveso / Chorus 18 • Vanne, e li cela entrambi [4.12] Norma / Adalgisa
3 • Svanir le voci!** [0.56] Norma / Clotilde ACT IV
Pollione / Flavio 19 • Adalgisa! – Alma costanza! [3.14] 9 • Non partì? [5.17]
4 • Ma nel mio core è spenta [1.40] Norma / Adalgisa Chorus
Pollione / Flavio 20 • Oh, rimembranza!... [4.57] 10 • Guerrieri, a voi venirne [1.57]
5 • Meco all’altar di Venere [2.31] Norma / Adalgisa Oroveso / Chorus
Pollione 21 • Ah sì, fa core abbracciami [2.56] 11 • Ah! del Tebro al giogo indegno [3.07]
6 • Odi?... I suoi riti a compiere [1.32] Norma / Adalgisa Oroveso / Chorus
Flavio / Chorus / Pollione 22 • Ma di’, l’amato giovane [1.23] 12 • Ei tornerà. Sì! [5.28]
7 • Me protegge, me difende [1.27] Norma / Adalgisa / Pollione Norma / Clotilde / Chorus / Oroveso
Pollione 23 • Oh, non tremare [1.35] 13 • Guerra, guerra! [1.09]
8 • Norma viene [4.27] Norma / Adalgisa Chorus
Chorus 24 • Oh, di qual sei tu vittima [4.00] 14 • Nè compi il rito, o Norma? [4.03]
9 • Sediziose voci [4.17] Norma / Pollione / Adalgisa Oroveso / Norma / Clotilde / Chorus / Pollione
Norma / Oroveso / Chorus 15 • In mia man alfin tu sei [7.22]
10 • Casta diva [7.02] COMPACT DISC 2 [71.09] Norma / Pollione
Norma / Chorus 1 • Perfido! – Or basti! [3.00] 16 • Dammi quel ferro! [3.39]
11 • Fine al rito [1.53] Norma / Pollione / Adalgisa Pollione / Norma / Chorus / Oroveso
Norma / Chorus ACT III 17 • Qual cor tradisti [4.40]
12 • Ah! bello a me ritorna [2.55] 2 • Introduction [4.09] Norma / Pollione / Oroveso / Chorus
Norma / Chorus Orchestra 18 • Norma! Deh Norma! Scòlpati! [2.27]
13 • Sgombra è la sacra selva [3.25] 3 • Dormono entrambi [5.37] Chorus / Norma / Pollione / Oroveso
Adalgisa Norma / Clotilde 19 • Deh! Non volerli vittime [4.59]
14 • Deh! proteggimi, o Dio! [1.51] 4 • Me chiami, o Norma? [2.37] Norma / Pollione / Oroveso / Chorus
Adalgisa Adalgisa / Norma
15 • Eccola! va mi lascia [1.28] 5 • Deh! con te li prendi [4.05] */** See next page
Pollione / Adalgisa Norma / Adalgisa
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 2
Important Note
Unfortunately, the first 15 minutes of surviving material from December 7, 1955; * CD 1, tracks 1 and 2: Nicola Zacca-
this 1955 La Scala performance were not unlike other labels, Divina Records has not ria (Oroveso), Chorus and Orchestra of the
recorded. All previous LP and CD editions replaced any portion of this material by Teatro alla Scala conducted by Gianandrea
filled in the missing portions of music using parts from other, inauthentic sources. Gavazzeni, Milan, January 13, 1965.
diverse uncredited sources. In order to pre- The sources other than December 7, ** CD 1, track 3 [complete]; track 16
serve a sense of completeness for those who 1955 used by Divina Records for this issue [0.49-1.19]: Mario del Monaco (Pollione),
wish to listen to Bellini’s opera in its entire- are given below. Athos Cesarini (Flavio), Orchestra Sinfon-
ty, Divina Records has chosen the same op- Listeners interested only in the authen- ica di Roma della Radiotelevisione Italiana
tion, but not without providing appropriate tic material recorded on 7 December 1955, conducted by Tullio Serafin; Radio broad-
credits. should skip Tracks 1-3 of CD 1 and play the cast of June 29, 1955, Rome, Auditorium
This CD edition contains all known first disc from Track 4 onwards. del Foro Italico RAI.

Acknowledgements
I wish to express my gratitude to all those
involved in this project: Milan Petkovic,
Frank Hamilton, Armando Bona, Monica
Wiards, Robert E. Seletsky, Winfried
Stiffel, Jean-Jacques Hanine Roussel, José
Luis Luna, Felipe de Lima Cunha, Jim
Legnani, Benedict Gagelmann and Cosimo
Capanni.

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 3
Callas’ finest recorded Norma. Milan, December 7, 1955
by Milan Petkovic

Norma – Historical Background formative years spent at the Naples Conserva- librettist of his time. Romani himself may
tory in the early 1820s under the guidance not have been the greatest of poets, but he
Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) was born of Niccolò Zingarelli, a composer of con- had many valuable gifts, including an extraor-
in Catania, Sicily, and died in Puteaux near siderable reputation. Zingarelli was strongly dinary attention to the diction of the text
Paris, aged only thirty-three. In his tragically opposed to an operatic style featuring a and supreme elegance in composing verses.
short life, he was one of the most admired and complex, rich orchestration and elaborate In Bellini’s hands, Romani’s eloquent words
esteemed composers of his era. His innate gift vocal ornamentation, the latter perceived as acquired an even greater subtlety. The friend-
for soft, flowing, often ethereal and always empty and superfluous (these, for instance, ship and fruitful partnership between the two
expressive melodic writing, quite unique in were features of Gioachino Rossini’s operatic men began in 1827 with Il pirata and would
its genre, had a considerable impact on many writing). Instead, Zingarelli encouraged his continue until Beatrice di Tenda (1833), en-
composers of the 19th century. Bellini’s operas young student to focus almost exclusively compassing seven of Bellini’s ten operas.
were highly regarded not only by Frédéric on voice and melody as the main means of Norma, a tragic opera in two acts (for prac-
Chopin, who had a particular affection for musical expression. The teacher’s efforts did tical purposes often indicated as four acts)
Bellini’s music, and whose piano composi- fall on fertile ground, for the result became composed on a libretto by Felice Romani,
tions bear a certain spiritual resemblance to the hallmark of Bellini’s composing style – is generally considered not only Bellini’s
Bellini’s melancholic cantilenas, but also by long, finely spun lyrical melodies, subtle tonal greatest opera but also one of the master-
Richard Wagner, whose deep and sincere ad- painting of emotional states, waving vocal pieces, if not indeed the masterpiece of the
miration for the score of Norma has been well lines supported by a comparatively modest Italian  bel canto  period. Most of  Norma’s
documented. Bellini’s influence on the Ital- orchestral accompaniment, and melodic in- music was composed between September
ian composers – the young Giuseppe Verdi spiration of the highest order. Naturally, such and December of 1831 in Blevio on Lake
in particular – has been often cited. But the style necessitated that a particular attention Como, where Bellini was staying as a guest
influence did not stop there; it would linger be devoted to words, and Bellini soon found a of Giuditta Pasta – a prima donna famous
well into the 20th century. perfect collaborator in Felice Romani (1788- for her interpretive gifts, and one of the most
Bellini’s artistic style developed during the 1865), probably the most famous Italian prominent exponents of  bel canto  singing.
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 4
Pasta knew Bellini’s artistic sensibility well, siveness. This ideally needs to be combined original G. Desirous to please the admired
as she had already sung in his Il pirata and with an imposing stage presence, remark- composer, Pasta carefully studied the music
also created the role of Amina in La sonnam- able understanding of Bellini’s writing style, and practiced diligently on her own, day and
bula earlier that year. Both Pasta and Romani complete technical mastery of the highly night.
encouraged the young composer to work demanding vocal line, and a dramatic  sfo- The first performance of  Norma took
on a subject based on the tragedy Norma by gato timbre. Giuditta Pasta was considered, place at La Scala, Milan, on December 26,
the French playwright Alexandre Soumet, together with Maria Malibran, the ideal 1831. Ironically for what was soon to be
whose premiere took place in April 1831 in interpreter of Bellini’s music. Thirty-three at considered a milestone in the Italian opera
Paris with great success. Bellini happened to the time of the Norma premiere, at the pin- of the early ottocento, the premiere was not
like the idea. Even more so, inspired by the nacle of her vocal and interpretive powers, a success. The main cause of a relative fail-
story of a Druid high priestess who, despite and with an artistic personality that seemed ure has been often attributed to the jealous
the holy vows, falls in love with an enemy tailor-suited to the role of Druid priestess, scheming of Giovanni Pacini, Bellini’s rival,
proconsul, Bellini composed music of ex- Pasta nonetheless was rather nervous during who himself had composed an opera with a
traordinary beauty, often reaching a lofty the rehearsals.Norma was to be her La Scala Druid subject – also on a libretto by Romani
level of dramatic eloquence by an astonishing debut, and while she held Bellini in highest – eleven years earlier. As it seems, Bellini shed
economy of means. The score was composed esteem, the soprano had her doubts about a few tears after the performance, describ-
in about fourteen weeks, an unusually short presenting herself in the best possible light ing the event to his friends as an “absolute
time for the composer. The intensive work to the demanding Milanese audience in a fiasco... a terrible failure.” He nevertheless
on Norma did not go not without difficulties, completely new, unheard work. She became passionately believed in the value of his new
however. Romani had to constantly rewrite self-conscious, and in the beginning even creation and seemed unable to understand
portions of the libretto, not only to suit the refused to sing what would soon become the the public’s unfavorable reaction. However,
composer’s intentions, but also to provide opera’s most famous moment (indeed one of already the second performance brought a
Pasta, who was again chosen to create a Bell- the most beautiful arias in all operatic litera- noticeable change: the initially reserved and
ini role, with ample opportunities to display ture), the cavatina “Casta diva,” claiming it almost hostile audience started warming to
her extraordinary dramatic talent. Indeed, unsuitable for her voice. Bellini refused to the new opera, gradually becoming aware
the opera’s plot and music are so heavily give in; “Casta diva” was one of his favorite of its intricate beauties. The subsequent
centered on the title role, that the success numbers in the score. Constantly bearing performances were received with increasing
of a Norma  performance depends in large Pasta’s voice in mind, he rewrote the aria no enthusiasm. In this, as in so many other cases
measure on the principal interpreter’s ability less than eight times, ultimately transposing (the most notable precedent probably being
to display a high degree of dramatic expres- it to the lower key of F major instead of the Rossini’s  Il barbiere di Siviglia), the initial
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 5
reaction of the public had little or nothing to 19th century, the relatively modest and linear inspiration, which joins the most intimate
do with the work’s artistic merits. True, there character of Norma’s orchestration became a passion to the most profound reality; a great
were certain innovative features, such as the subject of controversy, if not complete mis- score that talks straight to the heart – a work
omission of a long and elaborated Act I finale understanding. At one point, a no lesser mas- of genius.”
including all principals and the chorus, in this ter of orchestration than Georges Bizet was  
case replaced by a relatively simple, though conferred the ambitious and unthankful task
extremely effective trio. If the circumstances, of re-orchestrating Norma’s score. It was not Norma at Teatro alla Scala, Dec. 7, 1955
which most probably did involve jealous off long before Bizet admitted the impossibility
stage machinations, seemed to have sealed the of such task, concluding that the most effec- The role of Norma is one of the most
opera’s fate on the opening night, Norma was tive orchestration of Norma’s melodies was complex and demanding – musically, vocally
able to recover in a remarkably short time. exactly the one provided by Vincenzo Bellini. and dramatically – in all opera. A precious
Already at the second performance, the Wagner, hardly an unconditional admirer of few names could claim to have completely
composer was warmly asked to take a bow, Italian opera, yet always responsive to the mastered all aspects of the role – Giuditta
and the work soon became widely recog- ideas of redemption through love and self- Pasta, Maria Malibran, Lilli Lehman, and
nized as the supreme masterpiece of the bel immolation, knew well the score of Norma, Rosa Ponselle were certainly among them. In
canto genre that it is. for he conducted it in 1837 and even wrote 1950s, one Norma reigned supreme in the
Bellini’s writing in Norma may be viewed a bass aria for the role of Oroveso in 1839. operatic pantheon: Maria Meneghini Callas.
as the apotheosis of pure singing, yet there Wagner’s opinion is well worth citing, for While there have always been sopranos who
is genuine music drama in it, as well as an it is as articulate as it is sincere: “We must demonstrated praiseworthy accomplishments
original and individual way of portraying not be ashamed to shed a tear and express at least in some aspects of this complex role,
human emotions and characters through emotion. It is not a crime to believe in this many would agree that to this day no one has
vocal means. The orchestra certainly plays music. People think that I detest the entire matched Maria Callas’ vocal, dramatic and
a role in this portrayal by providing suitable Italian school, in particular Bellini. This is scenic portrayal of the Druid priestess, gen-
harmonic background for the vocal line, but not true – a thousand times no! Bellini is my erally considered definitive. By Callas’ own
the latter is undoubtedly the primary bearer first preference, because there is strength in admission, Norma and Violetta in Verdi’s La
of dramatic expression. Considering the his vocal writing, and his music lends itself traviata, were her favorite roles, and it is with
purity and classical beauty of Norma’s vocal so perfectly to the original text .... Of all Bell- them that she became particularly associated.
part, as well as a certain static solemnity of ini’s operas, Norma is the one which unites For the gala opening of the 1955/56 season
the declamation and stage action, the opera the richest flow of melody with the deepest at the Teatro alla Scala of Milan, Maria Cal-
may well evoke the Greek tragedies. In later glow of truth .... I admire Norma’s melodic las sang the sixtieth of her ninety Normas.
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 6
Though not unconditionally or universally this occasion, there are none of the vocal chromatic scale has an iridescent, pearly qual-
accepted, she was already La Scala’s most exaggerations or eccentricities, such as the ity, and the concluding phrase, “nel ciel,” is
renowned soprano. In 1955, Callas was abuse of glottal attacks or heavily accentu- sung as in a dream. The contrast between
at the pinnacle of her artistic creativeness, ated chest notes, which can be heard in the Norma’s stentorian public statements in
maturity, and persuasiveness. The evening Mexico City performance of May 23, 1950, the following recitative (“Fine al rito”) and
of December 7 was hardly an ordinary one; or the better known studio recording made intimate thoughts (“Ma... punirlo il cor non
the performance had probably the most im- in April and May 1954 for EMI. Instead, sa”) is established with particular care. The
pressive cast ever assembled for this opera, there is an exquisite balance between vocal cabaletta is performed in a gentler and more
and it was given in honor of the President registers and great smoothness of tone and balanced way than before, and contains finely
of the Italian Republic. The production line – certainly more in accordance with contrasted sections; compare the amorous
was by Margherita Wallmann, and the sets Bellini’s early ottocento style. The phrase “Pace sweetness of “Ah! bello a me ritorna del rag-
were designed by Salvatore Fiume; both had v’intimo, e il sacro vischio io mieto,” with a gio tuo sereno” (“ah, return to me, beautiful,
worked with Callas during an acclaimed and silky interpolated A-flat, is a good example of with your serene gaze”) with the surge of
historical series of Cherubini’s Medea at La the aforementioned refinement. “Casta diva,” energy in the subsequent phrase, “E vita nel
Scala two years earlier. The theatre was richly taken at a very slow pace, exudes visionary tuo seno, e patria e cielo avrò” (“and I will
ornamented with floral decorations designed calmness and repose. The execution of many have life, a homeland, and heaven in your
by Pierre Balmain, and the jewelry worn by delicate vocal ornaments is exemplary, and breast”). The agility of Callas’ vocal line is
the ladies in the audience was exceptionally the legato is impeccable; both were indeed remarkable, the power and security of her vo-
dazzling. Maria Callas was in splendid vocal prominent features in Callas’ singing of bel cal attacks (including two perfect high Cs) are
form, and gave what is arguably her finest canto roles. If her vocal caressing of the ca- extraordinary. Callas’ impressive rendition of
recorded portrayal of Bellini’s Druid heroine. vatina’s lines is not as magically suave as in the whole scene, admittedly one of the most
As the recording demonstrates, Cal- the 1954 studio version, and Callas’ breath taxing music for any dramatic coloratura so-
las’ voice is in remarkable shape from the slightly betrays her at the end of the initial prano, has rarely been approached, let alone
start of the opening recitative – firm, full phrase, this is more than compensated by the equaled, by others. Callas herself may not
and homogenous in all registers, imposing near-perfect  fioriturebetween the verses, an have been able to achieve a finer balance be-
solemn authority, but at the same time ca- impressively powerful fortissimo ascent to a tween various vocal and interpretive aspects
pable of creamy softness and extraordinary rock-solid B-flat (repeated even more impres- of the entire section from “Sediziose voci” to
plasticity of phrasing. She has considerably sively in the second verse), and a beautifully “Ah! bello a me ritorna,” judging from her
refined her singing of the opening recitative vocalized cadenza with a subtle diminuendo twelve interpretations of this music recorded
since her earlier Norma  performances. On on the climactic B-flat. The descending between July 1949 and May 1965.
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 7
The recitative with Clotilde at the onset finitesimal ritardando at the word itself. Her non tremare, o perfido” and barely suppressed
of the next Norma’s scene, with its emotion- tone is magically sweet and tender at “Oh! fury of “pei figli tuoi,” Callas’ reaches one the
ally complex and contrasting sections, always cari accenti!” This is one of the rare moments peaks of dramatic power in this performance,
drew a powerful dramatic response from in Callas’ characterization when her voice expressing Norma’s raging emotions with
Callas. This performance is no exception. acquires a brighter, almost girlish quality – fierce intensity, yet without making any com-
In contrast to the earlier interpretations, Callas’ fine artistic instincts led her to evoke promise in the vocal line. The incisiveness of
certain lines such as (“amo in un punto Norma’s first awakening to love by a striking her phrasing in “O di qual sei tu vittima” is
ed odio i figli miei” – “I love and hate my change of vocal coloration and concomitant impressive, as is the commanding authority
children at the same time”) are now infused soft phrasing. The girlish-like quality then of the simple “Fermati!” or “Seguilo!” in the
with sadness rather than anger, and the tone changes to warm compassion and under- following recitative. In the feverishly exciting,
of bittersweet regret this Norma expresses at standing as Norma tells Adalgisa “Oh! Tergi albeit extensively cut finale, Callas rises to an
the thought of being a mother of two illegiti- il pianto... Avrò pietade” (“Shed your tears... interpolated and prolonged, perfectly pitched
mate children (“Nol fossi!” – “Would I were I will have pity”). Absent is every trace of and penetrating high D, instantly dominat-
not [their mother]!”) is more heartrending harshness that could creep into Callas’ voice ing the other soloists, orchestra, and off-stage
than ever. The character’s private anguish in the cabaletta “Ah sì, fa core, abbracciami” chorus. Despite the cuts in the score chosen
and suppressed despair is thus conveyed in a (such as in the 1954 studio recording); her for this performing version, this passage has
quieter, more dignified and noble way – an tone here is that of a tender and supportive rarely been as thrillingly performed as in this
example of how less in dramatic interpreta- friend. Norma’s graceful lines are nimbly and recording, and the public’s wildly enthusiastic
tion may often mean more. Both Callas and expertly sung, and with much beauty of tone. reaction is quite appropriate.
Simionato give an infinitely subtler account As if this were not enough, Callas crowns Callas’ voice acquires calm determination,
of the first Norma-Adalgisa scene than in her verse with a stunning diminuendo on a creating an illusion of inner peace in the scene
their first Norma together (Mexico City, May sustained high C, to which the public reacts where Norma contemplates to murder her
23, 1950); Simionato’s progress in dramatic immediately with audible gasps of admira- children. This mood is suddenly broken by
expressiveness and shaping of Adalgisa’s lines tion. Simionato responds enthusiastically, the tragic “I figli uccido!” (“I am killing my
is particularly noticeable. As always, Callas and the two voices blend harmoniously in own children!”), filled with such heartrending
sets a wistful atmosphere of reverie with her the final cadenza. As Pollione enters the sorrow that it would hardly leave any listener
dreamlike rendition of “Oh rimembranza;” stage and the truth is finally revealed, Cal- indifferent to Norma’s drama, or sincerity of
this time, the magic is enhanced by a slight las’ Norma becomes a fearsome, wounded Callas’ interpretation. Apart from a note or
pause before the word “fui” in “io fui così lioness. From the open anger of “tremi” in two, the great sorrowful cantilena “Teneri
rapita al sol mirarlo in volto” and the in- “E per chi tu tremi?” to the menace of “No, figli” is sung to perfection; rarely has beauty
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 8
of tone and seemingly interminable legato famous middle section of the duet, “Mira, o Pollione – secretly shrinking in horror at the
been wedded to such poignancy of dramatic Norma,” is as haunting and beautiful as ever. thought of attempting to kill her children
expression. Some moments later, one can As in the previous duet, Simionato proves again (“... vedi, vedi a che son giunta”), yet
clearly hear Callas gasping in horror a second to be a most responsive partner. The final trying to summon the forces for this dread-
before the final big outcry, “Ah no! Son miei phrase of the middle section, sung  pianis- ful act by an unusually long dwelling on the
figli! Miei figli,” followed by tormented sob- simo and with a miraculous reserve of breadth word “dimenticar.” By that point, all the
bing. The human side of Norma has finally by Callas, apparently lingers on forever. Im- poise is gone; Norma is desperate. Her only
won, and it is Callas’ gift of an inborn tragé- mediately before the concluding cabaletta means of holding an upper hand is to take
dienne that makes this victory so touchingly – sung with brilliance and vocal richness revenge on Adalgisa; this finally produces
credible. Incidentally, the present CD edition by both artists – Norma’s phrase “Trovo an effect (and with what gloating pleasure
offers a rare opportunity to hear an authentic un’amica ancor” (“I have found a friend Callas throws “È tardi!” into the pleading
recording of Norma’s lines starting with “Di again”) has probably never been colored with Pollione’s face). Both she and Del Monaco
Pollion son figli” and ending immediately a more tender sisterly affection than here. provide an exciting conclusion to this mighty,
before “Feriam!” Marred by loud radio inter-      In the last scene, Norma’s new dream of difficult encounter. But the most thrilling
ference, this snippet of the original La Scala happiness with Pollione (in which Callas and sublime moment in this performance is
broadcast was more often than not replaced poetically sails to one of her smoothest and to occur several moments later, when Norma
on other labels by the corresponding portion most beautiful piano  high Cs) is brutally confesses her guilt before the summoned
from a different Callas performance (the RAI shattered by the news brought by Clotilde. Druid crowd with the simple declaration
Rome concert version of June 29, 1955). However, for all the vehemence of Callas/ “It is I.” While Callas sings an extraordinar-
Callas’ singing of the duet “Deh! con te Norma’s reaction, culminating in a tower- ily long, soft and finely spun “Son io,” she
li prendi” brings an extraordinary display of ing fortissimo high C, the predominant tone is slowly takes off the crown-like laurel wreath
vocal lights and shadows. Note the transpar- that of frustration rather than thirst for blood from her head and lets it fall to the ground,
ent beauty of her pronunciation of “serbati,” and vengeance. The rest of the opera belongs conveying Norma’s feeling of unworthiness
“lasci” and “abbandonati,” the urgency of principally to the soprano and the tenor; both with supreme dignity. Vocal expression and
“Adalgisa, deh ti muova...” or the meltingly are coldly formal, almost business-like in the acting are in perfect symbiosis here, reflect-
suppliant tone of “tanto strazio del mio cor,” duet’s opening section. Soon, however, Cal- ing Norma’s hesitance and shame, but also
containing a momentary pause (dramatically las conveys Norma’s underlying anxiety with a sudden sense of relief. These stunningly
telling and infinitely touching) between “mio” an impatient “Giura!” By “Non sai tu che ai effective achievements on three different
and “cor.” The legendary bittersweet quality, figli in core...” all pretence is dropped. It is a levels – vocal, dramatic, and acting – are all
invariably a feature of Callas’ singing in the hurt mother and betrayed lover that talks to fused together in a single artistic statement,
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 9
generating a moment unique in the history of in which humanity, dignity and compassion, to the finesses of the  bel canto style. Still,
operatic performance. The effect was so strik- rather than hurt, jealousy or vindictiveness, he is more than a worthy partner. The bass
ing in its emotional power that the audience are given a prominent place. It is a subtly Nicola Zaccaria, adequately cast as Oroveso,
collectively gasped in admiration and awe. chiseled and extraordinarily expressive por- is in superior vocal and dramatic form to his
The French critic Jacques Bourgeois related trayal of Bellini’s complex heroine. It can commercial recording of the role with Callas
to Michael Scott what happened in another also be viewed as the best amalgam of all (EMI 1960). The tenor Giuseppe Zampieri
of those 1955-56 Norma performances at La Callas’ recorded Normas: beauty of tone and shows, with only a few phrases in a single ap-
Scala: “In the last act [she] took a fantastically timbre, solid vocal technique, exemplary bel pearance, that he is no ordinary comprimario
long silent pause of seven or eight seconds canto  style, and dramatic intensity and singer. He had already sung the last scene
before she removed her crown of laurels and intelligence that eclipse all other versions.  of Lucia di Lammermoor in Berlin, replacing
sang ‘Son io.’ The public acclamation was      Simionato is a vocally luxuriant Adalgisa, an indisposed Giuseppe di Stefano in the
sensational and went on seemingly endlessly and her command of Bellini’s intricate lines second of the two famous Callas-Karajan Ber-
before the opera could resume.” In the opera’s is worthy of every praise. Her mature, even lin Lucias (October 2, 1955), and would soon
finale, Callas is at the peak of inspiration, matronly sound, however, lacks the necessary assume leading tenor roles. Finally, the mezzo
providing countless moments of rare poign- youthful quality, which is indeed needed Gabriella Carturan, sings the relatively brief
ancy and musical eloquence. To cite but two for Adalgisa’s character. On the other hand, role of Norma’s confidante with rare feeling
examples, the phrase “Sotterra ancora sarò Simionato is certainly capable of subtle vo- and vocal warmth, defying the usual classi-
con te,” with the diminuendo on the long cal shading (such as in the phrase “... mi fication of operatic roles as “big” or “small.”
held “con” and the slight pause before “te” ripete suono” in Adalgisa’s opening scene),      This landmark performance of Bell-
has acquired a compelling new depth, and as well as dramatic authority. The contrast ini’s  Norma has been issued here in the
the always touching plea to Oroveso, “Deh! between hushed asides (such as “Ciel! Così clearest and most articulate sound ever –
non volerli vittime,” gloriously sung and parlar l’ascolto”) and moments of resolution unprocessed, unadulterated, and natural. In
most emotively interpreted, hardly leaves (“Seguir ti voglio!”), to cite but two examples addition, this multimedia CD edition offers
a dry eye after the final “abbi di lor, di lor in the Act I duet, is admirably realized; in this numerous and rare photographs from the
pieta.” It is no exaggeration to state that Cal- respect, she can be considered Callas’ equal. production, video footage, as well as scans
las’ interpretation of this music, and indeed Mario del Monaco, singing the role of Pol- of the original program, playbill, and news-
the entire role, can be considered supreme. lione for the second time in his career, exhib- paper reviews. We are fortunate to have this
     In no other live performance of Callas’ its an excitingly heroic timbre, homogeneity historical recording finally presented in the
Norma can one hear as many moments of of registers, firm top notes, if a somewhat way it deserves.
pure interpretive magic. This is a character generalized portrayal and an indifference © Milan Petkovic, 2004
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 10
Libretto in Italian
The words in red indicate portions not present in the original master tape

ATTO I
Norma [Sinfonia]
Tre volte annunzi il mistico
Bronzo sacerdotal.

Tragedia lirica in quattro atti Druidi


Scena prima Il sacro vischio a mietere Norma
Libretto di Felice Romani verrà?
Musica di Vincenzo Bellini Foresta sacra de’ Druidi; in mezzo, la
Personaggi: quercia d’Irminsul, al piè della quale Oroveso
vedesi la pietra druidica che serve Sì, Norma.
Polione, proconsole di Roma nelle Gallie – tenore d’altare.
Oroveso, capo dei Druidi – basso Colli in distanza sparsi di selve. È notte; Druidi
Norma, druidessa, figlia di Oroveso – soprano lontani fuochi trapelano dai boschi. Dell’aura tua profetica,
Adalgisa, giovine ministra del tempio d’Irminsul – mezzosoprano Terribil Dio, l’informa: 
Clotilde, confidente di Norma – mezzosoprano [Introduzione] Sensi, o Irminsul, le inspira 
D’odio ai Romani e d’ira, 
Flavio, amico di Pollione – tenore
Al suono di marcia religiosa difilano le Sensi che questa infrangano
Smeton, paggio e musico della Regina – contralto schiere de’ Galli, indi la processione de’ Pace per noi mortal.
Due fanciulli, figli di Norma e di Pollione Druidi. Per ultimo Oroveso coi maggiori
Personaggi che non parlano sacerdoti. Oroveso
Druidi – Bardi – Eubagi – Sacerdotesse – Guerrieri e soldati Galli Sì: parlerà terribile
Oroveso Da queste querce antiche: 
La scena è nelle Gallie, nella foresta sacra e nel Tempio d’Irminsul Ite sul colle, o Druidi, Sgombre farà le Gallie
Ite a spiar ne’ cieli  Dall’aquile nemiche: 
Quando il suo disco argenteo E del suo scudo il suono,
La nuova Luna sveli; Pari al fragor del tuono,
Ed il primier sorriso Nella città dei Cesari
Del virginal suo viso Tremendo eccheggerà.
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 11
Tutti A me non puoi Me la presenta il mio rimorso Flavio 
Luna, ti affretta a sorgere! Far tu rampogna, ch’io mertar non estremo... Odi?... I suoi riti a compiere
Norma all’altar verrà. senta; Un sogno... Norma dal tempio move.
Ma nel mio core è spenta
Si allontanano tutti e si perdono nella La prima fiamma, e un Dio la spense, Flavio Voci (lontane)
foresta: di quando in quando si odono un Dio Ah! narra. Sorta è la Luna, o Druidi,
ancora le loro voci risuonare in Nemico al mio riposo: ai piè mi veggo Ite, profani, altrove.
lontananza.  L’abisso aperto, e in lui m’avvento io Pollione
stesso. In rammentarlo io tremo. Flavio
Escono quindi da un lato Flavio e Meco all’altar di Venere Vieni, fuggiam... sorprendere,
Pollione guardinghi e ravvolti nelle loro Flavio Era Adalgisa in Roma, Scoprire alcun ti può.
toghe. Altra ameresti tu? Cinta di bende candide, 
Sparsa di fior la chioma. Pollione 
Scena seconda Pollione Udia d’Imene i cantici, Traman congiure i Barbari...
[Recitativo e Cavatina] Parla sommesso. Vedea fumar gli incensi, Ma io li preverrò...
Un’altra, sì, Adalgisa... Eran rapiti i sensi Me protegge, me difende
Pollione e Flavio. Tu la vedrai... fior d’innocenza e riso Di voluttade e amor. Un poter maggior di loro.
Di candore e di amor. Ministra al Quando fra noi terribile È il pensier di lei che adoro;
Pollione tempio Viene a locarsi un’ombra: È l’amor che m’infiammò.
Svanir le voci –  Di questo Iddio di sangue, ella vi L’ampio mantel druidico Di quel Dio che a me contende
e dell’orrenda selva appare Come un vapor l’ingombra: Quella vergine celeste
Libero è il varco. Come raggio di stella in ciel turbato. Cade sull’ara il folgore, Arderò le rie foreste,
D’un vel si copre il giorno, L’empio altare abbatterò.
Flavio Flavio  Muto si spande intorno
In quella selva è morte. Misero amico! e amato Un sepolcrale orror. (Partono rapidamente)
Norma tel disse. Sei tu del pari? Più l’adorata vergine 
Io non mi trovo accanto; Scena terza
Pollione Pollione N’odo da lunge un gemito,
Profferisti un nome Io n’ho fidanza. Misto de’ figli al pianto... [Coro] 
Che il cor m’agghiaccia. Ed una voce orribile
Flavio Eccheggia in fondo al tempio: Druidi dalfondo, Sacerdotesse,
Flavio E l’ira Norma così fa scempio Guerrieri, Bardi, Eubagi, Sacrificatori,
Oh! che di’ tu? l’amante!... Non temi tu di Norma? Di amante traditor. e in mezzo a tutti Oroveso.
La madre de’ tuoi figli!...           
Pollione (Squilla il sacro bronzo.) Coro generale
Pollione Atroce, orrenda, Norma viene: le cinge la chioma
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 12
La verbena ai misteri sacrata; Si brandisca una volta. Senza nube e senza vel. E patria, e cielo avrò.)
In sua man come luna falcata                
L’aurea falce diffonde splendor. Norma Norma Oroveso e Coro
Ella viene: e la stella di Roma E infranta cada! Tempra tu de’ cori ardenti, Sei lento, si, sei lento
Sbigottita si copre di un velo; Infranta, sì, se alcun di voi snudarla Tempra ancor lo zelo audace, O giorno di vendetta;
Irminsul corre i campi del cielo Anzi tempo pretende. Ancor non sono Spargi in terra quella pace Ma irato il Dio t’affretta
Qual cometa foriera d’orror. Della nostra vendetta i dì maturi: Che regnar tu fai nel ciel. Che il Tebro condannò.
Delle sicambre scuri sono i pili romani     
Scena quarta ancor più forti. Oroveso e Coro        Norma 
[Scena e Cavatina] Spargi in terra quella pace (Ah! riedi ancora
Tutti  Che regnar tu fai nel ciel. Qual eri allora,
Norma in mezzo alle sue ministre. Ha E che ti annunzia il Dio? parla: quai         Quando il cor,
sciolti i capegli, la fronte circondata di sorti? Norma Ti diedi allora.)
una corona di verbena, ed armata la         Fine al rito; e il sacro bosco
mano d’una falce d’oro. Si colloca sulla Norma Sia disgombro dai profani. (Norma parte, e tutti la seguono in
pietra druidica, e volge gli occhi Io nei volumi arcani Quando il Nume irato e fosco ordine)
d’intorno come inspirata. Tutti fanno Leggo del cielo; in pagine di morte Chiegga il sangue dei Romani
silenzio. Della superba Roma è scritto il Dal druidico delubro Scena quinta
  nome... La mia voce tuonerà. [Scena e Duetto]
Norma  Ella un giorno morrà; ma non per voi.       
Sediziose voci, Morrà pei vizi suoi; Oroveso e Coro Adalgisa sola.
Voci di guerra avvi chi alzar si attenta Qual consunta morrà. L’ora aspettate, Tuoni; e un sol del popol empio    
Presso all’ara del Dio? V’ha chi L’ora fatal che compia il gran decreto. Non isfugga al giusto scempio; Adalgisa
presume Pace v’intimo... e il sacro vischio io E primier da noi percosso Sgombra è la sacra selva,
Dettar responsi alla veggente Norma, mieto. Il Proconsole cadrà. Compiuto il rito. Sospirar non vista
E di Roma affrettar il fato arcano?...         Alfin poss’io, qui, dove a me s’offerse
Ei non dipende da potere umano. (Falcia il vischio le Sacerdotesse lo Norma La prima volta quel fatal Romano, 
        raccolgono in canestri di vimini. Norma Cadrà... punirlo io posso... Che mi rende rubella al tempio, al
Oroveso si avanza e stende le braccia al cielo. La (Ma punirlo il cor non sa. Dio...
E fino a quando oppressi luna splende in tutta la sua luce. Tutte si Ah! bello a me ritorna Fosse l’ultima almen! - Vano desio!
Ne vorrai tu? Contaminate assai prostrano.) Del fido amor primiero; Irresistibil forza
Non fur le patrie selve e i templi aviti E contro il mondo intiero Qui mi strascina... e di quel caro
Dall’aquile latine? Omai di Brenno Norma, poi Oroveso e Coro Difesa a te sarò.  aspetto
Oziosa non può starsi la spada. Casta diva, che inargenti Ah! bello a me ritorna Il cor si pasce... e di sua cara voce
Queste sacre antiche piante, Del raggio tuo sereno; L’aura che spira mi ripete il suono.
Tutti        A noi volgi il bel sembiante E vita nel tuo seno,
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 13
(corre a prostrarsi sulla pietra (si allontana da lui.) Pollione Adalgisa 
d’Irminsul) Ciel più puro, e Dei migliori (Ciel! così parlar l’ascolto...
Pollione T’offro in Roma, ov’io mi reco. Sempre, ovunque, al tempio istesso...
Deh! proteggimi, o Dio!: perduta io E vuoi fuggirmi? e dove Con quegli occhi, con quel volto
son. Fuggir vuoi tu ch’io non ti segua? Adalgisa (colpita) Fin sull’ara il veggo impresso...
Gran Dio, abbi pietà: perduta io son. Parti... forse? Ei trionfa del mio pianto,
Adalgisa Del mio duol vittoria ottien...
Scena sesta Al tempio, Pollione Ciel! mi togli al dolce incanto,
(Pollione, Flavio e detta) Ai sacri altari che sposar giurai. Ai nuovi albòri... O l’error perdona almen.)

Pollione (a Flavio) Pollione Adalgisa   Pollione


(Eccola! va mi lascia. Ragion non Gli altari!... e il nostro amor?... Parti! ed io?... Adalgisa!
odo.)
Adalgisa Pollione Adalgisa
(Flavio parte) Io l’obbliai. Tu vieni meco. Ah! mi risparmi
De’ tuoi riti è Amor più santo... Tua pietà maggior cordoglio.
Adalgisa (veggendolo, sbigottita) Pollione A lui cedi, ah! cedi a me.
Oh! tu qui! Va, crudele; e al Dio spietato Pollione  
Offri in dono il sangue mio. Adalgisa (più commossa) Adalgisa! e vuoi lasciarmi?...
Pollione Tutto, ah! tutto ei sia versato, Ah! non dirlo...
Che veggo? Ma lasciarti non poss’io: Adalgisa
Piangevi tu? Sol promessa al Dio tu fosti... Pollione Io... Ah!... non posso... seguir ti
Ma il tuo core a me si diè... Il dirò tanto voglio.
Adalgisa Ah! non sai quel che mi costi Che ascoltato io sia da te.
Pregava. Ah! t’allontana, Perch’io mai rinunzi a te. Pollione  
Pregar mi lascia. (con tutta la tenerezza) Qui... domani, all’ora istessa...
Adalgisa Verrai tu?
Pollione E tu pure, ah! tu non sai Vieni in Roma, ah! vieni, o cara...
Un Dio tu preghi atroce, Quanto costi a me dolente! Dove è amore, è gioia, è vita: Adalgisa
Crudele, avverso al tuo desire e al mio. All’altare che oltraggiai Inebbriam nostr’alme a gara Ne fo promessa.
O mia diletta! il Dio Lieta andava ed innocente... Del contento a cui ne invita...
Che invocar devi, è Amore... Il pensiero al cielo ergea, Voce in cor parlar non senti, Pollione
Il mio Dio vedeva in ciel... Che promette eterno ben? Giura.
Adalgisa Or per me spergiura e rea Ah! dà fede ai dolci accenti...
Amor! deh! taci... Cielo e Dio ricopre un vel. Sposo tuo mi stringi al sen. Adalgisa
Ch’io più non t’oda. Giuro.
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 14
Pollione Norma Troppo orrendo è un tal dubbio... pugnai
Oh! mio contento! Non so... diversi affetti Alcun s’avanza, Per soffocarlo... ogni mia forza ci
Ti rammenta... Strazian quest’alma. Amo in un punto Va... li cela. vinse...
ed odio Ogni rimorso. Ah! tu non sai pur
Adalgisa I figli miei... Soffro in vederli, e soffro (Clotilde parte coi fanciulli. Norma li dianzi
Ah! mi rammento… S’io non li veggo. Non provato mai abbraccia) Qual giuramento io fea!... fuggir dal
Al mio Dio sarò spergiura; Sento un diletto ed un dolore insieme tempio... 
Ma fedele a te sarò. D’esser lor madre. Scena seconda Tradir l’altare a cui son io legata,
Adalgisa e Norma. Abbandonar la patria...
Pollione Clotilde
L’amor tuo mi rassicura; E madre sei?... Norma Norma
E il tuo Dio sfidar saprò. Adalgisa! Ahi! sventurata!
Norma Del tuo primier mattino
(Partono.) Nol fossi! Adalgisa (da lontano) Già turbato è il sereno?... E come, e
(Alma, costanza!) quando
Scena settima Clotilde  Nacque tal fiamma in te?
[Scena e Duetto] Qual rio contrasto!... Norma
T’inoltra, o giovinetta, Adalgisa
Abitazione di Norma. Norma T’inoltra. E perché tremi? Udii che Da un solo sguardo
Imaginar non puossi. grave Da un sol sospiro, nella sacra selva,
Norma e Clotilde recano per mano due O mia Clotilde!... richiamato al Tebro A me segreto palesar tu voglia. A piè dell’ara ov’io pregava il Dio.
piccoli fanciulli. È Pollione. Tremai… sul labbro mio
Adalgisa Si arrestò la preghiera: e tutta assorta
Clotilde È ver. Ma, deh! ti spoglia In quel leggiadro aspetto, un altro
ATTO II E teco ei parte? Della celeste austerità che splende cielo
Negli occhi tuoi… Dammi coraggio, Mirar credetti, un altro cielo in lui...
Scena prima Norma ond’io
Ei tace il suo pensiero. Oh! s’ei fuggir Senza alcun velo ti palesi il core. Norma (distratta)
Norma tentasse... (Si prostra. Norma la solleva) (Oh! rimembranza!
Vanne, e li cela entrambi. – Oltre E qui lasciarmi?... se obbliar potesse Io fui così rapita
l’usato Questi suoi figli!... Norma al sol mirarlo in volto.)
Io tremo d’abbracciarli... Clotilde Mi abbraccia, e parla... Che ti affligge?
E il credi tu? Adalgisa
Clotilde Norma Adalgisa (dopo un momento Ma non mi ascolti tu?
E qual ti turba Non l’oso. d’esitazione)
Strano timor, che i figli tuoi respingi? È troppo tormentoso, Amore... Non t’irritar... Lunga stagion Norma 
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 15
Segui... t’ascolto. Norma I lunghi miei tormenti. Ah! sì.
(L’incanto suo fu il mio.) Tu rendi a me la vita,
Adalgisa Se non è colpa amor. Pollione (inoltrandosi ad Adalgisa)
Sola, furtiva, al tempio Adalgisa Misera te! che festi?
Io l’aspettai sovente; Io fui perduta, e il sono; [Scena e Terzetto – Finale I]
Ed ogni dì più fervida D’uopo ho del tuo perdono. Adalgisa 
Crebbe la fiamma ardente. Norma  Io!...
Norma Ma dì, l’amato giovane
Norma Ah! tergi il pianto: avrò pietade. Quale fra noi si noma? Norma (a Pollione)
(Io stessa arsi così.) Tremi tu? e per chi?
Adalgisa Adalgisa
Adalgisa Deh! tu mi reggi e guida, Culla ei non ebbe in Gallia... (Pochi momenti di silenzio. Pollione è
Vieni, ei dicea, concedi Me rassicura, o sgrida, Roma gli è patria... confuso, Adalgisa tremante, e Norma
Ch’io mi ti prostri ai piedi... Salvami da me stessa, fremente)
Salvami dal mio cor. Norma
Norma Roma! Norma
(Oh! rimembranza! io fui così Norma Ed è? prosegui... Oh, non tremare, o perfido,
sedotta.) Ah! tergi il pianto: No, non tremar per lei...
Te non lega eterno nodo all’ara. Scena terza Essa non è colpevole,
Adalgisa Il malfattor tu sei...
Lascia che l’aura io spiri Adalgisa Pollione e dette. Trema per te, fellone...
De’ dolci tuoi sospiri Ah! ripeti, o ciel, ripetimi Pei figli tuoi... per me...
Del tuo bel crin le anella, Sì lusinghieri accenti! Adalgisa
Dammi poter baciar. Il mira. Adalgisa (tremante)
Norma Che ascolto?... ah! Deh parla...
Norma Ah! sì, fa core abbracciami. Norma Taci! t’arretri!... ahimè!
(Oh! cari accenti! Perdono e ti compiango. Ei! Pollion!...
Così li proferia... Dai voti tuoi ti libero, (Si copre il volto colle mani. Norma
Così trovava del mio cor la via.) I tuoi legami io frango. Adalgisa l’afferra per un braccio, e la costringe a
Al caro oggetto unita Qual ira? mirar Pollione; egli la segue)
Adalgisa Vivrai felice ancor.
Dolci qual arpa armonica Norma Norma
M’eran le sue parole; Adalgisa Costui, costui dicesti?... Oh, di qual sei tu vittima
Negli occhi suoi sorridere Ripeti, o ciel, ripetimi Ben io compresi? Crudo e funesto inganno!
Vedea più bello un sole. Sì lusinghieri accenti: Pria che costui conoscere
Per te, per te s’acquetano Adalgisa T’era il morir men danno.
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 16
Fonte d’eterne lagrime Vieni... Questo amor che mi governa Mi cadrà il tuo Nume al piè.
Egli a te pur dischiuse; È di te, di me maggiore...
Come il mio cor deluse, Adalgisa (dividendosi da lui) Dio non v’ha che mali inventi (Norma respinge d’un braccio Pollione
L’empio il tuo cor tradì. Mi lascia, scostati... De’ miei mali più cocenti... e gli accenna di uscire. Pollione si
Sposo sei tu infedele! Maledetto io fui quel giorno allontana furente.)
Pollione Che il destin t’offerse a me.
Norma! de’ tuoi rimproveri Pollione (con tutto il fuoco)
Segno non farmi adesso. Qual io mi fossi obblio... Adalgisa (supplichevole a Norma) ATTO III
Deh! a questa afflitta vergine L’amante tuo son io. Ah! non fia, non fia ch’io costi
Sia respirar concesso... È mio destino amarti... Al tuo cor si rio dolore...  Scena prima
Copra a quell’alma ingenua, Destin costei lasciar. Sian frapposti e mari e monti Interno dell’abitazione di Norma.
Copra nostr’onte un velo... Fra me sempre e il traditore... 
Giudichi solo il cielo Norma (reprimendo il furore) Soffocar saprò i lamenti, Da una parte un letto romano coperto
Qual più di noi fallì. Ebben: lo compi... e parti. Divorar i miei tormenti: di pelle d’orso. I figli di Norma sono
Morirò perché ritorno addormentati.
Adalgisa (ad Adalgisa) Faccia il crudo ai figli, a te.
Oh! qual mistero orribile! [Introduzione]
Trema il mio cor di chiedere, Seguilo. (Squillano i sacri bronzi del Tempio.
Trema d’udire il vero...  Norma è chiamata ai riti.) Norma con una lampa e un pugnale
Tutta comprendo, o misera, Adalgisa (supplichevole) alla mano. Siede e posa la lampa sopra
Tutta la mia sventura... Ah! No, giammai; ah! pria morir. Druidi (coro interno) una tavola. È pallida, contraffatta.
Essa non ha misura, Norma all’ara! In tuon feroce
S’ei m’ingannò così. Norma (fissa Pollione sino che D’Irminsul tuonò la voce, Norma 
prorompe) Norma, Norma al sacro altar! Dormono entrambi...
Norma  Vanne, sì: mi lascia, indegno, non vedran la mano 
Perfido! Figli obblia, promesse, onore... Norma Che li percuote.
Maledetto dal mio sdegno Ah! suon di morte!... Non pentirti, o core; 
Pollione Non godrai d’un empio amore. Va, per te qui pronta ell’è. Viver non ponno...
Or basti! Te sull’onde, e te sui venti Qui supplizio, e in Roma 
Seguiranno mie furie ardenti, Adalgisa Obbrobio avrian,
(per allontanarsi) Mia vendetta e notte e giorno Ah! suon di morte s’intima a te, peggior supplizio assai... 
Ruggirà d’intorno a te. Va, per te qui pronta ell’è. Schiavi d’una matrigna.
Norma Ah! no: giammai. 
Fermati. Pollione (disperatamente) Pollione
Fremi pure, e angoscia eterna Ah! qual suon!... (Sorge risoluta) 
Pollione (afferra Adalgisa) Pur m’imprechi il tuo furore! Sì, la sprezzo, sì, ma prima
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 17
Muoiano, sì. (fa un passo e si Adalgisa a me guida. Norma  Tanto strazio del mio cor.
ferma) Non posso  Odi. - Sanar quest’aura 
Avvicinarmi: un gel mi prende, e in Clotilde Contaminata dalla mia presenza Adalgisa 
fronte  Ella qui presso   Ho risoluto, né trar meco io posso  Norma! ah! Norma, ancora amata,  
Mi si solleva il crin. - I figli uccido!...  Solitaria si aggira, e prega e plora. Questi infelici... a te gli affido... Madre ancor sarai per me. 
Teneri figli ... pur dianzi  Tienti i figli. Ah! non fia mai  
Delizia mia ... essi nel cui sorriso  Norma  Adalgisa Ch’io mi tolga a queste arene.
Il perdono del ciel mirar credei!...  Va. - (Clotilde parte) Oh cielo!
Ed io li svenerò?... di che son rei?  Si emendi il mio fallo... e poi... si A me gli affidi? Norma 
mora. Tu giurasti...
(Risoluta)  Norma
Scena terza Nel romano campo  Adalgisa
Di Pollion son figli:  [Recitativo e Duetto] Guidali a lui... che nominar non oso. Sì, giurai... 
Adalgisa e Norma. Ma il tuo bene, il sol tuo bene. 
(Pausa)  Adalgisa Vado al campo, ed all’ingrato 
Adalgisa (con timore)  Oh! che mai chiedi? Tutti io reco i tuoi lamenti: 
Ecco il delitto. Essi per me son morti:  Me chiami, o Norma!... (sbigottita)  La pietà che mi hai destato 
Muoian per lui:  Qual ti copre il volto  Norma Parlerà sublimi accenti... 
E non sia pena che la sua somigli.  Tristo pallor? Sposo Spera, ah, spera... amor, natura 
Feriam... Ti sia men crudo Ridestarsi in lui vedrai... 
Norma io gli perdono, e moro. Del suo cor son io secura... 
(s’incammina verso il letto: alza il Pallor di morte. - Io tutta  Norma ancor vi regnerà.
pugnale; essa dà un grido inorridita... i L’onta mia ti rivelo. Adalgisa 
figli si svegliano) Una preghiera sola  Sposo!... Ah! mai... Norma 
Odi, e l’adempi, se pietà pur merta  Ch’io lo preghi? Ah! no: giammai.
Ah! no... son miei figli!... Miei figli!  Il presente mio duolo... e il duol Norma
futuro. Pei figli suoi t’imploro. Adalgisa
(li abbraccia piangendo amaramente)  Deh! con te, con te li prendi...   Norma, ti piega.
Adalgisa Li sostieni, li difendi...  
Olà!... Clotilde! Tutto, tutto io prometto. Non ti chiedo onori e fasci; Norma
A’ tuoi figli ei fian serbati:   No, più non t’odo - parti... va.
Scena seconda Norma Prego sol che i miei non lasci  
Clotilde e Detta. Il giura. Schiavi, abbietti, abbandonati...   Adalgisa 
Basti a te che disprezzata, Mira, o Norma, a’ tuoi ginocchi
Norma Adalgisa Che tradita io fui per te.  Questi cari pargoletti.
Vola...  Il giuro. Adalgisa, deh! ti mova  Ah! pietà di lor ti tocchi
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 18
Se non hai di te pietà. Norma e Adalgisa E in silenzio il cor si appresti  Al fato 
Sì, fino all’ore estreme  La grand’opra a consumar. Piegar la fronte, separarci, e nullo
Norma  Compagna tua m’avrai:  Lasciar sospetto del fallito intento.
Ah! perché la mia costanza Per ricovrarci insieme  Scena seconda
Vuoi scemar con molli affetti? Ampia è la terra assai.  Oroveso, e Detti Coro
Più lusinghe, più speranza, Teco del Fato all’onte  E finger sempre?
Presso a morte un cor non ha. Ferma opporrò la fronte,  Oroveso 
Finché il mio core a battere  Guerrieri! a voi venirne  Oroveso
Adalgisa Io senta sul tuo cor. Credea foriero d’avvenir migliore.  Cruda legge! il sento.
Cedi, deh cedi (partono) Il generoso ardore,  Ah! del Tebro al giogo indegno 
L’ira che in sen vi bolle  Fremo io pure, all’armi anelo; 
Norma Io credea secondar; ma il Dio non Ma nemico è sempre il cielo, 
Ah! lasciami. ATTO IV volle. Ma consiglio è simular.
Ei t’ama.
Scena prima Coro  Coro 
Adalgisa Luogo solitario presso il bosco dei Come? Le nostre selve  Sì, fingiam, se il finger giovi; 
E già sen pente. Druidi, cinto da burroni e da caverne. L’abborrito Proconsole non lascia?  Ma il furore in sen si covi.
In fondo un lago attraversato da un Non riede al Tebro?
Norma   ponte di pietra. Oroveso 
E tu?... Oroveso Divoriamo in cor lo sdegno, 
[Coro e Sortita d’Oroveso] Ma più temuto e fiero Tal che Roma estinto il creda: 
Adalgisa Latino condottiero  Dì verrà, sì, che desto ei rieda 
Lo amai... quest’anima Guerrieri Galli. A Pollion succede. Più tremendo a divampar.
Sol l’amistade or sente.
Coro I Coro  Coro  
Norma   Non partì? E Norma il sa? di pace  Guai per Roma allor che il segno  
O giovinetta!... E vuoi?... E consigliera ancor? Dia dell’armi il sacro altar! 
Coro II
Adalgisa Finora è al campo.  Oroveso (partono)
Renderti i dritti tuoi,  Tutto il dice. I feri carmi,  Invan di Norma
O teco al cielo, agli uomini  Il fragor, dell’armi il suon,  La mente investigai. Scena terza
Giuro celarmi ognor. Delle insegne il ventilar. Tempio d’Irminsul. - Ara da un lato. 
Coro  Norma, indi Clotilde. 
Norma Tutti E che far pensi?
Sì... hai vinto... abbracciami.  Attendiam: un breve inciampo  Norma 
Trovo un’amica ancor. Non ci turbi, non ci arresti;  Oroveso Ei tornerà. Sì! mia fidanza è posta 
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 19
In Adalgisa: ei tornerà pentito,  Dolente implora Strage, sterminio. Norma
Supplichevole, amante. Oh! a tal Di profferir suoi voti. Ella fia pronta. 
pensiero  Tutti Non mai l’altar tremendo 
Sparisce il nuvol nero  Norma E a noi pur dianzi pace Di vittime mancò. - Ma qual tumulto!
Che mi premea la fronte, e il sol Ed egli? S’imponea pel tuo labbro!
m’arride,  Scena quinta
Come del primo amore ai dì felici.  Clotilde Norma Clotilde frettolosa e Detti.
Clotilde! Ed egli Ed ira adesso,
Rapirla giura anco all’altar del Nume. Stragi, furore e morti.  Clotilde
(entra Clotilde) Il cantico di guerra alzate, o forti. Al nostro tempio insulto 
Norma Fece un Romano: nalla sacra chiostra 
Clotilde Troppo il fellon presume.  [Coro] Delle vergini alunne egli fu cólto.
O Norma!... Uopo è d’ardir. Lo previen mia vendetta - e qui di
sangue...  Tutti  Tutti
Norma Sangue roman... scorreran torrenti. Guerra, guerra! Le galliche selve   Un Romano?
Che dici? Quante han querce producon guerrier. 
(Corre all’ara, e batte tre volte lo scudo Qual sul gregge fameliche belve Norma
Clotilde d’Irminsul) Sui Romani van essi a cader. (Che ascolto?
Lassa! Sangue, sangue! Le galliche scuri Se mai foss’egli?)
Coro (di dentro)  Fino al tronco bagnate ne son 
Norma Squilla il bronzo del Dio! Sovra i Flutti del Ligeri impuri, Tutti
Favella. Ei gorgoglia con funebre suon. A noi vien tratto.
Scena quarta Strage, strage, sterminio, vendetta!
Clotilde Accorrono da varie parti Oroveso, i Già comincia, si compie, si affretta.  Norma
Indarno Druidi, i Bardi e le Ministre. A poco a Come biade da falci mietute (E desso!)
Parlò Adalgisa, e pianse. poco il tempio si riempie d’armati. Son di Roma le schiere cadute.
Tronchi i vanni, recisi gli artigli, Scena sesta
Norma Norma si colloca sull’altare. Abbattuta ecco l’aquila al suol.  Pollione fra soldati e Detti.
Ed io fidarmi di lei dovea? A mirar il trionfo dei figli
Di mano uscirmi, e bella   Tutti Ecco il Dio sovra un raggio di sol. Tutti
Del suo dolore presentarsi all’empio  Norma! che fu? Percosso  È Pollion!
Ella tramava. Lo scudo d’Irminsul, quali alla terra  [Recitativo e Duetto]
Decreti intima? Norma
Clotilde Oroveso (Son vendicata adesso.)
Ella ritorna Norma Nè compi il rito, o Norma? 
Al tempio: triste, Guerra, Né la vittima accenni? Oroveso (assai maestoso) 
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 20
Sacrilego nemico, e chi ti spinse  Norma Io lo voglio. Norma (con pianto lacerante) 
A violar queste temute soglie,  (Poss’io sentir pietà!) Sì, sovr’essi alzai la punta... 
A sfidar l’ira d’Irminsul? Pollione Vedi... vedi a che son giunta!... 
Tutti E come? Non ferii, ma tosto... adesso 
Pollione (con fierezza) Ferisci Consumar potrei l’eccesso... 
Ferisci; Norma Un istante... e d’esser madre 
Ma non interrogarmi. (pausa) M’odi. Pel tuo Dio, pe’ figli tuoi...  Mi poss’io dimenticar.
Giurar déi, che d’ora in poi.. 
Norma (svelandosi) Norma Adalgisa fuggirai...  Pollione
Io ferir deggio. Io deggio  All’altar non la torrai...  Ah! crudele, in sen del padre 
Scostatevi. Interrogarlo... investigar qual sia  E la vita io ti perdono...  Il pugnal tu déi vibrar. 
L’insidiata o complice ministra  E non più ti rivedrò.  A me il porgi.
Pollione Che il profan persuase a fallo estremo.  Giura.
Chi veggio? Ite per poco. Norma
Norma! Pollione A te!
Tutti No: sì vil non sono.
Norma (Che far pensa?) Pollione
Sì, Norma. Norma (con furore represso)  Che spento
Pollione Giura, giura! Cada io solo!
Tutti (Io tremo.)
Il sacro ferro impugna, Pollione (con forza) Norma
Vendica il tempio. (Oroveso e il Coro si ritirano. Il tempio Ah! pria morrò. Solo!... Tutti. 
rimane sgombro) I Romani a cento a cento 
Norma (prende il pugnale dalle mani Norma Fian mietuti, fian distrutti... 
di Oroveso)  Scena settima Non sai tu che il mio furore  E Adalgisa...
Sì, feriam. (si arresta) Norma e Pollione Passa il tuo?
Pollione
Tutti Norma Pollione Ahimè!
Tu tremi? In mia man alfin tu sei:  Ch’ei piombi attendo.
Niun potria spezzar tuoi nodi.  Norma
 Norma Io lo posso. Norma Infedele
(Ah! non poss’io.) Non sai tu che ai figli in core   A’ suoi voti...
Pollione Questo ferro...
Tutti Tu nol déi. Pollione
Che fia? Perché t’arresti? Pollione (con grido) Ebben, crudele?
Norma Oh Dio! che intendo?
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 21
Norma (con furore)  Norma Norma Ci vuole uniti in vita e in morte. 
Adalgisa fia punita;  Olà, ministri,Sacerdoti, accorrete. Son io. Sul rogo istesso che mi divora,
Nelle fiamme perirà. Sotterra ancora sarò con te.
Scena ultima Oroveso 
Pollione Tu! Norma! Pollione
Ah! ti prendi la mia vita,  Ritornano Oroveso, i Druidi, i Bardi e i Ah! troppo tardi t’ho conosciuta, 
Ma di lei, di lei pietà. Guerrieri. Norma Sublime donna, io t’ho perduta, 
Io stessa: Il rogo ergete. Col mio rimorso è amor rinato, 
Norma Norma Più disperato, furente egli è.
Preghi alfine? indegno! è tardi.  All’ira vostra  Tutti Moriamo insieme, ah! sì, moriamo; 
Nel suo cor ti vo’ ferire. Nuova vittima io svelo. Una spergiura  (D’orrore io gelo). L’estremo accento sarà ch’io t’amo.
Già mi pasco ne’ tuoi sguardi,  Sacerdotessa i sacri voti infranse, 
Del tuo duol, del suo morire.  Tradì la patria, il Dio degli avi offese. Pollione (crescendo di passione) 
Posso alfine, io posso farti  (Mi manca il cor).
Infelice al par di me. Tutti  Ma tu morendo, non m’aborrire, 
Oh! delitto! oh! furor! La fa palese. Tutti Pria di morire perdona a me.
Pollione Tu delinquente!
Ah! t’appaghi il mio terrore;  Norma Oroveso e Coro
Al tuo piè son io piangente,...  Sì, preparate il rogo. Pollione Oh! in te ritorna, ci rassicura; 
In me sfoga il tuo furore,  Non le credete. Canuto padre te ne scongiura: 
Ma risparmia un’innocente:  Pollione Dì che deliri, dì che tu menti, 
Basti, basti a vendicarti  Oh! ancor ti prego... Norma Che stolti accenti uscir da te.
Ch’io mi sveni innanzi a te. Norma, pietà. Norma non mente. Il Dio severo che qui t’intende 
Se stassi muto, se il tuon sospende, 
[Recitativo e Terzetto - Finale II] Tutti Oroveso Indizio è questo, indizio espresso 
La svela. Oh! mio rossor! Che tanto eccesso punir non de’.
Pollione
Dammi quel ferro! Norma Coro  Oroveso e Coro
Udite. (Io rea  Oh! quale orror!... Norma! Deh Norma! Scòlpati!
Norma L’innocente accusar del fallo mio?) Taci? ... ne ascolti appena?
Che osi? Norma 
Scostati. Tutti Qual cor tradisti, qual cor perdesti  (Norma si troverà vicina a Pollione, che
Parla: chi è dessa? Quest’ora orrenda ti manifesti. solo sente le sue parole)
Pollione Da me fuggire tentasti invano; 
Il ferro, il ferro! Pollione Crudel Romano, tu sei con me. Norma (scuotendosi con un grido) 
Ah! non lo dir. Un nume, un fato di te più forte  Cielo! e i miei figli?
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 22
Pollione Norma (piano ad Oroveso)  Piangi e perdona. Oroveso
Ahi! miseri! oh pena! Son madre... Va, infelice!
Oroveso
Norma (volgendosi a Pollione) Oroveso (colpito) Ha vinto amore. Norma (incamminandosi)
I nostri figli? Madre!! Padre!... addio.
Norma
Pollione Norma Ah! tu perdoni. - Quel pianto il dice.  Pollione
Oh pena! Acquetati...  Io più non chiedo. - Io son felice.  Il tuo rogo, o Norma, è il mio.
Clotilde ha i figli miei...  Contenta il rogo - io ascenderò. Là più santo
Tutti Tu li raccogli... e ai barbari  Incomincia eterno amor.
Norma, sei rea? L’invola insiem con lei... Pollione
Ah! più non chiedo.  Norma (si volge ancora una volta)
Norma (disperatamente) Oroveso  Contento il rogo - io ascenderò. Padre! ... addio!...
Sì, oltre ogni umana idea. No… giammai… va… lasciami.
Oroveso  Oroveso (la guarda)
(come colpita da un’idea, s’incammina Norma  Figlia! Ah! consolarmene - mai non Addio!...
verso il padre. Pollione in tutta questa Ah! padre!... un prego potrò. Sgorga, o pianto; 
scena osserverà con agitazione i ancor. (s’inginocchia)  Sei permesso a un genitor.
movimenti di Norma e Oroveso.) Norma 
(sempre piano ad Oroveso)  Tu mel prometti?...
Tutti FINE
Empia! Deh! Non volerli vittime  Oroveso 
Del mio fatale errore...  Ah! cessa, infelice!…Io tel prometto.
Norma (ad Oroveso)  Deh! non troncar sul fiore 
Tu m’odi. Quell’innocente età.  Coro 
Pensa che son tuo sangue...  Piange!... prega!... che mai spera? 
Oroveso Abbi di lor pietà.  Qui respinta è la preghiera.
Scostati. Padre! tu piangi! Le si spogli il crin del serto: 
Sia coperto - di squallor.
Norma (a stento trascinandolo in Oroveso
disparte)  Oppresso è il core. (i Druidi coprono d’un velo nero la
Deh! m’odi! Sacerdotessa)
Pollione
Oroveso Commosso è già. Vanne al rogo; ed il tuo scempio 
Oh! mio dolor! Purghi l’ara e lavi il tempio. 
Norma  Maledetta estinta ancor!
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 23
Program
By courtesy of
Monica Wiards

Note you can zoom in


the reproductions
to get a close-up view

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Reviews
By courtesy of Winfried Stiffel.
English translations by courtesy of Jim Legnani.

Avanti (December 8, 1955)


Corriere della Sera [a] (December 8, 1955)
Corriere della Sera [b] (December 8, 1955)
Corriere Lombardo (December 8-9, 1955)
L’Italia (December 8, 1955)
Unknown
(Note you can zoom in the reproductions to get a close-up view)

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 36
Avanti! for him, but this time we can’t help noting his guilty
lack of identification with Bellini’s music. The set by
April 16, 1957 Salvatore Fiume, liberally mindless of the libretto’s
stage directions, was unable to make up for this
IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PRESIDENT legitimate freedom with ingenious motivations. The
OF THE REPUBLIC costumes were amusingly cosmopolitan. As for the
direction of Ms. Walmann, the utmost confusion of
La Scala’s Season Opens with “Norma” concepts was its main attribute.
And now we come to the voices. Mario del
The presence of the President of the Republic Monaco, vocally powerful and secure, but also
Gronchi conferred a special festive and elegant dramatically schematic, in the end left us cold and
dimension to the opening night of the operatic perplexed. As to Maria Callas, we remain convinced
season at La Scala. The theater, festooned with that her voice is not tailor-made for Bellini’s music
flowers, with a brad-new, dazzling foyer, was sold out. and has become harsher compared to years past.
And, of course, there was in evidence the obligatory Its timbre, variable from register to register, is a
parade of Milan’s luxuriously attired high society. continuous fracture of the melodic line, which does
     Norma cannot be considered a repertory opera, not allow interruptions in Bellini’s music. Nor do
not so much because it appears only rarely in the Callas’s temperament and stage presence suffice as
repertory of our opera houses, but mostly because compensations. Only in some very brief passages
it is not entirely suited to hastily thrown together did we like her, as at the beginning of “Casta Diva”,
productions that might work without much damage where she succeeded with admirable effectiveness in
with other lesser melodramas. Norma, on the other conjuring up the nocturnal, romantic, impalpable
hand, is an opera by Vincenzo Bellini, one of the atmosphere that so perfectly suits this sublime aria.
utmost exponents of our opera composers, whose These are unquestionable examples of high quality
sublime music transcends mere stage mechanics. and intelligence, of interpretive sensibility: but they
It follows then that last night’s Norma, a production are also fleeting parentheses in a faulty, convulsive
patched together without any critical criteria, would and laborious vocal production. The audience was
have been better left unperformed. As Norma is not aware of all this and did not hesitate to hiss and even
a “repertory” piece, when a decision is made to bring boo the singer during the first and second acts; the
it back to the stage, one ought to bother to give a evening improved markedly with the third act, thanks
show with artistic and cultural commitment, as La mainly to the duet, which was sung with impeccable
Scala did last year with La Vestale, La Traviata and La style. Giulietta Simionato in the role of Adalgisa gave
Sonnambula, and before that with other productions indisputable proof of her artistic abilities. Nicola
with the highest standards. Instead, this Norma failed Zaccaria e Gabriella Carturan also sang well.
with a most disjointed and colorless production. An
adequate conductor was missing: Antonino Votto, Luigi Pestalozza
while an expert and serious musician, forgot that
emotion is the secret of the score he was conducting.
On other occasions, we have expressed our liking
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 37
Corriere della Sera a truly superior performance, which is not at all hard to
believe when one considers that in the most demanding
December 8, 1955 roles were singers with illustrious names, such as Maria
Meneghini Callas, Giulietta Simionato and Mario Del
The Opera Season Opens at La Scala Monaco. Callas, with her typically virginal, layered,
with “Norma” Conducted by Antonino Votto penetrating, even dangerously lean voice, with her
composed propriety and dignity of stage demeanor that
In the Presence of The Head Of State  recalled her unforgettable Medea, was a bold, fiery and
intelligent protagonist; Simionato, warmer and more
[Photo:] The elegant public at the La Scala’s opening sensuous, less skilful perhaps but also less “constructed”,
night in the new foyer at the orchestra level, which was was spontaneously and almost aggressively effective in the
inaugurated last night by President Gronchi. role of Adalgisa; Del Monaco, virile and powerful in his
stage deportment, in bright and ringing voice, portrayed
Art intermingled with sentiment is the dominant Pollione with great stature and nobility. Equally admired
quality of Bellini’s  Norma.  This, however, does not were Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso, Gabriella Carturan as
exclude art mixed with presentiment, which looks Clotilde and Giuseppe Zampieri as Flavio. The chorus,
forward to new artistic directions and even encourages the directed by Norberto Mola, was solid and confident.
aspiration toward new, freer and more ambitious goals, The evening, begun with a performance of the national
with the implied desire to fathom more deeply the tragic anthem in honor of the President of the Republic, who
human passions. In Norma, the melodic inspiration turns was in attendance, saw a sold-out theater; much applause
more spacious and powerful, the shapes become wider, the at mid-scene following the most brilliant melodic gems,
thought comes into sharper focus. The harmonization, and numerous ovations at the end of each act for all the
still rather simple in  La Sonnambula, becomes more interpreters.
supple and psychologically attuned, thus contributing to f. a.
the vividness of the musical episodes and also to the truth
of the dramatic expression, which attests to the fact that
withNorma there was a considerable increase in Bellini’s
sense of self-criticism.
Sentimental fervor, rather than mere quintessential
technique, combined with a joyful desire to communicate
these qualities through an interpretation that adheres as
much to the spirit as to the letter of this masterpiece,
were the very springs that aptly animated last night’s
performance of  Norma.  Maestro Antonino Votto
conducted with a sure hand and a precise sense of balance,
but, above all else, he conducted with such abandon and
heart that all the artists on stage, as well as the musicians
in the orchestra couldn’t help being influenced by these
attributes. In short, this opening night turned out to be
Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 38
Corriere della Sera were most probably utterly unknown at the time of the Druids.
Historic realism – if one could indeed speak of any realism
December 8, 1955 for the characters of Norma – would possibly show us the two
Set and Stage Direction  priestesses half-naked or dressed in barbarian pelts. But the
neoclassicism that gives inspiration to the text is irrepressible.
     The Gallic and Roman qualities in  Norma and in its
Even in the middle of the forest of Irminsul and among the
characters descend from Napoleonic neoclassicism, and the
somber stone temples of the Druids, still recognizable in the
stage story of the Priestess of Irminsul would have had an
dolmens of Dordogne, Adalgisa and Norma are dressed the
excellent director in the actor Talma and an equally excellent
way Josephine and Marie Louise of the Napoleonic era would
set designer in the painter David. Felice Romani’s wrote a
have dressed to court. The problem concerning the set and stage
rather puffed-up libretto, but rather than drawing on the
direction of Norma lies precisely in establishing just the right
harsh and cutting tragic rigor of someone like Alfieri, his
balance between the neoclassicism of Napoleonic inspiration
best vein as librettist draws on certain themes sighs that, as
and the sylvan and stony reality. I believe that Fiume, whole
in the verses of the aria “Casta Diva”, would probably have
sketches can be seen in a certain exhibition at the Gelerie
pleased Metastasio’s followers and the Arcadian Vittorelli.
Apollinaire, knows neither the gorges of the river Doubs, nor
     Who can remember today the text of the tragedy from which
the rocky mazes of Dordogne, nor the dolmen of Erdeven: but
the libretto for Bellini was drawn? It was performed in Paris at
his painting, which finds its themes in a warm fantasy spanning
the national theater “Odeon”, and it was by the collaboration
prehistory and a kind of metaphysics with geological profiles,
of Louis Belmontet and Alexandre Soumet, the latter being the
was probably the best suited to understanding the secret of
author not only of a totally forgotten Joan of Arc, but even of
the temples made of rough monoliths, of the forests where
a Divine Epopee, which was supposed to make this French poet,
the very trunks of the oak trees resembled so many monoliths,
who is barely remembered today, a standby of no less than Dante.
within which takes place the tragedy of the two enemies and
As for Belmontet, he was one of those “enfants du siècle”, to
lovers Norma and Pollione. Particularly in the second and
whose nostalgic spirit De Musset dedicates a famous page. Born
fourth scenes, the scenery – splendidly realized by the painters
too late to have been a soldier under Napoleon, when he was still
Ighina and Pignataro, under Benois’s guidance – achieves a
a young lad, he dedicated a poem to “The Manes of Waterloo”
high but not vacuous monumentality, while avoiding stale
and, at the age of twenty-two, another poem to Napoleon’s
realism and the impossible evocation of a mannered archeology.
funeral at Sant’Elena. In his youth he was a friend of Victor
     Margherita Wallmann’s stage direction was inspired by
Hugo’s and rebelled against the Romanticism of “Hernani”,
the protagonists’ neoclassical spirit, also in the cadences and
swore eternal loyalty to neoclassicism and the Empire, brought
movements of the characters. Having avoided confusion
to the stage the adventure of the imaginary Roman proconsul
and romantic leaps, the characters were instructed to adopt
Pollione, and, later on, the character of Nero. Napoleon III,
a measured composure that, at times, while bending down,
while Hugo was being exiled, rewarded Belmontet for his loyalty
pausing or genuflecting, verged on rhythmic choreography and
to the country by sending him to the Chamber of Deputies.
also the line so dear to the bas-reliefs of the Empire. The masses
     These little notes of simple erudition might not have been
of warriors moved with the proper impetuosity in the classic
placed here were it not for the purpose of demonstrating that the
outburst of “Guerra! Guerra!”. A stage direction of definite merit.
Sicilian painter Salvatore Fiume, who was probably completely
o. v.
unaware of the sources of Norma, was not mistaken in giving
the Gauls and particularly Norma and Adalgisa costumes that
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Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 40
Corriere Lombardo overcomes and overwhelms every word, but the melody
that defines every word with its descriptive power. Bellini’s
order not to be influenced by opinions outside those of
the public or her own artistic conscience. And this can be
December 8-9, 1955 melody completely succeeds in defining characters, a good thing, provided of course that due note be taken of
moods, conflicts among characters, mood contrasts; in the public’s judgment, as Mme. Callas in fact does. The
Nostalgic Sweetness of Bellini’s “Norma” other words, it succeeds in creating drama. A dramatic audience did appreciate a great deal of her interpretation
push that urgently presses from scene to scene, from act during the first three scenes, but it wasn’t until the fourth
Applause for Maria Meneghini Callas, particularly to act, at first as evil omen, then tragic presence, and, and final scene that it showed its total admiration with
in the final scene • Mario Del Monaco and Giulietta at last, ruin and purification. To the longing for peace, long and enthusiastic cheering. When the drama reached
Simionato in two of their best interpretations • invoked in the first act aria “Casta diva” is juxtaposed its most intense excitement, namely in the last scene, the
Votto’s great test the great melody of the final scene, which rises step by audience was enchanted by the singer’s greatness; and we
step to the supreme ecstasy. Between these two extremes don’t mind sharing the audience’s verdict. The duet “In
[Photo:] The success of the evening saw Maria Meneghini resides the “musical drama”; to illustrate what Bellini’s mia mano alfin tu sei” (with Callas’s great insight, among
Callas and Mario del Monaco take many curtain calls. melody is capable of achieving, let us choose an obvious other things, into the most artistically valid accent on
example, i.e., the duet “In mia mano alfin tu sei”. By the words “Pei figli tuoi”); and the final prayer “Deh!
Emerging stealthily from Milan’s thick and frigid fog, examining the amazing variety of accents of this melody Non volerli vittime”, heard last night, remain among the
the spectators entered the theater and paused with some and the way it bends in depicting the conflict between the deepest emotions we have ever felt in the theater.
amazement to admire the new large foyer that leads into two characters, one will better understand the greatness Mario Del Monaco and Giulietta Simionato, both
the orchestra level. The general consensus was favorable, of this art and the reason that Norma, at one hundred also much applauded, achieved interpretations that must
since the new space seems to fit in well with the main twenty-four years since its premiere, is still considered be considered among their best. Del Monaco, in great
body of the old theater. The crowd lingered in the new one of the masterpieces of the musical theater. And in so and bright voice, was able to portray the nobility of a
hall while awaiting the arrival of the Head of State. Five doing, one might perhaps hasten the day in which this character like Pollione, burdened with a long tradition
minutes after his arrival, the notes of the national anthem opera will finally become “popular”. It will of course be of carelessness; with the proper dynamics and sense of
gave way to those of the overture of  Norma:La Scala’s necessary that its interpretations aim at the drama; it rhythm , he gave the character dignity; with his handsome
operatic season was open. will also be necessary that the very characters of Norma, stage presence, he provided the element of fascination so
Bellini’s masterpiece has never been truly “popular”. Pollione and Adalgisa be on the stage, and not merely a crucial to the drama. In the role of Adalgisa, Simionato
This is probably due to the apparent static quality of soprano, a tenor and a mezzo-soprano. This was the line of was vocally sumptuous and stylistically correct, and
the story, which causes this most romantic of operas interpretation that Maestro Votto gave to the entire show, her performance easily bore comparison with previous
to be mistaken for neoclassic; it is also due to the very with the collaboration of all the singers; and that’s why celebrated interpreters. A little less successful was bass
sublimity of its everlasting melodies, which seem to soften this performance of Norma deserves our praise, albeit with Nicola Zaccaria, who failed to be thundering enough
every dramatic asperity through the veil of melancholy, a few reservations. We admired Votto’s conducting, which in the early acts and lacked convincing emotion in the
of nostalgic sweetness, of pure contemplation. Those appeared to be a model of balance, wisely alternating final scene. The chorus, prepared by Norberto Mola,
sublime melodies do not, however, diminish the drama; agitated “movements” with calm and serene ones; a model sang splendidly.
on the contrary, they define it admirably. But it goes of balanced volumes of sound; a model of coordination At the end of this very successful evening, the
without saying that it is necessary to listen to them in in the final ensemble, whose majestic melody twice rose spectators lingered a long time in the theater to cheer
all the wide variety of their “accents”. It is necessary, in in sublime waves. Maestro Votto and all the singers; then they happily
short, to forget all that has been said and written about Norma was sung once again by Maria Meneghini plunged once more into the thick fog, with Bellini’s
Bellini’s abstract melodic purity – “the melody that Callas. Mme. Callas, as it is known from her own melodies in their hearts.
overcomes every word” – ; to forget Norma as “opera”, and statements, never reads the critiques that concern her, in Teodoro Celli
listen to Norma as “musical drama”. Not the melody that
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L’Italia
December 8, 1955

GALA PERFORMANCE LAST NIGHT AT THE


TEATRO ALLA SCALA

The Opera Season Opens


In the presence of President Gronchi

[Photo:] The Head of State, the Honorable Gronchi,


and his wife Donna Carla in the presidential box.

Opening of the operatic season in the presence of


the President of the Republic: a gala performance at La
Scala of great resonance and effect. At the orchestra level
and in the boxes one could see the kind of elegance that
might be called in questionable taste; outside, a large
contingent of police tried to contain the crowds eager to
catch a glimpse of the opulently dressed spectators, the
president and the other dignitaries.
At exactly 9 p.m., the president, received by super-
intendent Ghiringhelli and mayor Ferrari, entered the
presidential box, after having cut the symbolic ribbon
and thus inaugurating the new foyer, all shiny and ex-
travagantly illuminated.
The orchestra then struck up the national anthem,
which, after the lights went down, gave way to the chords
of the overture of Norma.
Lights, flowers, elegantly attired people and the
president: enough to give great pleasure to the fans of high
society. The off-stage spectacle was showy and sensational.
The on-stage spectacle, however, was less successful, even
though it was a marked improvement over the rather
clumsy dress rehearsal.
Norma, which had seemed to doze during the re-
hearsals, suddenly woke up on opening night, thanks to
the protagonist, a true lioness of the Druid forests; to a
tenor who makes a virtue of the strength of his Herculean
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B-flats; and to a mezzo-soprano who, even though she has some brilliant moments contributed by the principals. though Norma’s entrance was a little too theatrical and
to work hard to impersonate the innocent Adalgisa, sang For a production that had been given so much honor, not mysterious enough.
limpidly and acted effectively. These were the personal that is, the honor of opening the season as a gala even- Moreover, Wallmann was unable to resolve the ex-
merits of three artists, whom we have previously admired ing, the artistic direction should have felt the obligation tremely difficult shifts from aria to cabaletta and make
at even happier times, but who were nevertheless able to of devoting more attention to the choice of the people them coherent scenically and not just for strictly musical
hold together the performance thanks to their personal in charge of the production. Let us begin with Mme. purposes. She did not find a gesture, she did not create a
charm. Margherita Wallmann, illustrious choreographer, but situation that would render those transitions acceptable.
But the spectacle that is Norma, namely, the dramatic absolutely inadequate in the direction of a complex and Antonino Votto, who conducted under some un-
action, so splendidly resolved by Bellini’s lyricism, was difficult opera such asNorma, an opera full of contrasts foreseen difficulties, appeared less forceful than usual
missing. It was missing because a convincing coordination that are resolved by one means only: singing. Wallmann and rather limp.
between stage and orchestra was missing, as were missing was unable to develop on the stage the poetic dynamics of Maria Meneghini Callas was at times able to get free
a logical cohesion and an intelligent resolution of the Bellini’s lyrical line, dynamics that arise from the turmoil from the mawkishness of the stage direction and assert
problems a director normally encounters in this opera. of passions, which the melody admirably stirs and lifts and her personality, but she nonetheless appeared to be far
Bellini’s true miracle was his ability to explain love, brings to lofty moments of rousing intensity. We missed from her great performance of 1953. At that time, she
power, hatred, jealousy, vengeance, and the choral reli- the drama, to which Bellini attached great importance, had by her side two voices that beautifully blended with
giousness of the oppressed Celtic people, by means of as he had devoted particular attention to the tragic aspect hers. Last night, Giulietta Simionato’s splendid voice
composing the purest of melodies. The resolution of this of this opera. The character of Norma loves just as she and Mario Del Monaco’s powerful one did not succeed
marvelous creation in scenically new and bold terms is a decides to avenge herself: and from this arises her beauty in finding the same blending and cohesiveness, strictly
challenging undertaking for anyone. colored by a mysterious fascination for reasons of their individual timbres.
We remember as praiseworthy the 1953 production In  Norma, many things are mysterious: to begin Still, Callas sang “Casta Diva” magnificently, albeit
of  Norma, which the stage director Frigerio conceived with, that moonlit sylvan atmosphere that seems to muffle with a few small hitches, and performed the arduous
according to traditional standards, thereby leaving the the sounds, that gives the opera a sense of conspiracy and embellishments with great self-assurance, thus making
singers free to manifest their individual temperaments. rebellion, more than any heroic ringing notes. vocal virtuosity an integral and expressive part of the vocal
And since there were then Maria Meneghini Callas in All this was lacking because of some useless efforts, text. Yet, she was not completely successful in displaying
fresh voice and determined to scale the highest peaks; such as costumes that were too extravagant and out of the full pathos of her own sacrifice, even though from the
Gino Penno who hit the mark by portraying the strange place, and because of set designer Salvatore Fiume, who odd rigidity of the dress rehearsal to the lively freedom of
character of Pollione with Roman and slightly arrogant failed to harmonize the scenery with Bellini’s melodies opening night the character was allowed to come to life
pride; and Ebe Stignani, who was able to transform any or with the story so full of intimate, repressed and cruel In the recitatives, nearly always felicitous and effec-
reality through her perfectly produced voice, still today passions. tive (the recitatives of Norma are of supreme importance
we think of that production with much enthusiasm. And As an example, the idea of having the Gauls’ assembly and superlative quality), she was admirable especially in
perhaps the memory of that perfect version has led us to among straw huts rather than in the forest failed miser- the third and final scenes. But this was a strictly personal
search in the present one for just those elements that had ably, because the new setting no longer corresponds to the marvel, which did not connect with the other characters.
fascinated us then. musical climate, which depicts a stealthy gathering, with In a thankless and difficult role, Mario Del Monaco
But a recollection, within the sentiments rather than whispers in mysterious woods under the moonlight. This showed off all the power of his voice. We blame him,
the memory, is a bad counselor and forces us to belittle scene is attractive and valid, but only in a pictorial sense. however, for a certain lack of musicality in some passages
the new reality. Perhaps also under the influence of that The same can be said of Norma’s dwelling, which is not that he perhaps considers of secondary importance and
memory, we found the present edition of Norma rather intimate enough. On the other hand, the perspective of therefore neglects. The character was not successfully
inert, empty, false, inconclusive and supported only by forest and sky in the first act was more successful, even fleshed out: scarcity of appropriate gestures, trite poses

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and insufficient expressiveness added up to a portrayal
of the character of Pollione that was rather perfunctory
and superficial.
Giulietta Simionato, on the other hand, moved with
lovely gracefulness and some of her singing was very
successful. It is rather difficult, however, to grasp this
character fully, a character that imposes a contralto’s voice
on a light soprano’s sensibility. The mezzo-soprano voice
becomes appropriate and functional only in the dramatic
duets with Pollione and, above all, with Norma.
The bass Nicola Zaccaria, a rather ineffective actor,
was too weak as Oroveso, a character that, even though
he is taken in by his less-than-virtuous daughter, holds
together his people with his moral strength.
In the brief role of Clotilde, Gabriella Carturan sang
with beautiful tone; Giuseppe Zampieri was excellent as
Flavio.
On the whole, notwithstanding some distinguished
individual merits, a performance of  Norma  that was
ultimately disappointing and unsuited to an opening
night at La Scala.
Luigi Gianoli

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A Triumphal Norma Opens La Scala: to set on fire, as indeed he does not hesitate
with Del Monaco, Callas, Simionato to seduce two of its priestesses, even causing
the High Druid Priestess Norma to become
For the tenor Mario Del Monaco, the mother of two children. And these two
this  Norma, which opened the season at little children, who are conceived by the
Milan’s La Scala, could be defined by the impetuous and clandestine love between
aphorism “From Poliuto to Pollione”. The the Proconsul and the Priestess, represent a
events surrounding the substitution of sort of “Roman peace” (in spite of the bel-
Bellini’s Norma for Donizetti’s Poliuto are by licose and resentful smoldering of the proud
now well known. Del Monaco himself has Druids), which is finally confronted only
justified the substitution by expressing his when Pollione, with his typical carelessness,
wish to present himself again to the Milanese makes it known that he’ll return to Rome
public with a role familiar to opera lovers. bringing with him a new, substitute and
     Regarding Del Monaco and his predilec- much younger priestess. Hence the final ca-
tion for the role of Pollione, we must agree tastrophe, which, fortunately for us, inspired
that his interpretation of this role is doubt- Bellini to compose one of the most inspired
less the best we have heard (and seen) in the musical pages of all time. 
last several years. Del Monaco, together with Del Monaco thus earned the kind of
our memory of Pertile, rendered a precious success that is usually reserved only to Nor-
service to Bellini, who appeared not to have ma and Adalgisa. And this is only fair: we
conceived this character very successfully. followed him closely in the incisive phrases
The fact is that it is indeed a difficult char- of his opening aria, in the difficult cabaletta
acter: besides being intrinsically disagree- (sung with inimitable impetus), in the duet
able, it is written with a  tessitura  that, if with Adalgisa, in the trio, and in the final
not entrusted to a great singer, can prove scene. Excellent. Today we must express to
catastrophic to both the character and the him nothing but praise.
interpreter. Pertile used to sing everything We spoke of Del Monaco first, be-
beautifully and, therefore, he also sang the cause we heard a performance of Pollione
role of Pollione splendidly. Del Monaco pos- that is seldom heard these days and that
sesses a strong, dramatic voice with a good represents the first happy note of a truly
range, which gave him sufficient ammuni- triumphal evening. An evening that is ut-
tion to surmount this challenge from the terly worthy of the great Las Scala tradi-
start. In the part of the Roman Proconsul in tion, both for the performance, expertly
Gaul, Del Monaco was not over-particular conducted by Antonino Votto and expertly
in his interpretation: he was a gruff soldier, as played by the orchestra, and for the stag-
indeed Pollione must be toward a people he ing. Two small reservations: the excessive
considers to be inferior to his own, a people opulence of the costumes; and the horrible
whose sacred woods he would not hesitate scene of the Druid encampment, which

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resembled a fruit and vegetable exhibition, with an great duet with Norma. This is the way one should sing
overabundance of artichokes and bananas: this setting and the way one should show the strength of one’s voice!
does not suit a people that is conspiring in near secrecy.      The bass Nicola Zaccaria almost suddenly replaced
     And now we come to Maria Meneghini Callas. It seems Cesare Siepi, who was supposed to sing Oroveso. Siepi
futile to discuss a few of her notes made out of less-than- declined to sing the role to protest the fact that two out of
precious metal. This subject has been under debate for three operas in which he was to sing had been substituted
years and it’s probably not a good idea to continue this (it is no mystery that Siepi would have liked to bring to the
tired discussion. But these three or four questionable public of La Scala his portrayal of Philip II in Don Carlo,
notes will one day be missed, and how! Callas gives us an a character that yearly wins him unspeakable enthusiasm
admirable Norma; the character belongs to her and with at the Metropolitan Opera). Zaccaria, already busy re-
it she rises to the highest peaks of the highest musical art. hearsing another opera, set about the new task with true
Her singing is ever noble, be it nostalgic, or embittered, abnegation, also because a mediocre performance of the
or accompanied by outbursts of fury and indignation. role of Oroveso had been predicted from the beginning.
One cannot sing better than that, one cannot better in-      Zampieri and Carturan did well in minor roles. The
terpret the opening lines of “Casta Diva”, the response to chorus, according to custom, gave the utmost prominence
Adalgisa, the immensely moving phrase “Son io” in which to the piece “Guerra guerra”. A truly exceptional evening.
Norma reveals her guilt, the final prayer (oh, memories of
Burzio and Mazzoleni!). Some mentioned parallels with Bruno Slawitz
Malibran and Patti, but who has heard these singers of
the last century? Certainly not we, and most probably
neither those who came up with these comparisons. We
can only state: Callas sang beautifully, and Callas will
remain a great singer in the history of great singing. If
anything, we would like to compare her to another won-
derful singer of Callas’s mould: Rosa Ponselle, who at the
Metropolitan Opera also sang Norma, met with triumphs
and also met with controversy, so that, after a performance
of Carmen for which she was “clobbered” by critics, she
retired and took refuge in a villa in the West, when she
was not yet 40, still in great voice and still in full glory.
Ponselle sang with the expressive nobility and interpre-
tive intelligence that today are Callas’s special qualities.
     Adalgisa was sung by Giulietta Simionato with a beauti-
ful voice with great range, incomparable in the low regis-
ter, magnificent in the high register. We can only state that
Simionato had the honor of a personal triumph, an honor
that was utterly deserved. We can still hear the phrase
“Vado al campo ed all’ingrato…” from the first part of the

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Videos

Backstage (silent)
After Act III (silent)
Act IV end
Taking bows (silent)

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 47
Backstage (silent)

Click over the image to play the video

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After Act III (silent)

Click over the image to play the video

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Act IV end

Click over the image to play the video

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Taking bows (silent)

Click over the image to play the video

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 51
Norma Photo Gallery
By courtesy of Monica Wiards, Winfried Stiffel, Cosimo Capanni,
Felipe de Lima Cunha and Jean-Jacques Hanine Roussel

Rehearsals
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Sixth performance, with Elena Nicolai (Dec. 29, 1955)

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Rehearsals

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Mario del Monaco and Maria Callas

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Giulietta Simionato, Mario del Monaco and Maria Callas

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Mario del Monaco and Maria Callas

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Maria Callas, Mario del Monaco and Giulietta Simionato

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Maria Callas, Mario del Monaco and Giulietta Simionato

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Nicola Zaccaria, Maria Callas, Giulietta Simionato and Mario del Monaco

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Mario del Monaco, Maria Callas, Giuseppe Zampieri, Nicola Zaccaria, Giulietta Simionato and Gabriela Carturan

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Giulietta Simionato and Maria Callas (stage rehearsal)

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Maria Callas and Norma’s children

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Act I

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Set design by Salvatore Fiume
Photo: Erio Piccagliani, 1956-1957 season

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Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Cesare Siepi as Enrico VIII
Photo: Erio Piccagliani, 1957-1958 season

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria as
Maria Callas Callas
AnnaasBolena
Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Act II

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Set design by Salvatore Fiume

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Anna Bolena
MariaPhoto:
CallasMario de Biasi
as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma and Gabriella Carturan as Clotilde

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Maria Callas as Norma and Gabriella Carturan as Clotilde

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Maria Callas as Anna Bolena
Photo:Maria
Erio Piccagliani, 1956-1957
Callas as Norma season Carturan as Clotilde
and Gabriella

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

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Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

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Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 102
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 103
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 104
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 105
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 106
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 107
Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 108
Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 109
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 110
Maria Callas as Anna Bolena
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Maria Callas as Norma andErio
Photo: Giulietta Simionato
Piccagliani, as Adalgisa
1957-1958 season

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 111
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 112
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Maria Callas as Norma
and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 113
Mario del Monaco as Pollione,, Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa
and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 114
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa
From dress rehearsal

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 115
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 116
Maria Callas as Anna Bolena
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma
Photo: Erio Piccagliani, 1957-1958 season

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 117
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 118
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 119
Margherita Wallmann, Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 120
Luigi Oldani and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 121
Salvatore Fiume and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 122
Giulietta Somionato as Adalgisa, Salvatore Fiume, Maria Callas as Norma and Nicola Benois

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 123
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 124
Act III

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 125
Set design by Salvatore Fiume

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 126
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 127
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 128
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 129
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 130
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 131
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 132
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 133
Maria
Giulietta Simionato Callas asand
as Adalgisa Anna Bolena
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 134
Maria Callas as Anna Bolena
Giulietta
and Giulietta Simionato Simionato
as Giovanna as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma
Seymur

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 135
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 136
Gabriella Carturan as Clotilde, Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 137
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 138
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 139
Maria Callas as Anna Bolena and Giulietta Simionato as Giovanna Seymour
Photo:
Giulietta Simionato Erio Piccagliani,
as Adalgisa and Maria1957-1958 season
Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 140
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 141
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 142
Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 143
Maria Callas as Norma and Giulietta Simionato as Adalgisa

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 144
Act IV

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 145
Set design by Salvatore Fiume, Scene 1

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 146
Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 147
Set design by Salvatore Fiume, Scene 2

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 148
Maria Callas as Anna Bolena
Photo: Erio Piccagliani, 1956-1957 season
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 149
Mario del Monaco and Maria Callas as Norma
From dress rehearsal

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 150
Mario del Monaco and Maria Callas as Norma
From dress rehearsal

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 151
Mario del Monaco and Maria Callas as Norma
From dress rehearsal

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 152
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 153
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 154
Maria Callas as Norma and Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 155
Maria Callas as Norma and Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 156
Maria Callas as Norma and Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 157
Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso, Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 158
Maria Callas as Norma, Mario del Monaco as Pollione and Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 159
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 160
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 161
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 162
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 163
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 164
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 165
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 166
Nicola Zaccari as Oroveso, Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 167
Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 168
Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 169
Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 170
Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 171
Mario del Monaco as Pollione and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 172
Mario del Monaco as Pollione and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 173
Margherita Wallmann, Antonino Votto and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 174
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Maria Callas as Norma and Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 175
Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 176
Maria Callas as Norma, Nicola Zaccaria as Oroveso and Luigi Oldani

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 177
Mario del Monaco as Pollione and Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 178
Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 179
Mario del Monaco as Pollione, Maria Callas as Norma

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 180
Carla Nani
Gianni Mocenigo,
Raimondi Giovanna
as Lord RiccardoLomazzi, Giovanni
Percy and Battista
Maria Callas as Meneghini,
Anna Bolena
Wally Toscanini
Photo: and Maria Callas
Erio Piccagliani, as Norma
1957-1958 season

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 181
Elena Nicolai as Adalgisa, Maria Callas as Norma and Mario del Monaco as Pollione
Sixth Performance (December 29, 1955)

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 182
Playbill

Note you can zoom in


to get a close-up view

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 183
End of Digital Booklet

Norma • Milan, December 7, 1955 Back to Home Divina Records • DVN~17 • Page 184