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Justin Holland
Scraps from the Operas arranged for Two Guitars

No. 13 - Norma 1

 

Justin Holland, Scraps From The Operas

Opera: Norma
Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
Premiere: Milan, 1831.

Scrap 1: Andantino.

You need to know that the Druid high priestess Norma has managed to conceal the fact that she has had two children by the Roman proconsul Pollione. Pollione has since lost interest in Norma and fallen in love with a Druid temple virgin, Adalgisa. Norma has given Adalgisa permission to leave the temple and go back to Rome with Pollione.

Here in Act 3 of 4, Norma has just fallen short of bringing herself to murder her two children. She still plans to take her own life. In Deh! con te, con te li prendi ("For pity's sake, take them with you) she implores Adalgisa to take the children with her to Rome and not let them end up as abandoned slaves. Adalgisa is horrified at Norma's plans and replies that she will tell Pollione of Norma's grief, and his love for her will be reawakened. Norma swears she will not plead with Pollione. This scene continues in Norma No. 2 below.

Scrap 2 (1:35): Marcia.

As the opera opens, the time is getting close for Norma to give the signal for the Druids to rise up against the Romans. Here, in Act 1, the Druids sing a great chorus to their terrible god Irminsul, Dell'aura tua profetica ("With your prophetic aura, inspire feelings in Norma of hatred for the Romans").

Scrap 3 (2:20): (no new tempo indication shown)

In this arrangement the transition is seamless, but in the opera this scrap is separated from the previous Druid chorus. Pollione and the soldier Flavio have sneaked into the sacred grove just vacated by the Druids. They hear the bronze shield of Irminsul being struck signaling that Norma will come and make her pronouncement. To this march music the Druids warn any ungodly to depart from the sacred grove. Flavio implores Pollione to flee; Pollione says he is protected by a power greater than theirs - his love for Adalgisa. He will burn the groves and smash the altars of the god who contends with him for that divine maiden.

Note that Bellini got the main theme of this scrap from Figaro's humorous aria "Non piu andrai" in "The Marriage of Figaro", by Mozart.

PLAY OPERA SCRAP NO. 13 - "Norma 1"

Next Opera Scrap: No. 14 - "Norma 2"
Previous Opera Scrap: No. 12 - "Oberon"
Index of all 20 "Scraps From The Operas"

 


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