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Casta Diva from Norma by Vincenzo Bellini

Fromental Halévy, French composer of the opera La Juive, claimed he would have given away all his works if he could have composed just one aria, 'Casta diva'. The aria has been a signature piece for famous sopranos such as Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko and Angela Gheorgiu. It is one of the most exquisite gems in the bel canto repertoire.

Casta Diva

Norma is a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after Norma, ossia L'infanticidio (Norma, or The Infanticide) by Alexandre Soumet.

Vincenzo Bellini

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Bellini insisted on spending a few months on the composition of his works. At the time of his sudden death in 1835, Bellini had composed a mere ten operas. Nonetheless, the last of Bellini's operas, La Sonnambula, Norma, and I Puritani are undisputed masterpieces, with Norma being more renowed due to its famous aria `Casta Diva.'

Casta Diva

Synopsis

Place: Gaul.

Time: Early times of Roman conquest of Gaul.

Act 1

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The grove.

A secret love unites the seeress Norma with Pollione, the Roman proconsul, by whom she has borne two children. But Pollione has grown tired of the aging druidess and has fallen in love with Adalgisa, a young temple virgin. Despite Adalgisa's piety and virtue, she agrees to flee to Rome with Pollione. Adalgisa innocently tells Norma of her love, and Norma curses Pollione for his treachery.

Act 2

Norma's apartment.

Norma is about to kill her children, but her love for her children finally confides them to the care of Adalgisa. When Pollione comes to take Adalgisa from the temple, Norma denounces him and he is seized by the Druids, after having refused to give up Adalgisa. Norma proclaims herself equally guilty with him. The pyre is lighted, and ascending it, Norma dies with her lover.

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MariaeCallasItalianinargenti queste sacre antiche piante, a noi tempra bel sembiante audace, Castain Diva,vel... Lyrics che Diva, tempranel de' cori ardenti volgi il ancora lo zelo senza spargi senza che pace nube Diva quellaTempra, o regnar tu fai tu ciel... Casta terra

Vincenzozeal, Scatter peace Temper, These sacred the hardening the sky... to your lovely face unclouded and without veil... across the earth Thou ancient plants,ofwe turn Casta Diva English Translation your bold Bellini whose silver covers oh Goddess, make reign in you ardent spirits temper Pure Goddess,

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Vincenzo Bellini

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