Felice Romani, the librettist of Norma, set the opera in the Gauls: a druid priestess, Norma, and Pollione, a roman consul, were once in love and have two secret children. But Pollione now loves Adalgisa, a young priestess, which triggers Norma’s anger, her revelation of the forbidden love to the druids with subsequent burning at the stake. The story La Fura dels Baus tells is dominated by religious symbols, the curtain opens on hundreds of crosses, with all sort of religious characters including men dressed as ku klux klan, telling the story of how dominating religion can be and how trapped one can feel in it. The setting is modern (Pollione wears suit and tie) but the actions are faithful to the plot. What amazed me the most was the direction of the main characters; with every gesture, with every movement la Fura dels Baus displayed desperation, dreams, torment, hope. Vocally I was quite pleased. Yoncheva was vocally very strong in her lower as much as her high register (only the very top was a bit harsh) and her coloratura very fluid, her voice bright and luminous. Ganassi was better than I hoped, although her pronunciation is incomprehensible as so often. Calleja has a generous voice but a very tight vibrato and his breath is very short which makes him break the lines often and he seems a bit detached from what he sings. Pappano directs energetically though sometimes a bit too loud. Flavio and Clotilde sang well, Oroveso I would have wished with more weight. A very gripping evening altogether.
Conductor-Antonio Pappano, Director-Àlex Ollé, Associate director-Valentina Carrasco, Set designer-Alfons Flores, Costume designer-Lluc Castells, Lighting designer-Marco Filibeck, Norma-Sonya Yoncheva, Pollione-Joseph Calleja, Adalgisa-Sonia Ganassi, Oroveso-Brindley Sherratt, Flavio-David Junghoon Kim, Clotilde-Vlada Borovko