Treacherous Beauty, in Bellini's 'Norma'


THE HIT SINGLE: "Mira, o Norma"

Like all of Bellini's operas, Norma is filled with memorable melodies, and they're not confined to its many great arias. Some of the score's finest numbers are duets, including this one, from Act Two, for Norma and Adalgisa (soprano Sondra Radvanovksy and mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova). In it, Adalgisa pledges her loyalty to Norma and the two women reaffirm their friendship -- despite the fact that they're both in love with the same man.

THE B SIDE: "In mia man alfin tu sei"

In another stirring duet, near the end of the opera, Norma is in a less forgiving mood. She confronts Pollione (tenor Gregory Kunde), saying "Finally, you're in my hands," but offering to spare him if he gives up Adalgisa. When he says he'd prefer to die, Norma tells him she'd be more than happy to arrange that. Pollione replies that he'll accept his fate, but begs her to spare Adalgisa.