Cher Public

They’re broke and that’s oak

The important thing to remember about Druids is that they don’t follow fashion very much. For example: on the left is the Met’s upcoming Norma for 2017; on the right is the same opera 47 years earlier.

  • Bill

    I have seen a number of productions of Norma starting with the one
    with Milanov at the Met -- none of them have been particularly
    impressive. The only one which showed a great deal of imagination was one at the Volksoper which had everyone in Viennese 19th Century ball gowns but it certainly did not seem to have anything to do with the story as we know it. Most of what I have seen has been stand and deliver (even Callas in a way in the same production in which Milanov appeared, though Callas could look anguished and moved appropriately. What kind of a production would Parterre readers like to see at the Met ? Have there been revolationary
    productions of Norma in the past 50 years which really worked?

    • In 2002 at Stuttgart Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito set it in a bombed out church in rural France during World War II. Catherine Naglestad was the best Norma I have heard live, and the production was one of the best of any opera I’ve seen. Absoultely unforgettable in every aspect. More recent was the somewhat similar (but not nearly as good) production done at Salzburg for Bartoli (which I believe traveled to some other houses).

      • Dame Kenneth

        My Dear Marianne,
        I too, as you may remember, was bowled over by that Stuttgart production. It was one of the most internally consistent and powerful productions I’ve seen of an opera and Nagelstadt was a revelation.
        I don’t remember the church as bombed out. Rather, I remember it as being a rustic, sun bleached church, reminding one of somewhere in Greece or southern Italy. Could that have been? I do remember Norma’s children in danger of being discovered owing to the presence of an enormous, colorful beachball with which they would play when the church was empty.

        • Good to hear from you! Yes, I definitely remember the ball the kids kicked around in the empty church and Norma’s sudden fear when it was almost discovered. A soccer ball? I find that more plausible than a beach ball given the time and location. I do believe it was set in France, but it could be one of the countries you suggest: it would be anywhere that Italian fighters had occupied. My WWII knowledge is dominated by Germany, largely because of where I live (I passed the monument against war and tyranny behind Staatsoper on my morning run today). The church may not have been bombed, but it was definitely desecrated: you could see marks on the walls from where works of religious art had been pillaged. Another thing which I seem to recall (but I may be wrong): didn’t the “druids” all have pieces of what they assembled/disassembled as a radio in the church? Whatever: one of the best productions of anything ever! Please stay in touch!

          • Dame Kenneth

            I do remember it is a blow up beach ball. It was a long time ago though. Definitely a memorable production and Norma has never made more sense to me.
            Hope you’re well in Wien!
            Dame K

            • Dharmabray

              Thinking of seeing the Wieler/Morabito production of Sonnambula in Stuttgart next Jan… your posts really make me want to now!

      • Christian Ocier

        Naglestad resembles Kellyanne Conway in this Siegfried duet.