Palm Beach Opera Presents the Bel Canto Masterpiece “Norma” In a Dramatic Season Finale

Palm Beach Opera will close the 2024 season with Vincenzo Bellini’s fiery “Norma” from Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

“It has been 15 years since we presented ‘Norma,’ a timeless story of illicit love and devastating betrayal which is filled with dramatic intensity and transcendent melodies,” said Acting General Director James Barbato.  “With a cast of international stars, a spectacular set and creative team, and musical highlights that include the serene ‘Casta diva,’ this is sure to be a night at the opera that our audiences willcherish.”

Set in the ancient Roman Empire, the Druid high priestess Norma has fallen in love with Pollione, the Roman official who has been sent to govern her people. Though Pollione has secretly fathered two children with Norma, he soon turns his affections to another young priestess, Adalgisa, and the ensuing love triangle culminates in a tragic sacrifice when the truth is revealed.

Discovered by Zubin Mehta, celebrated Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro returns to Palm Beach Opera following last season’s “Madama Butterfly.”Of a recent performance at Seattle Opera, Seen and Heard International described his musical direction as “more intoxicatingly beautiful than any performance I can remember.”

Keturah Stickann, who directed Palm Beach Opera’s sumptuous 2020 production of “Turandot,” returns to the company. Her directing and choreographic work has been seen in opera houses across the United States and Canada, Chile, Japan, France, Germany, and Australia.

Jessica Pratt will star as Norma on April 5 and 7, marking both a company and role debut. The Australian coloratura soprano is considered an artistic heir to her famed compatriot Joan Sutherland.  Pratt is acclaimed worldwide for her portrayal of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” and the New York Times has praised her “gleaming sound, free and easy high notes, agile coloratura runs and lyrical grace.”  Croatia native Marigona Qerkezi adds the title role to her repertoire in a U.S. debut on April 6.

Making their Palm Beach Opera debuts in the role of Adalgisa are Ashley Dixon and Anne Marie Stanley, both recent Grand Finals winners of the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. Dixon has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “bravura display of artistry… marked by robust vocal tone, pinpoint precision and a wondrous air of dramatic intensity,” while Opera Today noted that Stanley sings “with luscious tone and vivid dramatic presence.”

Labeled “the heart-throb tenor” by Harper’s Bazaar, Paolo Fanale performs as Pollione, a role he recently sang at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. On April 6, the role will be performed by Mexican-American tenor Moisés Salazar, a Palm Beach Opera Young Artist alumnus from the 2021 and 2022 seasons, who returns to the company for this role debut following recent successes at San Francisco Opera.

French bass Nicolas Testé will sing Oroveso, a role which he has previously performed with Opéra national de Paris.Palm Beach Opera resident artists Maria Vasilevskaya and Devin Eatmon will sing the roles of Clotilde and Flavio.

“Norma” will be sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage. Performances will be held Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 at 7:30pm and Sunday, April 7 at 2pm. Single tickets start at $25. Tickets are available for purchase online at pbopera.org or by calling the box office at 561-833-7888.

Palm Beach Operaoffers opportunities for the audience to get to know the opera before the curtain goes up on April 5. An informative and insightful Lunch & Learn exploring the opera’s backgroundwill be offered on Thursday, March 28 at noon at the National Croquet Center, and a limited number of seats are still available for the Opening Night Dinner on Friday, April 5 at the Cohen Pavilion at the Kravis Center. Palm Beach Opera also brings free discussions about “Norma” to the community in public events leading up to opening night. A session focusing on Bellini’s musical style will be offered at the Delray Public Library on Sunday, March 17 at 2pm. Guest scholars Hilary Poriss (Northeastern University) and Branko van Oppen (Tampa Museum of Art) will meet for a panel discussion exploring the opera’s depictions of Gaul and the Roman Empire at the Delray Beach Public Library on Sunday, March 24 at 2pm. Dr. Poriss will also discuss the power of the prima donna in nineteenth-century opera at the Mandel Public Library on Monday, March 25 at 11:30am.

Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence, enriching the lives of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs, and training the next generation of opera stars. Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents main-stage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of OPERA America and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.