“Any production of Norma stands or falls on the performance of the title-role. In this attractive but ultimately bizarre and cold staging, Hasmik Papian proves herself equal to the part's demands. The action is played as if at a dress-rehearsal of the opera. The three principal singers are shown preparing backstage, unpacking their costumes, applying make-up, and it soon becomes clear that the plot of the opera is being reproduced in their own private lives: the prima donna has the mezzo-soprano as her real-life rival for the tenor's affection. Julian Reynolds conducts the Netherlands CO in a satisfyingly vigorous account of this notoriously difficult score.”
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