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  Norma Reviews
Norma
Norma

Norma
Lyric Opera
Thru - Feb 24, 2017

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Lyric Opera

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...An anguished triangular romance? One of the most dependable of plot designs, sure to trigger vengeance and regret. The use of children as pawns? Sadly, an all too familiar phenomenon. Love set against a backdrop of oppression and a looming war? A combination that invariably raises the stakes. The tension between loyalty to one’s country and loyalty to one’s heart? Comes with the territory."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Bellini's tragedia lirica, first performed in 1831, is an old-fashioned, stand-and-sing bel canto opera, and nothing in this Lyric Opera production, directed by Kevin Newbury, changes its static nature. The libretto is a melodrama about a love triangle between two Druid priestesses and a Roman occupier in 50 BC; Lyric's supporting cast, clearly chosen for their outstanding vocal talent, aren't much help in the acting department; and sets, costumes, and props (including a giant ox and a hacked-off tree), said to be inspired by Game of Thrones, are pedestrian. In short, it doesn't work as theater."
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Deanna Isaacs



Chicago Stage Review- Highly Recommended

"...In fact, the synchronicity with which the singers, supernumeraries, chorus and orchestra collaborate in creating the world of Norma is if not spiritual, then certainly transformative in every sense of the word. The dialog between Radvanovsky, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, and maestro Riccardo Frizza (who also conducted the Met’s blockbuster production of Norma) is exquisitely precise and perfectly integrated. That pattern is repeated over and over in every aspect of this seamless and spellbinding production. Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Norma represents a new level of creative transcendence and artistic excellence for this cultural treasure. It is a masterpiece not to be missed."
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Lori Dana



ShowBizChicago- Highly Recommended

"...World- acclaimed and delicious coloratura diva Sondra Radvanovsky brought the Lyric Opera's house down Saturday evening when she opened a new production of the run of Norma. She has enjoyed tremendous successes at all of the world's major opera houses as well as Lyric Opera and is described as "a force of nature; she handles the demands of the role with an exhilarating combination of bravura and tenderness," After thrilling to her performance as Anne in Anna Bolena I became a true fan. Madame Radvanovsky is a singing actress similar to the great Maria Callas who made her American debut and opened Carol Fox's new Lyric Opera of Chicago in November, 1954 under Nicola Rescigno in this same role; she easily makes everyone else on stage look like singers from the last century. Even when not singing, she creates wonderful "business" and one doesn't take their eyes off of her. She calls this "perfect role vocally and temperamentally.""
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Bob Douglas



Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended

"...Other aspects of the production succeeded. Korins and Newbury have done a number of operas together, including the 2015 premiere of Jimmy López’ “Bel Canto” at the Lyric, and Korins has more recently created the sets for “War Paint,” a musical produced at the Goodman that heads to Broadway in March, and “Hamilton,” the Tony winner, now sitting down in Chicago. Typically, this team’s spaces almost become characters themselves. In “Norma,” the walls that keep the Romans out are a dark and imprisoning conscience, hiding guilty secrets; the sacred groves outside, which are occasionally revealed for Druidic rituals, seem unattainable, godlike."
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Nancy Malitz



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Fortunately, Newbury's direction doesn't rely on Lyric's new stage lifts, turntable, or projectors, which have been overused in previous productions this season. Instead, it allows the magic to come alive in a more primitive manner congruent with Norma's ancient setting."
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Barnaby Hughes



ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended

"...From the beginning, Norma has a somber tone that becomes intense upon the haunting melodies that work with the extreme bel canto attributes to create a romantic atmosphere that inevitably leads to tragedy. Norma is a wonderful opera that engages, enchants and entices audiences. The fabulous aria: "Mira, o Norma" duet - in which Adalgisa tells Norma to "look at your dear children" was my favorite among several terrific arias. Bellin's melodic score runs from catchy to powerful rumbling as the tragedy unfolds. Norma is a most compelling work that assures Bellini place as a master bel canto composer. This production is visually stunning as it is sung with gusto. Radvanovsky,Thomas and DeShong deliver excellent performances."
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Tom Williams



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Even among great fans of the opera, it's relatively rare to hear live evidence of an audience having been impacted emotionally by the story (as opposed to whistling at a singer's technique). Before Kevin Newbury's new-to-Chicago production of Norma opened at the Lyric on January 28, the only other time I witnessed such enthusiasm was when CPS high school students on a class trip booed the evil Scarpia in Tosca. But the duet "Mira, o Norma" between Berwyn native Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role and Elizabeth DeShong as Adalgisa elicited widespread murmurs of sympathy on Saturday, proving that the 1831 opera truly does possess dramatic power when skilled acting and Vincenzo Bellini's beloved music work in tandem."
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Jacob Davis



NewCity Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...In today's monetary and artistic climate, what is the value of the out-sized form called "opera"? Don't answer that question until you've seen this "Norma.""
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Aaron Hunt



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...Go for the music! This is "bel canto", aka beautiful song, truly. Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is but one superstar on the stage. Tenor Russell Thomas doesn't have the same sized part, but he is of same talent. DeShong as Adalgisa and bass Andrew Silverstrelli, bald for the occasion, do not disappoint. The Chorus under the direction of Michael Black is also quite wonderful."
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Amy Munice