City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh International Festival announces first production of Festival 2016

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 05 November 2015

The Edinburgh International Festival has revealed it will present the Salzburg Festival’s internationally acclaimed production of Bellini’s Norma as part of Festival 2016.

Starring world renowned mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the title role, Patrice Caurier’s and Moshe Leiser’s staging of Norma will open the Festival’s opera programme with three performances at the Festival Theatre from 5 to 9 August 2016. Tickets go on sale this week, ahead of the full Festival programme launch which will take place in April 2016.

Bartoli leads a stellar cast including John Osborn as Pollione - who sang in the Festival 2014 concert performance of William Tell with Teatro Regio Torino - Rebeca Olvera as Adalgisa and Péter Kálmán as Oroveso. Diego Fasolis conducts the I Barocchisti orchestra on period instruments, as well as the Swiss Radio and Television Chorus, Lugano.

The production premiered to international acclaim at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in May 2013, later winning ‘Best New Production of 2013’ at the International Opera Awards. It was revived by the summer Salzburg Festival in 2015 and is now on a European tour, of which the Edinburgh performances mark the first time it will have been seen in the UK.

The production sets the story in occupied France during the Second World War, pitting members of the Résistance against the troops of the military administration. It uses a new critical edition by Maurizio Biondi and Riccardo Minasi based on the autograph score, which restores Bellini’s original tempi, dynamics and phrasing. The choice to reinstate the vocal colours as Bellini had intended them made it possible to return to the original keys and tonalities and to open up traditional cuts.

Cecilia Bartoli said: “It is a joy to be making my opera debut at the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival with these performances of Norma. I look forward to sharing our new vision of Bellini’s masterpiece with the Festival public. It is a role that represents a milestone in my career and a production that is very dear to my heart.”

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director added: ‘We are thrilled to bring this remarkable reworking of Norma to Edinburgh where it can be enjoyed by opera fans in the UK for the first time, as well as marking the Festival debut of Cecilia Bartoli. We look forward to welcoming Ms Bartoli and the Norma company to the 2016 Festival with this landmark production’.