HumanitiesWeb.org - Bel Canto - The Opera of Vincenzo Bellini [Suggested Reading]
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Vincenzo Bellini
Suggested Reading



Vincenzo Bellini: Norma
(David Kimbell)
This is the first time that the excellent series of Cambridge Opera Handbooks has put together a guide to a bel canto opera. The longest chapter gives a detailed synopsis of the plot, but the most helpful chapter gathers together sources for the libretto, information that is difficult to find elsewhere. (Librettist Felice Romani was a classical scholar, and the story has parallels with the Medea myth.) Also of interest is a selection of critical reactions from other composers. Mahler, we learn, was moved to tears by the work, and the impact on Wagner is given its due. Two of the analytical chapters concentrate almost entirely on the first scene, and more of this would have been welcome. The final chapter briefly discusses five interpreters of the title role.

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