The Salzburg Whitsun Festival opens on 17 May with a new Leiser and Caurier production of Norma starring the Festival's artistic director, Cecilia Bartoli. Leiser and Caurier revisit their beloved 1950s in the sombre palette of Italian neorealism.
La Ceci has insisted the musical side reflects Bellini's own era instead of reverting to post-Verdian cliche. Her digging around has resulted in a revised score that reverses habitual cuts. The casting of Norma and Adalgisa has been rethought, and Zurich Opera's period orchestra, La Scintilla, has been drafted in.
Naturally the Decca marketing machine has not missed the opportunity to crank into action. A Norma CD follows hot on the heels of the performance, but with a slightly different cast. Read more and listen to the album on the Guardian website.