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NEW YORK OPERA FORUM
Cast of Characters:
FIGLI DI NORMA...TIMMY BURCH, IKE BROSLOVSKY
PIANIST/MUSIC DIRECTOR....RICHARD NECHAMKIN
The sacred forest of the Druids during the period of the Roman occupation of Gaul in the first century B.C.
To the sound of a religious march, Oroveso, father of Norma, enters with a procession of Gallic warriors and priests of the cult of Irminsul. He announces that when the sounding of the sacred gong signals the rising of the moon, Norma will arrive to perform the rite of cutting the sacred mistletoe and to bid the Gauls to rise up against their Roman conquerors. As the Druids disperse, Pollione, the Roman Proconsul, enters with his friend Flavio. Norma, in violation of her vows as priestess of Irminsul, has been secretly in love with Pollione and has borne him two children. Pollione confides to Flavio that he no longer loves Norma, but is now in love with Adalgisa, a novice in the temple, who returns his love. He relates a dream in which, as Adalgisa and he were worshipping at the altar of Venus in Rome, the voice of Norma suddenly echoed through the temple, warning him of her vengeance on a faithless lover. Pollione and Flavio flee as the voices of the Druids announce the arrival of Norma. As they leave, Pollione threatens to destroy the temple and burn the sacred grove of the savage Druidic god. When Norma arrives with her priestesses, she challenges those of her people, who, on contradiction to her oracular prophecies, call for immediate war against the Romans. Rome will fall, she explains, but through its own vices, not before the arms of others. She imposes peace upon the Gauls as she cuts the sacred mistletoe. Then she leads a lyric prayer for peace to the moon goddess. The faithful tell Norma that as soon as her voice bids them rise against the Romans, they will strike - first of all at the Proconsul, Pollione. But Norma, to herself, reflects that if Pollione were to return to her, she would protect him against her own people. As the crowd disperses Adalgisa remains alone, soliloquizing on the irresistible attraction of the lover who caused her to forget her vows. Pollione enters and tells Adalgisa that he is leaving for Rome and begs her to come away with him. Adalgisa, helplessly enamoured, consents. In Norma's forest dwelling the priestess explains to her friend Clotilde that, since Pollione left her, she both loves and hates her children. Adalgisa enters and confesses her blasphemous love to Norma. As she described how the sinful love first came to her, Norma remarks to herself how like her own first love it is. She explains that she is willing to absolve Adalgisa from her novice's vows, which have not bound her irrevocably to the altar. At that moment Pollione enters and, when Norma realizes that Adalgisa's lover is her own faithless lover, she breaks out into jealous fury. The act closes with a violent scene in which Norma threatens and
Pollione defends himself, while Adalgisa swears that she will never accept Pollione now that she knows of his betrayal of Norma.
Norma’s secret house in the forest.