Based on the tragedy Norma ou l’Infanticide by Alexandre Soumet, Norma premiered on 26 December 1831 at La Scala in Milan with Giuditta Pasta in the title role. Too high for the soprano, and the key to its success with the public, the role was transposed by a semitone from the fourth performance. The action takes place in Gaul during the Roman occupation. Norma, the high priestess of the Druids’ temple, has taken a vow of chastity. However, she has fallen in love with the Roman proconsul Pollione, with whom she has had two children. One day she realises that her lover is attracted to her young friend Adalgisa and tries to convince him to give it up, but without success. For a moment she thinks of killing her children. She finally decides to denounce herself publicly, knowing that she is condemning herself to death in the process. Pollione, who has pursued Adalgisa into the sacred temple, is condemned in his turn and accompanies Norma to the stake. Casta Diva [Chaste Goddess] is the most famous aria of the opera: a plea for peace to the moon, it takes place in the heart of the first act and offers a veritable lesson in “belcantism”, requiring absolute precision from the performer in the vocalisations and exceptional breath length.
First performance on 26 December 1831 at La Scala in Milan.
Alkor – Kassel Publishers, revision by Maurizio Biondi and Riccardo Minasi
Diego Fasolis began his career as a concert organist before turning to conducting. A regular guest at the Salzburg Festival, he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Musikverein with the Vienna Concentus Musicus and the Arnold Schönberg Choir. More recently, La Scala entrusted him with the creation of an orchestra playing on period instruments, which he then conducted in Handel’s Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno. In 2017, he also conducted Tamerlano there with Plácido Domingo. Among his recent or upcoming engagements: La finta giardiniera at La Scala and in Shanghai, L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Berlin Staatsoper, La sonnambula at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Paër’s Agnese and Così fan tutte at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Dorilla in Tempe at La Fenice, Il turco in Italia at La Scala, Cherubini’s Lo sposo di tre, e marito di nessuna at the Florence Opera, Vivaldi’s Farnace at the Teatro Malibran in Venice, Handel’s Alessandro with the Kammerorchester Basel in Göttingen, Paris and Basel. In 2019, Diego Fasolis was nominated in the Conductor of the Year category at the International Opera Awards.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Faramondo (2009), Rinaldo (2011), Farnace (2011), L’Artaserse (2012), Dorilla in Tempe (2014), Die Zauberflöte (2015), Ariodante (2016), La clemenza di Tito (2018), Orpheus and Eurydice (2019), Meyerbeer’s Gli amori di Teolinda (2019) and Alcina (2022).
In search of a rigorous aesthetic and conceptual unity for a theater founded on all the arts, Stefano Poda has always developed his own language by combining the functions of director, set and costume designer, lighting designer, as well as choreographer. In 2019, he received the Claude Rostand Prize for his production of Ariane et Barbe-Bleue by Dukas at the Capitole de Toulouse. He has directed more than 100 productions worldwide, including: Rusalka (2022) at the Toulouse National Opera; the new production of Tosca (2021) at the Bolshoi in Moscow; Nabucco for the opening of the National Theatre of Korea in 2021 and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (2020/22); Romeo and Juliet (2018) at the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing; Boris Godunov (2017) and Andrea Chénier (2015) at the Korean National Opera; Antônio Carlos Gomes’ Fosca and Mahler’s Titan at the São Paulo Municipal Theater (2016); L’elisir d’amore in Strasbourg (2016); Otello in Budapest (2015); Tristan und Isolde at the opening of the 77th Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. His Faust (2015), Turandot (2018) and Thaïs at the Teatro Regio in Turin, have been shown in cinemas around the world. Recent projects include: the opening of the Verona Arena Centennial Festival in the summer of 2023 with the new production of Verdi’s Aida, broadcast worldwide; the opening of the Rossini Festival in Pesaro 2023 with the first modern performance in the critical edition of Eduardo e Cristina; the launch of the 2023/24 season of the Teatro Regio in Turin with Halévy’s La Juive; Enesco’s Oedipus at the 2023 Enesco Festival in Bucharest.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Ariodante and Faust (2016), Lucia de Lammermoor (2017), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (2019), Alcina (2022) and Norma (2023).
Born in Palermo, Paolo Fanale made his debut as Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) in Padua. Since then, he has performed on the most important opera stages such as La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Opéra national de Paris, the Berlin Staatsoper, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Salzburg Festival and the Dallas Opera. He sang the title roles in Faust and La clemenza di Tito, as well as Fenton (Falstaff), Hylas (Les Troyens), Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Tebaldo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Gennaro (Lucrezia Borgia), Grimoaldo (Rodelinda), Nicias (Thaïs), Lenski (Eugene Onegin), Rodolfo (La bohème), Il Duca di Mantova (Rigoletto), and Nadir (Les Pêcheurs de perles). He has worked under the direction of James Levine, Claudio Abbado, Kurt Masur, Zubin Metha, Daniele Gatti and Jordi Savall.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Faust (2016) and La clemenza di Tito (2018).
Born in Treviso in 1987, Francesca Dotto graduated in flute in 2006 at the Conservatory of Bologna, before embarking on voice studies at the Conservatory of Castelfranco Veneto, which she completed with honors in 2011 in the class of Elisabetta Tandura. In the same year she won the first National Prize for the Arts awarded by the Ministry of Education. She made her debut in 2012 at La Fenice as Musetta (La bohème), followed by a Lucrezia Borgia at the Teatro Verdi in Padua and a Violetta (La traviata) in Sassari, Bari and at the Teatro Petruzzelli. The debuts then follow one another: Fordiligi (Così fan tutte) at the Spoleto Festival under the direction of James Conlon, Violetta at the Rome Opera in a staging by Sofia Coppola dressed by Valentino, Musetta at the Vienna Staatsoper, Marino Faliero at the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo, Otello in Piacenza… She can be heard regularly at La Fenice (Don Giovanni, Il trovatore, La traviata…), in Rome (Il viaggio a Reims, Anna Bolena, Turandot…), as well as in Cagliari (Carmen), Dresden (Così fan tutte), Reggio Emilia (Ernani), Hong-Kong (La bohème), Beijing (Don Giovanni) and Geneva (La traviata).
Lucia Cirillo began her career by winning several competitions such as ASLICO and the prestigious Toti dal Monte International Competition. Her rich and unique voice has taken her to the most important theaters, festivals and concert halls in Europe: Salzburg Festival, La Scala in Milan, Paris Opera, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Chopin Festival in Warsaw, Glyndebourne Festival, Mozart Festival in A Coruña, La Fenice in Venice, Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Teatro Regio in Turin, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Teatro Real in Madrid, Vlaamse Oper in Antwerp. .. She has worked with world-renowned conductors such as Fabio Biondi, Sylvain Cambreling, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Daniele Gatti, Vladimir Jurowski, Alexander Lazarev, and directors such as Robert Carsen, Fabio Ceresa, Gilbert Deflo, Sir Peter Hall, Davide Livermore and Pier Luigi Pizzi. She has recorded important audio and video projects for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Opus Arte and Naïve (The Vivaldi Edition). With Diego Fasolis, she has performed the roles of Alcina (Orlando furioso), Elmiro (Dorilla in Tempe), Caio (Ottone in villa) and Berenice (Farnace) by Vivaldi.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Dorilla in Tempe (2014), Don Giovanni (2017) and Le nozze di Figaro (2021).
After his critically acclaimed international debut as Sarastro at the Opéra national du Rhin this winter, Danish bass Nicolai Elsberg takes on the role of Oroveso for the first time. After graduating from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2020, he joined the Royal Danish Opera’s Soloist Ensemble for two seasons, performing such roles as Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Colline (La bohème), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Plutone (L’Orfeo) and The Physician and The Editor (The Nose). He also sang the Watchman and Masquerade Master in Carl Nielsen’s Danish opera Masquerade and assumed the lead role of Jeronimus. In 2021, he represented Denmark at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition as well as the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition. In 2019, he was invited for the vocal residency at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Nicolai Elsberg holds a Bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Music from the Copenhagen Conservatory of Rhythmic Music (2014). At the time, he was the lead singer of the Danish band Spillemændene and collaborated with the world-renowned independent band Efterklang. His rich, sonorous tone has also attracted the attention of contemporary composers such as Karsten Fundal and Rasmus Zwicki, who have written an opera and an oratorio respectively specifically for his rare bass. Future engagements include a number of debuts at the Opéra de Rouen, Opéra de Montpellier, Malmö Opera, Norwegian Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center and a return to the Royal Danish Opera. His roles include Ramfis (Aida), König Marke (Tristan und Isolde), Fasolt and Hunding (Der Ring des Nibelungen) and Masetto (Don Giovanni).
The mezzo-soprano Éléonore Gagey was trained at the Haute école de musique de Lausanne with Brigitte Balleys and Hiroko Kawamichi. Recently, she sang Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Saint-Etienne Opera, Carmen at the Avignon Opera, the roles of Cillene and Difficoltà in Carlo Pallavicino’s opera Le amazzoni nell’ isole fortunate in Potsdam and Beaune with Les Talens lyriques and Christophe Rousset, as well as Rosine (Il baribiere di Siviglia) at the Montereau Theatre. Among her projects: Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) at the Théâtre de Montereau and solo viola in Verdi’s Requiem in Lausanne. Next season, she will sing the role of Aristeo in Sartorio’s L’Orfeo on tour in France under the direction of Philippe Jaroussky (Théâtre de L’Athénée in Paris, Théâtre de Sénart…). She is also very fond of chamber music and regularly performs in recital with the pianist Martin Jollet and the guitarist Guillaume Bleton. She won the 3rd prize in opera at the International Competition of Marmande and is a laureate of the Royaumont Foundation.
The French tenor Jean Miannay studied singing in Lausanne with Brigitte Balleys and in Berlin in the class of Scot Weir. He distinguished himself in 2018 at the 4th Raymond Duffaut Competition, where he won the grand prize. Following this, he won various awards at the Clermont-Ferrand Competition, the Kattenburg Competition, as well as the 2nd Vienna International Music Competition. His young lyric voice leads him to interpret roles such as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Beppe (Pagliacci), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Alfredo (La traviata), Vincent (Mireille), or Des Grieux (Manon). In 2018, he made his first steps at the Lausanne Opera, where he performs regularly thereafter. He sings in France at the operas of Massy, Avignon and Clermont-Ferrand, as well as at the Chorégies d’Orange for the fourth consecutive year. In 2022, he made his German debut at the Theater Magdeburg in a production of Orpheus in der Unterwelt. Curious by nature, he also flourishes in contemporary creation as well as in chamber music. He has performed Benjamin Britten’s Illuminations and Serenade for horn and tenor, Janáček’s Diary of the Missing and Schumann’s Dichterliebe. He is expected this summer as Remendado (Carmen) at the Chorégies d’Orange and joins the Opéra Studio du Rhin for the 2023/24 season.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon (2018), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (2019), Rinaldo (2020), L’Auberge du Cheval-Blanc (2021), Semiramide, Eugene Onegin and L’elisir d’amore (2022).
The Opéra de Lausanne Choir is young, made up of students of singing from Lausanne’s University of Music and the Geneva HEM, and professional singers. Its members are selected by audition and periodically reheard. For each opera, they are distributed depending on their voice and/or aptitudes. Thanks mainly to their talent on stage, supported by an infectious enthusiasm, they are highly appreciated by all the theatre directors invited. For a few years the choir has benefitted from preparation by several experienced choir masters from different backgrounds, chosen depending on the works being sung and their specific interest.
Born in Bari in 1963, Donato Sivo studied at the conservatories of Matera, Avellino, Bari, as well as at the Academy of Music of Pescara (where he obtained his diplomas in composition and conducting in the class of Donato Renzetti) and at the Wiener Meisterkurse für Musik with Julius Kalmar. In 1997 he won the 2nd prize at the National Polyphonic Competition “Guido d’Arezzo” as conductor of the Orffea Choir. He was the choirmaster of the Teatro Petruzzelli from 2008 to 2013 and of the Teatro Lirico of Cagliari from 2017 to 2020. He regularly collaborates with Diego Fasolis and the Swiss Italian Radio and Television Choir, which he accompanied in 2013 at the Salzburg Festival in Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli, and three years later in the same work at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden. He holds the chair of orchestral exercises at the Nino Rota Conservatory in Monopoli.
Born in Turin, Paolo Giani Cei has been assisting Stefano Poda all over the world since 2008 in the areas of staging, sets, costumes and lighting, basing his work on a theater that merges all the arts. He worked on the production of Tristan und Isolde conducted by Zubin Mehta for the opening of the 77th edition of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as well as – as a dramaturge – on Titan, a choreographic show based on Mahler’s First Symphony presented by the National Dance Company of São Paulo, and Fosca by Antônio Carlos Gomes at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo. In recent years, he has directed Madama Butterfly, La traviata, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, La bohème, Cenerentola and Don Giovanni at the Teatro Verdi in Padua, La Voix humaine at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and in 2021, Die lustige Wittwe at the Teatro Mario del Monaco in Treviso. As an assistant, he is working on Tosca at the Bolshoi in 2021, Nabucco at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in 2020/22, Ariadne and Bluebeard at the Capitole in Toulouse in 2019, Turandot and Faust at the Teatro Regio in Turin in 2018 and 2015, Otello at the National Opera in Budapest in 2015, Boris Godunov and Andrea Chénier at the National Opera in Korea in 2017 and 2015, and La forza del destino at the Parma Verdi Festival in 2014.