The 2016-7 season of the Israel Opera Company debuted on November 30 with a rousing performance of the opera Norma, by Vincenzo Bellini. The production, by Teatro of Torino, was conducted by Daniel Oren of the Opera Orchestra: Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion.
The lead roles of Norma and Pollione were sung by soprano Hrachuhi Bassenz and Gustavo Porta respectively. At the curtain calls, Ms. Bassenz received the longest sustained applause for her bravura performance. Ms. Bassenz will be alternating in the role of Norma with Maria Pia Piscitelli and Ira Bertman.
The outstanding male performer of the evening was bass-baritone Carlo Striulli in the role of Oroveso, the Druid chieftain.
The stage scenery is as minimalistic as you will ever see in an opera production: monolithic blocks of stone that slide back and forth like curtains to create larger and smaller spaces for the action to take place. Still, the plain giant boulders had a simplistic grandeur about them.
The costuming was impressive, especially of the Druid warriors. The matching of Norma’s burgundy dress with Ms. Bassenz’s red hair was particularly striking.
The Israel Opera’s production of Norma runs through Dec. 17.
The Opera House
19 Shaul Hamelech Boulevard
Tel Aviv 61332