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The Denver production by James Robinson, Opera Colorado's Artistic Director since 2000, was originally designed for Canadian Opera. It was also seen in San Francisco this past October. The set by Allen Moyer basically consisted of scaffolding, but it was used effectively, especially at the beginning when a Roman soldier was hung upon it so that the invaders would know what was waiting for captured prisoners of war. At the end of the opera, the huge fire that could be seen through the set provided a striking funeral image. Anna Oliver designed the attractive costumes and the atmospheric lighting was by Heather Carson.

Hasmik Papian (Norma, left) and Irina Mishura (Adalgisa) in Opera Colorado's production of Bellini's 'Norma'. Photo © 2006 P Switzer
Hasmik Papian (Norma, left) and Irina Mishura (Adalgisa) in Opera Colorado's production of Bellini's 'Norma'. Photo © 2006 P Switzer

The title role was sung by Armenian soprano, Hasmik Papian, who is no stranger to it. Her strong voice is perfect for the more dramatic moments and she can sing the most exquisite diminuendos. A skillful actress, she easily put her character's story across and her voice blended beautifully with that of her Adalgisa, Irina Mishura, whose singing flooded the hall with honeyed tones and combined vocal precision with dramatic coherence. You could tell that these artists have sung together before. Each of them was in perfect coordination with the other and their duet, 'Mira, o Norma' was an absolute delight.

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Copyright © 23 February 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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