“Casta diva” from Bellini’s Norma is one of the most recognizable soprano arias, found in pop culture from many soundtrack appearances (Mildred Pierce, anyone?) and legendary renditions by the likes of Maria Callas (see below), Joan Sutherland, and Beverly Sills. Norma takes place on a Druid temple mountaintop during the Roman occupation of Gaul. It follows the heartbreak of Druid priestess Norma, who unbeknownst to her followers, fell in love and has two children with Pollione, the leader of the Roman forces. The Druids call for her to declare war on the Romans. Yet, Norma does not want to destroy the man she loves. During “Casta diva,” she prays to the Goddess for peace.
This month, and after nearly 20 years, Norma returns to LA Opera with Angela Meade in the title role. In our interview with Meade, she mentioned that she has sung “Casta diva” well over 250 times between auditions, recitals, and performances. It’s a role that catapulted her to prominence when she first performed it in concert at the Caramoor International Music Festival in 2010. It’s a special opera for Meade, one that she returns to and lovingly calls “the ultimate girl power opera.” Get a sneak peak of Angela Meade’s masterful rendition of “Casta diva” below in the trailer for our upcoming Norma.