Norma | Lyric Opera House | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Norma The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 24 2017

Bellini's tragedia lirica, first performed in 1831, is an old-fashioned, stand-and-sing bel canto opera, and nothing in this Lyric Opera production, directed by Kevin Newbury, changes its static nature. The libretto is a melodrama about a love triangle between two Druid priestesses and a Roman occupier in 50 BC; Lyric's supporting cast, clearly chosen for their outstanding vocal talent, aren't much help in the acting department; and sets, costumes, and props (including a giant ox and a hacked-off tree), said to be inspired by Game of Thrones, are pedestrian. In short, it doesn't work as theater. But the opera remains a marathon showpiece for the lead singer, and Lyric's Norma—Berwyn native turned international diva Sondra Radvanovsky—is up to the task. She dominates, physically and aurally, captivating the house with a powerful, butterscotch soprano and caressing the high notes into silky whispers. —Deanna Isaacs

Price: $19-$369

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