History Hour 63 – “Norma” by Dr. Luis Dias held on Tuesday, 16th November, 2010.

Famed soprano and one of the all-time great divas of the operatic stage Joan Sutherland passed away on 10 October 2010. As Norma, Sutherland scaled new heights in meeting the huge vocal demands of this bel canto role, and imbuing it with a high degree of dramatic truth in a unique compelling way that set the world afire.     Sutherland’s great achievement, preserved in this 1978 recording (150 minutes) of Opera Australia’s production at Sydney Opera House, was to render Norma a very human being, unraveling her complex reactions to the events which bring her personal world tumbling down around her. Using Bellini’s deceptively simple melodies to tender effect, she reveals the essential purity of many of his greatest arias, not least “Casta diva”. Ronald Stevens as Norma’s errant Roman lover Pollione and Margreta Elkins as Adalgisa, the unwitting agent of the priestess’s ultimate downfall, strike vocal sparks in their duets with Sutherland. The screening of Norma is a tribute to her and Dr Luis Dias will introduce her.

Dr. Luis Dias is a physician, musician and history enthusiast. He has recently relocated to Goa, having lived and worked in the UK for a decade.  He has played in several orchestras and chamber ensembles in England and India. While abroad, he pursued the serious study of music by attending music camps, workshops and lectures all over Europe. He has studied conducting and orchestration with Alan Hazeldine, and violin with Joseph Wolfe.  Dr. Dias is currently pursuing his love of music, music appreciation, writing and photography. He is founder and Project Director of Child’s Play India Foundation, which aims to teach classical music to underprivileged children in India.

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