Christopher Alden’s recent production of Norma for Opera North has been awarded a prestigious ‘Achievement in Opera’ award at the Theatre Awards UK 2012, in a ceremony held at the Guildhall in London on Sunday 28 October 2012.
Norma premiered in Leeds in January 2012, with Dutch soprano Annemarie Kremer making her UK debut in the title role. Bellini’s high priestess is one of the most celebrated of all bel canto roles - with one of the most famous of soprano arias in ‘Casta Diva’ – but she is also one of the most dramatic and powerful figures in opera.
Annemarie Kremer was joined by a highly acclaimed international cast including American soprano, Keri Alkema as Adalgisa, Mexican tenor, Luis Chapa as Pollione and American bass, James Creswell as Oroveso, conducted by Oliver von Dohnányi. Director, Christopher Alden, set designer, Charles Edwards, costume designer, Sue Willmington and lighting designer, Adam Silverman created a dramatic vision for Norma which updated its setting to an insular rural community in the rapidly industrialising mid-19th Century.
Richard Mantle, Opera North’s general director, said: “Opera North is delighted that Christopher Alden’s vivid and intense production of Norma has received this award and we would like to thank the cast and creative team, whose wonderful artistry and musicianship found ample rewards in Bellini’s exquisite score.
This was the Company’s first production of Norma for some 25 years, made possible through a generous bequest left to us in the will of Gertrude Pfaffinger, who spent a lifetime in the theatre as an extraordinarily creative maker of props and costumes. Opera North mounted this production in her memory, with affection and an enormous sense of gratitude.”