We're off to Grange Park Opera on Wednesday for the first night of Norma with Claire Rutter in the title role.
Bellini wrote the opera for two sopranos, Giuditta Pasta and Giulia Grisi. Grisi sang Adalgisa, but went on to sing Norma herself. Because Norma and Adalgisa sing quite a few duets, a tradition sprang up of casting Adalgisa as a mezzo-soprano, something which Grange Park is doing (the role will be sung by Sara Fulgoni). But one interesting musical feature of Claire Rutter's performance will be Casta Diva. Bellini wrote the aria in G, but seems to have transposed it down a tone to F at Pasta's request. Nowadays it is usually sung in F or even E.
We look forward to the performance with interest.