Casta Diva from ‘Norma’: Joan Sutherland

Casta Diva…Fine al rito – No. 4, Cavatina and Cabaletta
from Act I of the Italian opera, Norma by Vincenzo Bellini
Libretto : Felice Romani

  • Role : Norma, High Priestess of the Druid Temple of Esus
  • Voice Part : soprano   Fach : dramatic coloratura
  • Setting : Night in the Druid’s sacred forest, Gaul, around 50 B.C.
  • Synopsis : The Druids have come to meet with Norma, their high priestess. They want to revolt against their Roman oppressors but Norma convinces them that their time to rise up has not come yet. Rome will be defeated by their own failings. Norma then invokes the moon and prays for peace. While the chorus of Druids sings their derison against the Romans, Norma sings her cabaletta, privately worrying that that the hatred for the Romans must also translate to hatred for Pollione, her secret Roman lover.
  • Translation and/or Aria Text : Translation by Stefano Olcese.

Casta Diva, che inargenti O pure Goddess, who silver
queste sacre antiche piante, These sacred ancient plants,
a noi volgi il bel sembiante Turn thy beautiful semblance on us
senza nube e senza vel… Unclouded and unveiled…
Tempra, o Diva, Temper, o Goddess,
tempra tu de’ cori ardenti The brave zeal
tempra ancora lo zelo audace, Of the ardent spirits,
spargi in terra quella pace Scatter on the earth the peace
che regnar tu fai nel ciel… Thou make reign in the sky…

Fine al rito : e il sacro bosco Complete the rite : and the sacred wood
Sia disgombro dai profani. Be clear of the laity.
Quando il Nume irato e fosco, When the irate and gloomy God
Chiegga il sangue dei Romani, Asks for the Roman’s blood
Dal Druidico delubro My voice will thunder
La mia voce tuonerà. From the Druidic temple.
Cadrà; punirlo io posso. He will fall ; I can punish him
(Ma, punirlo, il cor non sa. (But my heart is unable to do so).
Ah! bello a me ritorna (Ah! Return to me beautiful
Del fido amor primiero; In your first true love ;
E contro il mondo intiero… I’ll protect you
Difesa a te sarò. Against the entire world.
Ah! bello a me ritorna Ah! Return to me beautiful
Del raggio tuo sereno; With your serene ray;
E vita nel tuo seno, I’ll have life, sky
E patria e cielo avrò. And homeland in your heart.
Ah, riedi ancora qual eri allora, Ah, return again as you were then,
Quando il cor ti diedi allora, When I gave you my heart then,
Ah, riedi a me.) Ah, come back to me.)

170px-Giulia_Grisi_som_Norma

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About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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