Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
Premiere: Milan, 1831.
Title: Norma No. 2
Publication series: "Scraps From The Operas Arranged For Two Guitars By Justin Holland"
Number: 14 of 20
Scrap 1: Andantino.
This is the famous duet "Miro, o Norma" ("See, Norma, at your knees these dear children") in Act 3. Adalgisa further tries to convince Norma that there is hope for her and Pollione. Norma does not appreciate Adalgisa's efforts to weaken her resolve.
Note the order of the singers; first, Adalgisa, a soprano, and then Norma, a mezzo-soprano, which explains why the melody doesn't go as high the second time around.
Scrap 2 (at 2:34): Allegro.
This is the up-tempo closing section, called a "cabaletta", to the previous duet. Adalgisa assures Norma her own feelings for Pollione have faded, and Norma is finally won over. Here they sing together that, come what may, "Si, fino all'ore estreme" ("Yes, until our last hour you will have me as a comrade").
Justin Holland (1819-1887) was a 19th-century black American guitarist. He was the most important guitarist of his generation. Over 300 of his guitar arrangements were published. His earlier editions predate the Civil War. He would have been a household name to anyone who played guitar in that era of home music-making.
Moreover, Justin Holland devoted much of his life to working for the end of slavery and the advancement of his race. He participated in the operation of the Underground Railroad in Cleveland. He secured recognition of African-American Freemasons by white Freemasons in Europe. He joined other African-American leaders in local, state, and national Negro Conventions.
Guitar Primo (left) - Chris Braddock
Guitar Secondo (right) - Donald Sauter
Recorded: December 2008
Credit: Sheet music from the collection of the Library of Congress. Other stills from old copies of "The Victrola Book of the Opera" (5th through 10th editions, copyright 1919-1929.)
Feel free to download mp3s of the "opera scraps" at:
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