La tigre e la principessa.
Norma/Grisi nei disegni di Victoria di Kent

Luca Zoppelli


On several occasions, Bellini expressed the opinion that Giulia Grisi could not adequately interpret the role of Norma, as she did not understand her elevated, tragic and sublime nature. Actually, that role became a piece de resistance of Grisi, especially in London. British newspaper reports suggest that she adopted a looser, and a more natural style of acting than it was expected in the continental classicist tradition. An important source for studying Grisi’s acting consists of the numerous sketches and watercolors in which Princess Victoria of Kent, later Queen Victoria, captured the gesture and poses of the singer, whom she greatly admired. Even with the necessary caution due to the media nature of these images, Victoria’s drawings seem to confirm that Grisi developed an interpretation of Norma that was very different from what Bellini expected: a human, ‘ordinary’ Norma, at the same time vulnerable, aggressive, and introspective.

Giulia Grisi – Bellini’s reception – Norma – Victoria, Princess of Kent, later Queen – Giuditta Pasta – Performing Bellini’s Norma

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DOI: 10.17422/ISSN.2283-8716/1058