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Posted inArts & Entertainment

Review: Ashley Dixon makes a thrilling Festival Opera debut in its less-than-ideal production of ‘Norma’

Festival Opera launched its 2022 summer season a few weeks ago, with offerings including a free outdoor concert. But the company’s principal event for the season under general director Zachary Gordin was a fully staged production of Bellini’s “Norma.” Under the direction of Mark Foehringer and featuring soprano Shana Blake Hill in the title role of the 1831 bel canto masterwork, this “Norma” opened Friday in the Hofmann Theatre at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts. If the production elements didn’t always cohere in the first of two performances continuing through Sunday, there was a sense of dramatic urgency — and one thrilling company debut — in the nearly three-hour opening night performance.