Auditions will be held on Sunday 2nd June 2024 starting at 11.00am at Widcombe Junior School, Bath, BA2 4JG.

Bath Opera is an amateur company and does not normally pay fees to singers. There is however a discretionary bursary scheme to which young singers may apply. Download our standard audition protocol here.

Please read below for details of the production, audition process and audition material.

Music Director: William Stevens

Design and Stage Direction: Neil Kirkman

To audition, please email a completed audition form and a CV and photo if possible to

The Production

The production will take place in the Roper Theatre in Bath – a modern , well equipped theatre in a school complex. It will be fully costumed and staged and will be working with  professional  but reduced sized orchestra of 20-24. Be aware that as there is no pit, the orchestra will be behind you and you will see the conductor on monitors. Bath Opera has done this several times and it presents no real problems.

It will be sung in Italian.

Performance Dates

Tech Rehearsal                            17th Feb 25

1st Dress with orchestra               18th Feb 25

2nd Dress with orchestra              19th Feb 25

Performance                                   20th Feb 25

Performance                                   21st Feb 25

Performance                                   22nd Feb 25

Auditionees please note, even if you mark during the dress rehearsals, 5 consecutive nights is a big challenge for any singer and particularly a taxing role like Norma. Please consider realistically whether you have the vocal stamina before you audition. We are holding the auditions much earlier than usual to give as much time as possible to build up to the rigours of these roles.


Rehearsals start in early September and the default is that principals work on Sunday mornings and the chorus on Wednesday evenings. However depending on the cast, Will and I are happy to be  flexible on this commensurate with getting the results we want, so we may have fewer but longer Sunday rehearsals. Given that the chorus work is interwoven with the principals you should be prepared to attend Wednesday rehearsals when called, probably from about mid November onwards.

Character Sketches

As a director I like to start the rehearsals with a very clear and fully worked out plan of the characters and action. Having worked this through and presented it to the the cast  I then regard this as a template on which we can build together during rehearsals so that the characters come out of you rather than being superimposed on you. The notes below are just to help you with the auditions. Where possible we have chosen audition pieces to help you bring out different facets of the character.

There will be more detailed notes at the start of rehearsals and we’ll see where we go after that.

Norma – dramatic coloratura soprano

You probably don’t need reminding that this is one of the most challenging vocal roles in opera!

This is a woman who lives her life on a knife edge and is therefore in a state of constant high tension. I see her as having three ‘faces’. She is at her calmest when she is fulfilling her role as high priestess – even when she is committing human sacrifice (which she will be doing on stage). Much of the ritual, such as during ‘Casta Diva’, I see like a Priest preparing the altar for communion… important to her but effectively just ‘going through the motions’. Think of replacing the symbols of  bread and wine with Mistletoe and Ivy.

Her more domestic ‘face’ is very tense. Her children are the very symbol of her transgressions against both her vows of chastity and that she broke those vows with the enemy of her people. She is capable of showing warmth to both her children and Adalgisa but frustration and anger soon bubbles to the surface.

Her lovers ‘face’ is only seen after she has been jilted so this is where her tension and frustration can rise to full blown rage.

Norma Audition Piece 1

Norma Audition Piece 2

Norma Audition Piece 3

Pollione – tenor

He’s a man completely in charge and used to vanquishing all opposition and getting his way. Quite happy to dump his ‘wife’ who has made great sacrifices for him and then inflict the same damage on another. In this he is quite one-dimensional until right at the end of the opera when he suddenly discovers another side of his character. Think of him as a Napoleon character.

Pollione Audition Piece 1

Pollione Audition Piece 2

Adalgisa – soprano (nb. lower register passages down to b flat)

She is Norma’s mirror image but a few years ealrier in the cycle. Assume she is Norma’s apprentice high priestess with a close relationship. However, unbeknown to her she is following in Norma’s footsteps in more ways than one! In the first scenes she feels guilt for betraying her vows but this is offset by the new excitement of being loved (or so she’s told) by Pollione.

However, once the truth is out she then feels guilt for having betrayed Norma and  anger that she herself has been betrayed… there is no upside here. So, like Norma she suffers great tension throughout but for her, both types of tension are quite new, so she wears them more as moods rather than something which has ingrained over time to be a fixed part of her character. So she is ‘lighter’ than Norma.

Adalgisa Audition Piece 1

Adalgisa Audition Piece 2

Oroveso – bass/bass baritone

Standard Italian opera bass father/authority figure with a bit of a twist that he isn’t really in charge. He’s chief of the druids but it’s Norma, his daughter, who to his obvious frustration calls the shots. He does have a moral battle at the end of the opera between his feelings as father (and grandfather) and his role as upholder of custom and ritual.

Oroveso Audition Piece 1

Oroveso Audition Piece 2

Clothilde – soprano or mezzo

Quite a nice character role. She is the only warm character and as such can play a foil against Norma in the domestic scenes. Not entirely clear what her role is – friend/nanny/servant? But she is clearly close to Norma and sees her as a real person rather than a powerful and scary priestess. Therefore all her actions can appear natural with nothing to hide.

Clothilde Audition Piece 1

Clothilde Audition Piece 2

Flavio – tenor

Again an interesting role as he is a mirror reflecting Pollione’s weaknesses. Whereas Pollione does most of his thinking between his legs, Flavio uses his head and is constantly basically saying “are you really sure about this? It doesn’t seem a very good idea to me”.

Flavio Audition Piece 1