The opera offers its heroine a role that is both strong and sympathetic with moments of extreme pathos. It demands a capable dramatic soprano with great agility and firm technique who is able to expressively declaim and convey the meaning of Romani's painstakingly selected phrases. Bellini's Norma combines the requirements of both a coloratura and a dramatic soprano, calling for not only perfect vocal agility but intensity, stamina, and a wide range of characterizations as well. Since the opera's premiere in 1831, there have been only a handful of Normas who have truly captured every aspect of this all-encompassing role.
Maria Callas adopted Norma as her signature role and she sang it over 40 times. Between 1948-1965, she was the reigning interpreter of this taxing part.
You can watch Callas perform this aria in a recording made in Paris in 1958.