In a love story more tragic than Romeo and Juliet, Norma, the High Priestess of the Druids, is expected to either negotiate a peace treaty with invading Romans, or lead her people against the invaders. There is a little problem, though, or, rather, two of them: Norma’s two children by her beloved Pollione, who is – you guessed it! – a Roman officer. The love affair is, of course, deeply secret, as she had broken her vows when she engaged in this illicit relationship. What makes it even worse is that Pollione – what a scoundrel! – doesn’t love her any more but instead, is in love with a younger woman, Adalgisa, a junior priestess, or a priestess in training, if you will. To make a two-act, four-hour opera plot short, Romans reject the peace idea (you know those Roman conquerors; they never had a concept of peace in their heads!), and Norma must exercise her second option.
Here is the inimitable, fantastic soprano Montserrat Caballe appealing to Casta Diva, the mythical Chaste Druidic Maiden with supernatural powers, to grant the Druid warriors victory over invaders. But again, there are two problems: first, she is advised by the male Chief Priest that a human sacrifice is required; and secondly, having borne two children, she herself is somewhat far from chaste, so the Maiden is, probably, not even listening! We are held in breathless suspense because the situation presents a perfect chance for Norma to get rid of her rival Adalgisa who, supposedly, is still verifiably chaste. But no! Noble Norma jumps into the sacrificial fire herself. The Roman, albeit just as noble, Pollione declares his rekindled passion for her and… follows her into the fire. Thus ends the famous opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini, an acclaimed master of 19th century Bel Canto style of operatic music.
This is how you make Bellini, a drink as delicious as Bel Canto music. You mix Prosecco or any sparkling wine or champagne of your choice and add peach puree. Traditionally, Bellini is made with white peach puree, but since I couldn’t find any, I made do with peach preserve. My husband had to use a gentle electric whisk to turn it into puree.
To be honest, the name of this drink has nothing to do with the composer Bellini, but rather with his namesake, the Venetian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini. The drink was invented by the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, a frequent hangout of Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, Orson Welles, and other notables. The name is due to an iridescent pink color, specialty of the artist who was dubbed “the master of color and light.” Yes, a true Bellini should have that translucent pink tint which mine doesn’t, but it is just as delicious!
Mix two parts of champagne with one part of peach puree or preserve, serve it chilled in a flute, and be entertained by divine music, art, and also poetry contributed by a dear blogofriend Chuck.
Today’s word prompt is ENTERTAIN : https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/entertain/
A gentle reminder: my book , both in electronic format and hard copy is only one click away at https://www.amazon.com/Dolly-Aizenman/e/B0789FDS7W.