October 8, 1849 (Monday)

Clear morning but cloudy towards evening.

Went to see and hear the Opera of “Norma”; the principal characters of which were taken by Miss Rosa Jacques and Mrs. Seguin.  It is a splendid opera and was most admirably performed.  Crowded house.

Norma, a two-act opera by Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835), libretto by Felice Romani (1788–1865), based on the play Norma ou L’Infanticide by Alexandre Soumet (1788–1845), was performed at the Walnut Street Theatre with Miss Jacques in the difficult title role and Mrs. Seguin in the role of Elberta (although this character’s name is Adalgisa in most productions). Edward Seguin played Druid king Oroveso, Norma’s father. Norma premiered at La Scala in 1831 and had its American debut in New Orleans in 1836. Considered the height of bel canto opera, Norma is the Mount Everest of soprano parts.

We do not know if this cast sang the opera in English or the original Italian.

Nathan saw the Seguins on October 4 and Rosa Jacques on October 1.


Hamilton, David, ed. The Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide to the World of Opera. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

Lawrence, Vera Brodsky. Strong on Music: The New York Music Scene in the Days of George Templeton Strong, Volume 1: Resonances, 1836–1849. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

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