The Norma Fantasy
stands next to that on Don Giovanni
for its ability to capture the essence of the operatic drama in a new structure. It is probably for dramatic reasons that Liszt ignored the famous aria ‘Casta Diva’ (which Thalberg used as the basis for his fantasy) but instead chose no fewer than seven other themes for his gloriously elaborate work—a triumph of understanding not just of Bellini’s masterpiece, but of practically all the sound possibilities of the piano in Romantic literature.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1990