Norman got off to a fast start for the tournament at 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor, carding a superb bogey-free 64 that included seven birdies.
Elvira enjoyed a very different kind of day, even as he also carded 64 to enter Round 2 with a share of the lead. The Spaniard made just five pars on a rollercoaster day. His nine birdies and an eagle was checked by two bogeys and a double bogey.
"It was like a rainbow. I had every single colour on the scorecard today," Elvira said in his post-round interview. "I don't think I have ever made nine birdies and an eagle in a round before.
"I think I played pretty solid. I putted solid, which is something I haven't done very well lately. I just caught a couple bad breaks coming in, but overall I'm extremely happy."
Thursday's opening round could signal an upturn in form for the Spaniard, who has missed nine cuts in his last 11 events.
"I haven't had a dream season, so I'm just trying to go shot by shot... it adds up," he added. "I just tried to stick to my process and I did very well, which is why I stayed so patient today."
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts sits three shots behind the leaders in fifth place alongside nine other players at 4 under.