Théâtre des Champs Élysées

La Sonnambula

Vincenzo Bellini

Sabine Devieilhe lends her crystal-clear voice to The Sleepwalker's Amina, an iconic role which Maria Callas made her own

Opera in two acts (1831)
Libretto by Felice Romani

Christopher Franklin  direction

Sabine Devieilhe  Amina
John Osborn  Elvino
Nicola Ulivieri Count Rodolfo
Jennifer Michel  Lise
Rachel Kelly  Teresa
Ugo Rabec  Alexis

Orchestre de chambre de Paris
Chœur Les Cris de Paris  direction Geoffroy Jourdain

La Sonnambula, composed several months before Norma, was hugely popular throughout the 19th century. The theme of sleepwalking was a source of fascination for the Romantic period, which was hungry for mysterious phenomena bordering on the supernatural and amenable to a “romantic” treatment. Bellini explored all the musical options available for translating the complex feelings of his heroine, who is afflicted by a mysterious disease. The opera, which has a thin plot, offers some of the most beautiful arias for the soprano in the bel canto repertoire. The title role at the opening performances was sung by the legendary Giuditta Pasta, the composer’s muse, who went on to make the roles of Norma and Anna Bolena her own. It was reprised in 1833 by the equally well-known Malibran. Audiences did not rediscover this somewhat neglected opera until the poignant performance by Maria Callas in 1955 at La Scala, Milan. The theme of the tender love of Amina and Elviro offers Bellini the opportunity to give full expression to his talents and lyricism.


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