Jilted lovers, a mysterious stranger, the hint of a ghost story: Bellini’s La sonnambula
mingles comedy with melodrama in its tale of a young woman found in the wrong place at
the wrong time. From Jenny Lind to Maria Callas, Amina – the sleepwalker of the title – has been embodied by some of opera’s greatest divas and her crowning aria is a showstopper.
As ever in opera, themes of madness, misunderstanding and
betrayal loom large; will Amina have her happy ending, or end in despair?
Temple Speech Room, Rugby
Saturday 30 July, 7pm
In a small Swiss village, Amina and Elvino prepare for their wedding, but there are clouds on the horizon: Elvino’s former fiancee Lisa seethes with jealousy, townspeople fear a ghostly apparition who wanders by night, and an enigmatic visitor stirs up old history and new rivalries.
As night falls, the revelations come. The mysterious arrival is no stranger, but Count Rodolfo, the long lost son of the lord of the manor; and the ghost is none other than Amina herself, afflicted with a curious condition. She is a sleepwalker, and when her nocturnal wanderings lead her into Rodolfo’s bedchamber – where she’s soon discovered by the jealous Lisa – the fallout is devastating.
Rejected by her husband-to-be, scorned by the village, Amina must fight for her reputation, her sanity, and her marriage – before Elvino’s affections return to his old love for good. Will truth and innocence triumph, or will jealousy and scandal win the day?
Capitalising on a nineteenth-century fascination with sleepwalking, Bellini’s La sonnambula is an opera semiseria, combining elements of romance, melodrama and comedy. One of his best known stage-works, its lead roles were created by two of the greatest singers of their day – Giuditta Pasta and Giovanni Battista Rubini – and was a triumph at its premiere.
Though less well-known today, it remains a masterpiece of the genre, and Amina’s final aria, “Ah, non credea mirarti” carries special resonance: its opening line – “Ah flower, I did not expect to see you fade so soon” – is inscribed on the tomb of the composer, who died in 1835 aged just 33.
Director: Richard Tegid Jones
Musical Director / Piano accompaniment: Kelvin Lim
Details coming soon