The Metropolitan Opera HD Live: Season 3, Episode 10

Bellini: La sonnambula (21 Mar. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Music
8.9
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Amina sleep-walks her way into the bedroom of a nobleman who is staying at the village inn. Enraged and humiliated, her fiancé breaks the engagement. The nobleman attests to her innocence, and Amina offers a demonstration of sleep-walking.

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Title: Bellini: La sonnambula (21 Mar 2009)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Natalie Dessay ...
Amina
Juan Diego Flórez ...
Elvino
Michele Pertusi ...
Count Rodolfo
Jennifer Black ...
Lisa
Jeremy Galyon ...
Alessio
Jane Bunnell ...
Teresa
Bernard Fitch ...
Notary
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Metropolitan Opera Ballet ...
Dancers
...
Dance Captain
Carrie-Ann Matheson ...
Herself - Interviewee / Prompter
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
Chorus
Evelino Pidò ...
Himself - Conducted by
Deborah Voigt ...
Herself - Host
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Storyline

Amina sleep-walks her way into the bedroom of a nobleman who is staying at the village inn. Enraged and humiliated, her fiancé breaks the engagement. The nobleman attests to her innocence, and Amina offers a demonstration of sleep-walking.

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Release Date:

21 March 2009 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Let's Do The Show Right Here
30 October 2009 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

Opera directors must have decided that the plot of La Sonnambula is so silly that it can never be performed in its proper period. The only other production of this opera that I have seen was set at an Edwardian picnic. For the Met's new production, director Mary Zimmerman sets the opera in a rehearsal room, so that it looks as though we are seeing a rehearsal of the opera with the principals and chorus in their everyday clothes. I'm not convinced by this approach. Obviously 19th century audiences found the idea of sleepwalking quite sexy, the idea that a young woman might wander into someone else's bedroom without knowing what she is doing. We are more blasé about sleepwalking today but it still pops up as a defence in murder trials where husbands claim to have strangled their wives in their sleep.

What really matters is that it gives us the chance to hear the world's two leading bel canto singers at the height of their powers. Juan Diego Florez and Natalie Dessay are simply sensational and, unusually for bel canto, they get the chance to show off their ability in a series of duets. I have never heard such precisely phrased duet singing apart, perhaps, from the Everly Brothers.

Mary Zimmerman's staging is most effective in the sleepwalking scenes. In the first, Natalie Dessay enters at the back of the theatre and wanders through the audience. In the second she walks along the window-ledge on the outside of the rehearsal room. Then, a section of the stage moves forward so that she is suspended over the orchestra pit to sing the sleepwalking aria which is the climax of the piece.

I have been watching the Met chorus all season so it was a treat to see them in their everyday clothes without wigs and costumes. Finally, everyone does dress up in their Swiss villager costume for a sort of parody of a traditional production. Natalie Dessay is tossed in the air as she hits one final spectacular high note. I was walking on air too.


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