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This season, we are pleased to present the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, with their stunning production of Bellini’s La sonnambula. This bel canto favorite stars Jessica Pratt as Amina, Marko Mimica as Count Rodolfo, René Barbera as Elvino, and more. Giampaolo Bisanti conducts the Orchestra and Choir of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège.
In a Swiss village in the 19th century, a mysterious specter prowls around every night. When the beautiful Amina is found asleep in the bed of Count Rodolfo, who is visiting Lisa’s inn, she is accused of adultery. She defends herself strongly. But her betrothed, Elvino, is furious and breaks off the engagement. Will the villagers realize that the wandering ghost is none other than the beautiful and innocent sleepwalker?
A few ingredients cleverly put to verse by the brilliant Felice Romani based on a scenario by Eugène Scribe were all it took to give sublime wings to the bel canto of Bellini. The touching pastoral idyll, populated by festive villagers, featuring the beautiful and tender sleepwalker, Amina, as diaphanous as one of Chopin’s nocturnes, could not fail to hit the mark in 1831, when the world was fascinated by strange phenomena and sleepwalking in particular.
Intended for the stars of the stage, Giuditta Pasta and Giovanni Rubini, the masterpiece, which is the quintessence of the vocal art in Bellini’s works and crowned with a lieto fine, deploys a lyrical tone that culminates in the famous cavatina of Amina, “Ah! Non credea mirarti” where the desperate heroine, unjustly accused of infidelity, believes she is about to die… These few unforgettable notes were engraved on the tombstone of Vincenzo Bellini in Catania, following his premature death at the age of 34 years.
Summary provided courtesy of Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège.
About the Host:
Lisa Flynn has been a program host and producer for WFMT since 1991. She presents The New Releases and has hosted many programs for the WFMT Radio Network, including War Letters (which won the 2002 Peter Lisagor Award) and a series of live broadcasts from Salzburg to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday in 2006. As WFMT’s midday weekday announcer, Lisa hosts live studio performances and interviews guest artists including Renée Fleming, John Adams, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, John Eliot Gardiner, and many others. Before coming to Chicago, Lisa presented classical music at WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at WMFE and WUCF in Orlando, Florida. She holds a music degree from the University of Central Florida.
This program is a part of the WFMT Radio Network Opera Series, a series designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts to fill out the year with great Opera content. The series begins in June and lasts until December.