Natalie Dessay’s moon-kissed fingernails are all aglow as she “walks the walk” of Vincenzo Bellini’s quintessential character Amina, perhaps the most renowned woman sleepwalker in opera history, in Zimmerman’s production of the 1831 classic La Sonnambula, Latin for “The Somnambulist.” The production will air on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at the Met July 19 at noon for SundayArts.
The sixth of Bellini’s professional operas, La Sonnambula is set in a tiny village on the Swiss Alps. Mary Zimmerman’s present-day version, however, is set in a rehearsal space where the actors are staging a production of La Sonnambula set in the Swiss Alps. The story begins as the village is preparing for the wedding of Amina, played by Dessay, and Elvino, played by Juan Diego Flórez (Dessay and Florez just returned from their sensational run together in La Fille du Régiment at opera houses around the world). Themes of jealousy, mistaken identity, and innocence prevail, as Bellini’s sleepwalking beauty is put to the ultimate test to prove her undying love for her betrothed to the hauntingly mysterious music of Bellini and libretto by Felice Romani.