La sonnambula, playing in a rural setting in the Swiss Alps, has a great deal of outdoor feeling but the events unfold at a leisurely speed at a time it is the early 19th century when the hurly-burly of todays asphalt-jungles was an unknown quantity.
To put it bluntly: Amina is not the only character that displays a somnambulistic behaviour in this opera.
He doesnt rush things, which is a common mistake when conductors feel they have to brush up Bellini.
But up-brushed Bellini often means vulgarized Bellini, and vulgar is the last adjective one can apply to this composer. Bellini may rarely be exceptional in the way Rossini and Donizetti frequently are, but when he is, as in the chorus that opens act 2 with the horn solo and the plucked strings accompaniment, then Pidò brings this out.
Out of Bellinis ten operas Norma is today firmly established as a standard work while both I Puritani and La sonnambula appear now and then in the opera houses or, as here, in concert performance.
Once in a while I Capuleti ed i Montecchi also gets an outing but to catch one of the others one has to be lucky indeed.The reason for the neglect has less to do with the quality of the music than the lack of drama.Also the music offers little true theatrical writing, Bellini being much better equipped to write beautiful melodies and atmospheric backdrop than creating musical characters of flesh and blood.Earlier tonight in Paris, at Opera Bastille, where Natalie Dessay was supposed to be singing "Sonnambula", a woman came on stage shortly before showtime and informed the public that La Nata was unwell, but that she'd sing anyway.The first Act was, apparently, OK, even if one could tell that Dessay was not in top shape, but just before Act 2, the woman came out again and said that Dessay could not go on singing, and they just canceled the rest of the show.One simply has to change to another wavelength, where people whisper rather than roar, where they walk rather than run and where they think before they act.This last statement is not quite true, however, since the whole conflict is based on a misconception from Elvino, who thinks that Amina has done what she definitely hasnt.8) is a splendid calling-card for this upcoming singer, who excels further in a sensitive duet with Amina at the end of the first scene.Furthermore Carlo Colombara triumphs as a true basso cantante with even, smooth, flexible delivery. 11) has rarely been sung with such warmth and elegance.Release Date: 05/12/2017 Label: Erato Catalog #: 560934 Composer: Vincenzo Bellini Performer: Jal Azzaretti, Francesco Meli, Sara Mingardo, Natalie Dessay, ...Conductor: Evelino Pid Orchestra/Ensemble: Lyon Opera Orchestra, Lyon Opera Chorus Number of Discs: 2 Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.