La sonnambula
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

La sonnambula

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In an apparent idyll high in the Swiss Alps, a secluded village society prepares for the next wedding. Amina is to be the lucky one this time. The groom Elvino, however, soon turns his attention back to his former wife because Amina sleepwalks into the bed of a stranger who has just arrived. Count Rodolfo, son of the former lord of the manor and travelling incognito, cannot convince the villagers of his innocence nor that of Amina, until she sleepwalks again and the collective belief in the supernatural is put to the test.

With its pastoral setting, its Utopian vision of a harmoniously ordered society and a happy ending reached by way of situations of great poignancy, La sonnambula is Bellini’s first mature masterpiece. Here he extends the expressive range of his lyricism with the most beautiful coloratura and lilting melodies; from Anima’s opening aria - which embraces ecstatic introspection, tender recitative-like musings and exuberant virtuosity - to her heart-breaking closing scene. Bellini creates a sense of the lead characters being part of a close-knit community by a constant musical interaction between the soloists and chorus. Teatro del Opera di Roma’s new production is conducted by Francesco Lanzillotta and is directed by Jean-Philippe Clarac & Olivier Deloeuil ‘LE LAB’, starring Lisette Oropesa as  Amina and John Osborn as Elvino.


Lisette Oropesa
John Osborn
Count Rodolfo
Roberto Tagliavini
Monica Bacelli
Francesca Benitez
Mattia Rossi
Giordano Massaro
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Orchestra
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Chorus
Vincenzo Bellini
Felice Romani
Francesco Lanzillotta
Directors, set and costume designers
Jean-Philippe Clarac
Olivier Deloeuil “LE LAB”
Set and lighting
Christophe Pitoiset
Luc Bourrousse
Video design
Pascal Boudet
Timothée Buisson
Graphic design
Julien Roques
Chorus Master
Ciro Visco



Sneak peek at La sonnambula

Sleeping walking, heart break and bel canto in a Swiss Alpine idyll.

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Behind the scenes

An introduction to La sonnambula

Directors and sets and costumes designers Jean-Philippe Clarac and Olivier Deloeuil (LE LAB) introduce their production of La sonnambula at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.

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Act 1

Lisa is in love with Elvino. He is the most eligible bachelor in an isolated community in the Swiss Alps. The two of them used to be together, but now Elvino is to marry Amina. Lisa is distraught and furious to see the man she loves marry someone else. Meanwhile, Alessio is in love with Lisa. He rehearses the villagers in a song celebrating the couple’s wedding, happy that Lisa will not be the bride. But Lisa brusquely rejects his advances. Amina is an orphan, who was brought up by the miller’s wife Theresa, and she is delighted at the prospect of her forthcoming marriage. She thanks everyone for the song and wishes Alessio luck with Lisa, who rejects him again.

Elvino arrives late, apologising that he visited his mother’s grave to ask her blessing for the marriage. He compares Amina with his late mother. The marriage contract is drafted: Elvino will contribute his house, property and good name to the marriage, Amina nothing but her heart. Elvino gives his bride his mother’s ring and some flowers. The church ceremony will happen tomorrow.

A stranger arrives in the village calling himself Rodolfo. Lisa offers to let him spend the night in her guest room. The stranger seems to know the village. When he sees Amina, she reminds him of a girl he loved and lost. Amina also feels he is strangely familiar. Rodolfo is told that the old Count has died and his son has been missing for years. He assures the villagers that the son is alive.

Theresa announces that it is the witching hour: a strange white creature has been ap- pearing at night with wild hair, capable of bringing the streams to a standstill. Rodolfo curses this collective superstition and decides to take Lisa’s guest room for the night. Elvino is jealous: he has not missed the complicity between Rodolfo and Amina.

In the guest room, Lisa reveals to Rudolfo that she has recognised him as the Count’s son. Their ensuing erotic encounter is abruptly interrupted by Amina. She is sleepwalking and mistakes Rodolfo for Elvino. Still sleeping, she imagines her dream wedding, and Rodolfo does nothing to wake her.

The villagers want to celebrate their new Count but find Amina in his bed instead. Lisa alerts Elvino – and Amina’s infidelity seems obvious for all to see. Elvino abandons Amina, who protests her innocence in vain. She is met with widespread disbelief. Only Theresa discovers an item of Lisa’s clothing which puzzles her.

Act 2

The villagers plan to appeal to Rodolfo to intercede with Elvino for Amina. Elvino sinks into despondency; he does not believe a word Amina says. Even when the crowd tells him that Rodolfo has proclaimed her innocent, he does not want to hear of it and pulls his mother’s ring off Amina’s finger.

Alessio again tries to court Lisa, unsuccessfully. When Elvino names her as his new bride, she agrees immediately. Rodolfo explains that Amina is a sleepwalker, but nobody believes him. Lisa asserts her right to marry Elvino and says that she would not be found hanging around in the Count’s room. Theresa, however, reveals the item of clothing that Lisa left behind. Now Elvino feels that both women have cheated on him. He demands proof. Then, Amina is seen high up, balancing on a narrow ledge, crying for her lost love. She must not be woken, or else she might fall…