Friday, July 30, 2010

PBS re-airs Met's production of Bellini's "La sonnambula"; perhaps a complement to "Inception"

On July 29, 2010, some PBS stations re-aired the March 2009 broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera of Vincenzo Bellini’s “La sonnambula”  ("The Sleepwalker"), with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez, as produced by Mary Zimmerman.

Maryland Public Television’s listing is this. A typical review (opera critic) is here.

Zimmerman’s production is “layered”. It is set up as a dress rehearsal in a New York City loft apartment overlooking Union Square, with the Swiss Village constructed inside the apartment. The “dress rehearsal” format makes unusual psychological demands of the performers, who say they have to give much more of themselves, and some of whom even wore their own clothes. (The concept reminds me of an important social function that happened my high school senior year in my own basement.)

The music is in bel canto style, with recitativs, arias and choruses and sounds lightweight to many ears, even compared to Verdi. But the opera is fairly early romantic, completed in 1831.

PBS stations may have become a little more interested in airing an opera about sleepwalking given the recent hype over the movie “Inception.”

The Metropolitan Opera offers a synopsis of the plot, however implausible, here.

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