Amina, a poor orphan, and Elvino, the richest farmer in the village, are looking forward to their wedding. But when Amina is caught in the room of Count Rodolfo, who has recently returned after a long absence, this idyll in the Swiss Alps collapses. Elvino breaks off the engagement and returns to Lisa, his former lover. Only when Amina appears as the village phantom, somnambulating at a vertiginous height, is her innocence clear to all. While sleep walking she was not the mistress of her senses, but once out of her trance she finds herself again the betrothed of Elvino. Bellini and his librettist, Romani, opted for lyrical, romantic material for their fifth collaboration and have ventured into semiseria territory, operas with a happy ending that are partly serious, partly frivolous. They place Amina’s spiritual life at the heart of the piece, with the music accompanying the two sleep-walking scenes exploring the psyche of a young woman torn between love, jealousy and supposed guilt. These stand-out moments inspired the composer to some of his most touching “melodie lunghe, lunghe, lunghe” [Verdi].
In a brilliant collaboration with set and costume designer Anna Viebrock, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito have adapted for the Deutsche Oper Berlin a production that they wrote in 2012 for the Staatsoper Stuttgart. The romantic idyll of an alpine village has been swapped for the stuffy confines of a village inn.