La Sonnambula, 2019

About the Production

Our plans for the main production of 2019 are for Bellini's La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker). We will all have a lot of fun doing this.

First of all - it is a Bel Canto opera and so the singing is superb for everyone. The music is really beautiful and not intrinsically difficult to learn or sing.....but it is difficult to bring off successfully - particularly in English where the word rhythms are all wrong. So don't think you are going to have an easy time ! there will be a lot of work to do on musical style and precision to replicate the drive energy and articulation which the Italian language adds to the music

The story revolves around the village favourite, engaged to be married but who blots her copybook by being found in someone else's bed . Only when it is discovered that she is a sleepwalker ( La Sonnambula) does she get let off the hook by having a plausible excuse. Its all rather silly, but good fun.

It is supposed to be set in a Swiss village in the early 19th century with a family who own a Mill where the villagers all know each other, gossip madly, are sentimental , suspicious, credulous, change their mind at the drop of a hat and get very easily confused. These characteristics are vital for the story to work but I am sure that we all would welcome a change from the 'middle European Peasant' look, so I have looked for other locations where these characteristics could be found and I have decided to set the opera in a modern day retirement home/village.

We will have a full staff of carers , nurses, physios , caterers etc and the principal roles have been changed to reflect this. So :-

Amina... is now a nurse

Elvino... is now the inhouse doctor

Teresa... is now the cook in the retirement home (and is also Amina's real mother although Amina thinks she has been adopted)

Lisa... is now the care home manager

Alexis... is the physiotherapist

The Count... is now retitled and is an inspector for the Care Quality Commission who has turned up unannounced to do an inspection. It turns out that there is every likelihood that he is actually Amina's father following a fling he had with Teresa in their youth

Don't think that the retirement home setting is going to be staid though, I am planning it to be a fairly riotous place with lots of naughty behaviour.

Neil Kirkman

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