Sleepwalking towards disaster? Bellini’s La Sonnambula at the Met

Controversial and thoroughly confusing, this production was notoriously booed on its opening night. The critics dismissed Ms Zimmerman’s production concept as alternatively tired or incoherently executed (or both); the audience felt distracted and disorientated by the constant stage business; and the conductor, Evelino Pidò, was castigated by some as “too halting” (though praised by others as “supportive of his singers” – which just goes to show you can’t please all the people all of the time). Despite all the baggage, the chance to hear Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez singing Bellini’s exquisite music still makes this well worth a watch online, not least because Bellini’s charmingly fragile work is increasingly difficult to stage – whatever the concept – for a modern audience.

It is more than tempting to imagine what this cast might have been like in a traditional production: even through this fractured setting, the performances still shine with emotion.

Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.

John Everett Millais, The Somnambulist

John Everett Millais, The Somnambulist

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