Opera: La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker)
Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
Premiere: Milan, 1831.
Publication series: "Scraps From The Operas Arranged For Two Guitars By Justin Holland"
Number: 17 of 20
Scrap 1: Andante Sostenuto.
In Act 1 of 3, all the villagers are happy for the young couple, Elvino and Amina (the "sleepwalker" of the title), who are about to sign a marriage contract. In this duet, Prendi, l'anel ti dono ("Take now the ring I give you"), Elvino gives Amina a ring, and she gives him a flower. So far so good, but things start to go awry moments later when a handsome stranger arrives in town.
Scrap 2 (at 2:12): Allegro.
Near the beginning of Act 1, prior to the above duet, a chorus of villagers sing the praises of Amina's beauty: In Elvezia non v'ha rosa, fresca e cara al par d'Amina ("In all of Switzerland there's no blossom like Amina"). She also puts the doves and stars to shame. The chorus is led by Alessio to annoy Lisa, the inn-mistress who won't be bothered with Alessio's attentions.
Justin Holland (1819-1887) was a 19th-century black American guitarist. He was the most important guitarist of his generation. Over 300 of his guitar arrangements were published. His earlier editions predate the Civil War. He would have been a household name to anyone who played guitar in that era of home music-making.
Moreover, Justin Holland devoted much of his life to working for the end of slavery and the advancement of his race. He participated in the operation of the Underground Railroad in Cleveland. He secured recognition of African-American Freemasons by white Freemasons in Europe. He joined other African-American leaders in local, state, and national Negro Conventions.
Guitar Primo (left) - Bob Wysong
Guitar Secondo (right) - Donald Sauter
Recorded: ca 2008
Credit: Sheet music from the collection of the Library of Congress. Picture of Amina sleepwalking from Cetra/Everest record album cover. Other text and photos from old copies of "The Victrola Book of the Opera" (1st through 10th editions, copyright 1913-1929.)
Feel free to download mp3s of the "opera scraps" at:
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