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:
More keywords: tito schipa jenny lind
Watch videos with other singers performing In Elvezia non v'ha Rosa:
ALESSIO e CORO In Elvezia non v'ha rosa Fresca e cara al par d'Amina: È una stella mattutina, Tutta luce, tutta amor. Ma pudica, ma ritrosa, Quanto è vaga, quanto è bella: È innocente tortorella, È l'emblema del candor.
LISA (Ah! per me sì lieti canti Destinati un dì credei: Crudo amor, che sian per lei Non ho cor di sopportar.)
ALESSIO avvicinandosi a Lisa (Lisa mia, sì lieti canti Risuonar potran per noi, Se pietosa alfin tu vuoi Dare ascolto al mio pregar.)
CORO Viva ancor! Ah... Te felice e avventurato Più d'un prence e d'un sovrano, Bel garzon, che la sua mano Sei pur giunto a meritar. Tal tesoro amor t'ha dato Di bellezza e di virtude Che quant'oro il mondo chiude, Che niun re potria comprar. È innocente ecc. Viva!
English Libretto or Translation:
ALESSIO and CORO In Elvezia you do not have pink Fresh and dear to the par d'Amina: It's a morning star, All light, all of love. But modest, but backward, How vague, how beautiful it is: Little girl is innocent, It is the emblem of candor.
LISA (Ah, for me, happy songs Destined one day I believed: Raw love, which is for her I have no heart to bear.)
ALESSIO approaching Lisa (My dear, so happy songs Resounding could be for us, If you like pity, you want Listen to my prayers.)
CHOIR Long live! Ah ... You happy and ventured More than a prence and a sovereign, Bel garzon, that his hand You have come to deserve. Such treasure has given you love Of beauty and virtue What the world closes That no king can buy. He is innocent etc. Viva!
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