In 2006 classical music lost one of its great singers — American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, taken at the height of her career.
Bellini’s La sonnambula does not have the most gripping or
convincing of opera plots: a young girl sleepwalks into a stranger’s room, where she is discovered by her fiancÈ; disbelieving her pleas of innocence, he jilts her and plans to wed another; but, she is vindicated when she is spied on a nocturnal wander, and the lovers are reconciled.
BartÛk’s only opera, a masterpiece to rank with other sole works in
the genre such as Fidelio and PellÈas et MÈlisande, was
chosen for the climax of the Philharmonia’s year-long series,
‘Infernal Dance: Inside the World of BÈla BartÛk’.
Wexford Festival Opera made a boldly calculated choice sixty years ago when it eschewed bread-and-butter titles, and instead raided the dusty closet where forgotten pieces by some famous (and mostly non-) composers were (at best) consigned to history.
There are some literary texts which, by dint of their intense compression of
incident, their creators’ firm control of structure, and the precision of
linguistic nuance, do not naturally seem to lend themselves to operatic