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Ambushed from Behind: La Sonnambula

Late-night performances to accompany the ‘proper operas’

Informationen Zum Werk


Directed by

Alexandra Holtsch

Set design

Sabine Mader


Sam Lubicz


Sebastian Hanusa

Special guests

Ben Jackson

Special guests


About the performance

Vincenzo Bellini’s LA SONNAMBULA is the epitome of Italian romantic opera. It combines the captivating melodies of bel canto with a story evoking the powers of the subconscious and the “nocturnal side of the soul”. We are presented with Amina, a young, penniless orphan living in a remote Swiss valley. Elvino, the wealthiest farmer in the village, is in love with her and means to marry her. But on the eve of the wedding things take a turn for the unexpected: Rudolfo, the son of the count, returns to the village and that night a spectre in the form of a young woman is seen moving around. When Amina wakes up in Rodolfo’s room, a perfect storm is unleashed. Her marriage with Elvino is called off and Amina is publicly accused of being unfaithful. But then everything ends happily: Amina is revealed as “La Sonnambula”, who had sleepwalked into Rodolfo’s room…

In the AMBUSHED FROM BEHIND series it is the turn of composers Ben Jackson and Tielie to work with video artist Sam Lubicz on Bellini’s LA SONNAMBULA. They are interested in the Amina character and what it says about the power of dreams and nightmares and the subconscious aspects of our souls, which are hidden in the daytime and only reveal themselves in somnambulatory form. They explore Amina’s inner world, seeking to portray it in musical form in an age when people are increasingly keen on capturing the “nocturnal” in algorithms. Their take as their point of departure the libretto and also musical material from the opera, which they develop and elaborate on. Soprano Cornelia Kim, tenor Michael Kim and musicians from the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin contribute short excerpts from the original opera.

The AMBUSHED version of LA SONNAMBULA is the first collaboration of the Deutsche Oper Berlin with the Music Board Berlin, which has commissioned the piece by Ben Jackson and Tielie as part of its grant programme. Another grant is going towards a work commissioned from Gil for the AMBUSHED series, a response by the composer to Alexander von Zemlinsky’s THE DWARF, which is set to premiere on 8th March 2019.

‘Ambushed From Behind’ is the late-night series of productions that, in the few years since its inception, has invited guests such as Black Cracker, Andrei Koroliov, Matthew Herbert, Lydia Lunch, Peaches and N.U. Unruh to present works in the Tischlerei. In this way five operas receiving their premieres on the main stage have been given the Off-commentary treatment in projects incorporating members of the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensemble. This successful series of one-off evening performances will continue in 2018/2019 with more special guests from the worlds of pop, rock, avant-garde and visual arts.

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