Romantic operas provide a useful tool for historians to understand the perception of some medical disorders that existed during the nineteenth century. Somnambulism was still a mysterious condition during this time, since its pathogenesis was unknown. Hence, it comes as no surprise that somnambulism features in a number of operas, the best known of which are Verdi's 'Macbeth' and Bellini's 'La Sonnambula', both the subject of recent scholarship. Here we examine a more obscure opera in which sleepwalking is depicted. Dating from 1824, 'Il Sonnambulo' by the Italian composer Michele Carafa is based on a libretto by Felice Romani. Although it shares some features with the Verdi and Bellini operas, it also presents original elements. Our analysis of this forgotten opera supports the contention that studying operas can shed light on medical theories and practices, and on how ideas about mind and body disorders were transmitted to the laity in times past.

Riva, M., Mazzocchi, C., Cesana, G., Finger, S. (2016). 'Il Sonnambulo' by Michele Carafa: A forgotten romantic opera with sleepwalking. EUROPEAN NEUROLOGY, 76(5-6), 210-215 [10.1159/000450852].

'Il Sonnambulo' by Michele Carafa: A forgotten romantic opera with sleepwalking

RIVA, MICHELE AUGUSTO
;
CESANA, GIANCARLO;
2016

Abstract

Romantic operas provide a useful tool for historians to understand the perception of some medical disorders that existed during the nineteenth century. Somnambulism was still a mysterious condition during this time, since its pathogenesis was unknown. Hence, it comes as no surprise that somnambulism features in a number of operas, the best known of which are Verdi's 'Macbeth' and Bellini's 'La Sonnambula', both the subject of recent scholarship. Here we examine a more obscure opera in which sleepwalking is depicted. Dating from 1824, 'Il Sonnambulo' by the Italian composer Michele Carafa is based on a libretto by Felice Romani. Although it shares some features with the Verdi and Bellini operas, it also presents original elements. Our analysis of this forgotten opera supports the contention that studying operas can shed light on medical theories and practices, and on how ideas about mind and body disorders were transmitted to the laity in times past.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Felice Romani; History; Michele Carafa; Music; Opera; Sleepwalking;
Felice Romani; History; Michele Carafa; Music; Opera; Sleepwalking; Neurology; Neurology (clinical)
English
210
215
6
Riva, M., Mazzocchi, C., Cesana, G., Finger, S. (2016). 'Il Sonnambulo' by Michele Carafa: A forgotten romantic opera with sleepwalking. EUROPEAN NEUROLOGY, 76(5-6), 210-215 [10.1159/000450852].
Riva, M; Mazzocchi, C; Cesana, G; Finger, S
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/141332
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