BELLINI, Vincenzo (1810-1835). Autograph music manuscript, a draft for La Sonnambula, [early 1831], an early version of part of Elvino's Act II aria 'Tutto è sciolto ... Pasci il guardo', from the words 'me non v'ha conforto' to 'dell'eccesso de' miei mali', with Amina's interjection 'Ah mio Elvino ... ah deh m'odi', words and vocal lines only on one stave (briefly in two staves), emendation to one phrase of text, the last bars in three different versions, all extravagantly cancelled, 35 bars on four pages, oblong 4to (285 x 406mm), bifolium, ruled in 20 staves (staining at upper inner corner; minor speckling). Provenance: inscribed on the margin of p.4 and signed by Bellini's brothers, 'Sonnambula. Autografo di Vincenzo Bellini. I suoi fratelli Mario Bellini e Carmelo Bellini', with statement and stamp of Mario Destefani, notary, Catania, 1882.
The draft relates to the scene early in the second act in which Elvino first laments his apparent betrayal by his fiancée, the sleepwalking Amina, and then reproaches her, before taking back his ring. The draft differs substantially from the published text, with an altogether different melody for 'Tutto è sciolto' and a much abbreviated variant of the intervening dialogue between Elvino and Amina; the melody of 'Pasci il guardo' is substantially that of the final version, though notated here in 2/4.
'In La Sonnambula Bellini's mature style appears finally crystallized' (Grove Opera). By Bellini's own account, the work was composed at great speed early in 1831 at Moltrasio on Lake Como, its pastoral and idyllic character perhaps a response to the rejection by the censors of his proposed opera based on Victor Hugo's Hernani. The libretto is by Felice Romani, and the first performance took place at the Teatro Carcano in Milan on 6 March, under the baton of the composer, and with Giuditta Pasta in the role of Amina. The present draft shows the genesis of one of the flowing, lyrical melodies with which the work is replete. Sketches for La Sonnambula are held at the Museo Belliniano, Catania, and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.