Actually, rare are the opera that I think are as dumb as Sonnambula. Two arias have their fanbase, and there is nothing beyond that.
This is where you need an uncommonly clever, bright, talented director --essentially a magician-- who would find an opening and make the story out of non-story (libretto of La Sonnambula) and reach to the hearts of the public today.
It seems that Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito managed to do just that. All the shows are sold out, the reviewers are de facto competing in showing their appreciation of the show [not that I believe the reviews are a reliable gauge of goodness of the show, but that may be an indicator!]; traditionalists were apparently cringing at first but eventually surrendered to the poetry of the staging, while the rest of the public was totally enchanted, calling the directors geniuses, and everyone's performance terrific.
Rodolfo: Liang Li*, Teresa: Helene Schneiderman, Amina: Ana Durlovski, Elvino: Luciano Botelho, Lisa: Catriona Smith, Alessio: Motti Kastón
What fascinates me more is that Jossi and Sergio are by now very famous theater and opera directors and at this stage --when Jossi is the general director of the Oper Stuttgart-- they could have picked any opera to direct, and they took on the most difficult one and turned it into a big success. How big is that!?
In the production photos below, many of you will recognize the style of the legendary Anna Viebrock, who was in charge of the sets and costume design.
*) I saw Liang Li in Tristan last night (post to come) and he was excellent as Marke.
All photos ©Oper Stuttgart.