In the movies, sleepwalking usually lends itself either to horror or to comedy. Vincenzo Bellini's operatic treatment, La sonnambula, takes the humorous approach. Amina, engaged to Elvino, sleepwalks into the bedroom of the mysterious Count Rodolfo. The count honorably decides to leave without waking her, but when Elvino—not knowing Amina’s tendency to somnambulate—discovers her asleep in Rodolfo’s room, he calls off the wedding. Happiness is restored after he witnesses her, sound asleep, stepping precariously across a rooftop bridge.
Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835), La sonnambula, Sketches and drafts for Act 1. Autograph manuscript, 1831(?), Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection.