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Why Lucia di Lammermoor is one of opera's most challenging roles

Soprano Lisette Oropesa explores the vocal challenges of Donizetti's tragic masterpiece.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

3 November 2017 at 2.39pm | 1 Comment

Technically demanding and emotionally draining, the title role in Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor is a challenge for even the top sopranos.

'This role is very long and very taxing', says Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa in this clip, originally released as part of #OperaPassion Day. 'In [the operatic sub-genre of] bel canto; everyone gets a feature moment but this opera has an extended scene at the end for the soprano when she sings and must show everything'.

The moment that Oropesa references is the opera's famous 'mad scene', in which the driven insane Lucia imagines being with the love of her life, Edgardo. It is a scene that makes or breaks opera singers, and was a signature showpiece of 20th century soprano Joan Sutherland. As well as some serious vocal technique, it also requires extremely honed acting skills, which Orpoesa has received rave reviews for from critics and audiences alike.

'[In this particular production] I'm seeing ghosts coming into the room, I'm feeling spasms of pain', says Oropesa. 'I could sing this beautifully but [director Katie Mitchell] wants acute attacks of pain. So I said to her, "How can we find the middle ground?". We're playing with dynamics – you push and pull so much'.

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

Lucia di Lammermoor runs until 27 November 2017. Tickets are still available.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

3 November 2017 at 2.39pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged #OperaPassion, by Katie Mitchell, Lisette Oropesa, Lucia di Lammermoor, mad scene, performance, Production, singer, soprano, technique, vocal

This article has 1 comment

  1. IAN GOULDSBROUGH responded on 13 November 2017 at 12:52pm Reply

    I was so disappointed not to find a recording of her absolutely marvellous performance and apparently there are no plans...:(

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