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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of Lucia di Lammermoor 2017?

Your Reaction: What did you think of Lucia di Lammermoor 2017?

Audience reactions and press reviews to Katie Mitchell's production of Donizetti's opera.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

31 October 2017 at 4.55pm | 45 Comments

Press reviews:
The Stage ★★★★★
Times (£) ★★★★
Express ★★★★
Guardian ★★★★
Evening Standard ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★★
WhatsOnStage ★★★★

What did you think of Lucia di Lammermoor?
Share your thoughts via the comments below.

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

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

31 October 2017 at 4.55pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Katie Mitchell, Lisette Oropesa, Lucia di Lammermoor, opera, Production, review, Social Media, The Royal Opera, your reaction

This article has 45 comments

  1. Joanna butterwick responded on 31 October 2017 at 8:15pm Reply

    Appalling...one of my favourite operas ruined by the ridiculous production..do you really want to see Lucia heaving into a lavatory?

  2. Victor Ellams responded on 1 November 2017 at 11:28am Reply

    I think this is certainly an interesting view of the piece which strips away the traditional view of Lucia in a frilly wedding dress tripping down the stairs for the mad scene. It allows us an insight into what brought it about. I actually missed the love making scene I agree it needed rethinking but now I guess we simply put two and two together as to the morning sickness. I very much agree that musically this revival is excellent A few niggles linger about the split stage I also agree that once you have heard the glass harmonica you can't accept anything else. I just mention too Andrew Tortise excellent as Normanno really fleshing out the character Bravo

  3. Nigel Ashton responded on 1 November 2017 at 1:27pm Reply

    Sensational, this is a truly great production, even more powerful in revival.

    It's clear from the press reviews this time that commentators are realising the intelligence, sublime mastery of stagecraft and originality of Mitchell's vision.
    Katie Mitchell is a world class director please can we have more of her work.

    • Peter Lawley responded on 4 November 2017 at 5:01pm

      Katie Mitchell was more at home with Pelleas judging by what I saw of her Aix production on the internet. I don't think she picks up clues from the music and libretto in Lucia. There are many more character clues in the Sir Walter Scott original novel. She seems to know what it's all about without all that stuff.
      I'm just a bloke but an admirer of Mary Wolstonecraft,. I don't find the feminist ideas to be any more than perfunctory. For me, this is not her best work, intellectually or theatrically, but great that it works for so many others.

  4. Philip Eaton responded on 1 November 2017 at 8:23pm Reply

    This was one of the best productions I have ever seen at ROH. Restored my faith completely after seeing the disastrous new production of La Boheme.

  5. Michael responded on 2 November 2017 at 1:31am Reply

    Lisette Oropesa is simply stunning.
    Don't let her leave the ROH before you book her for Puritani, i capuleti and any other Bel Canto role.

  6. Lucy responded on 2 November 2017 at 2:45pm Reply

    In my opinion, last year's production was much better. I do not understand why Mrs. Oropesa would ask for those changes in the story when she is younger and looks more sporty than Mrs. Damrau, they don't really help the story either. She's technically fine, but her Lucia seemed plain and didn't convey the same emotion. Having really liked the 2016 production, I was quite disappointed with this one.

    • Lisette Oropesa responded on 3 November 2017 at 6:26am

      Hi Lucy, the changes you’re referring to were made by the director.

    • Chris Maltman responded on 3 November 2017 at 10:15am

      Lucy, a little insider insight for you. As singers we almost never have the ability to make major artistic decisions about the productions we are in, merely to embody as best we can the artistic vision of our director. In this case that is most certainly true; all the changes in the 2017 version of Lucia were driven by Katie Mitchell’s own desire to refine and rework her original vision, not by or from us, the singers.

    • Adrienne responded on 7 November 2017 at 9:47pm

      My dearest Lucy, I’m afraid you’ve completely misinterpreted Lisette’s words. And even after hearing from the singer herself that she did not ask for those changes, you don’t believe her? Furthermore, she’s technically brilliant and conveyed such emotion through not only her beautiful voice but her acting as well. You don’t have to agree with the latter part, but if you please, do not start spreading rumors of something that is just not true.

  7. Anna responded on 3 November 2017 at 10:39am Reply

    This was the best production at ROH I have seen so far. Lisette Oropesa and Charles Castronovo belong to this opera. Everybody around me was crying. That says it all.

  8. Tim Wood-Woolley responded on 3 November 2017 at 2:35pm Reply

    First off, I must say that Lucia is not one of my favourite operas. I find the music to mostly sound strangely jolly given the very tragic story but maybe that's just me.That being said, I found the singing and playing last night to be wonderful - full marks to Lisette Oropesa, she fully deserved the ovation she received. This is the second time I have seen this production and though some of the previously more inane aspects have been re-worked (the murder of Arturo particulary and the running bath water) I still found the split stage to be a distraction. There are important things going on on one side of the stage that one needs to concentrate on whilst being continually distracted by "business" occuring on the other side. It's an interesting concept that may have worked for one or two scenes but became quite exhausting by the end of the evening.

    • Peter Lawley responded on 4 November 2017 at 4:48pm

      Tim, it's the sense of 'trasporto' or acceptance of fate and the determination to endure and live life, or leave it, in the face of everything.
      It's italian thing and sometimes difficult for the English to grasp.

  9. Geoff responded on 4 November 2017 at 6:23am Reply

    This production is unexceptional, in that it is (sadly but not unusually) by a director who is unmusical or at least uninterested in the dramatic narratives already told through the music. The reality is many of those in today's opera world no longer trust their audiences to experience the music as anything other than a "sound track" to the action on the stage, and so feel productions need more layering to maintain interest. One might debate whether such assumed ignorance on the part of the audience drives philistine productions, or whether arrogantly tin-eared productions are debasing the level of audience appreciation.

    In any case much is made of this Lucia's "split screen" staging, a device which assumes that those who originally created the opera had not already established multiple parallelism/dramatic tension/commentary between, first, the vocal lines and the orchestra, and second, within the orchestral writing itself. Those who can hear have no need of parallel action on stage: it is all in the score already. Only a director deaf to the refinements of the work would think it a good idea to impose a new set of layers on top of what is already there.

    Knowing this problem from the first run, I booked seats from where one can only see one side of the stage. This has the happy result of limiting the distractions of Ms Mitchell's diddling about (at the Insight evening Mitchell herself said shutting ones eyes could be an effective strategy so I'm sure she won't mind my only seeing half her show).

    This second run is far better conducted so I have been really enjoying the reduced field of vision, making it easier to concentrate on some wonderfully theatrical music making. I will be going back.

  10. Marie-Louise Dreux responded on 4 November 2017 at 9:03am Reply

    Musically outstanding, but the overwrought production is still far too busy. I always worry when any piece is billed as “the director’s”, rather than the composer’s/writer’s work. The production has many good ideas, but perhaps too many all trying to be expressed at once.

  11. Anna responded on 4 November 2017 at 9:26am Reply

    Possibly the most outstanding production I have ever seen. I often worry about attending operas because I often am so disheartened by the acting and or the theatrical direction / production... but this blew me away...

    I think it's very hard to make an opera like Lucia relevant to modern day audiences. Particularly young people who are used to realism. It's also one of those pieces where you could easily get bored by the music... / story / style....

    I was glued to the stage from start to finish. I loved the split staging. Made moments like the long choruses far more interesting. It also gave us more back story about the characters. We felt more empathy for them. I.e. Edgardo stroking Lucia's clothes before go into the ball room... and he doesn't think she betrayed him at all...until he is shown the marriagr paper. Then the explosion of anger was absolutely tragic. This drama needs that sort of build up and it worked beautifully.

    I think there were certainly moments of discomfort. I.e. Lucia throwing up. Her brother being in her bathroom. Her miscarriage. But that made it even more interesting theatrically. We felt her discomfort as a reaaal woman. Her pain.

    The killing scene became a bit of a laugh...which maybe wasn't so great. But what followed was so harrowing that it was very quickly forgotten.

    Katie has created an exceptional production and I am certain it will be one to rolldd out again and again.

    The singers were exceptional, both vocally and dramatically. Everyone should be extremely proud and I wish them all the very best with the final runs.

    My experience of this production will stay with me for life - thank you for restoring my faith in opera. ❤

  12. Brendan Quinn responded on 5 November 2017 at 12:24am Reply

    what has changed to this appalling production which ranks as one of the worst and most ill conceived pieces of theatre direction I have ever seen in 45 years of opera and theatre going, the tap I believe has been turned off, so they listened to me when I shouted from the Ampitheatre "turn the bloody tap off" Unless they have scrapped the whole thing and done a concert performance it is difficult to see what has been done.... Enlighten me please!

  13. Adam Mrva responded on 7 November 2017 at 12:22am Reply

    You should not ask money for the ticket

  14. Lucy responded on 7 November 2017 at 4:57pm Reply

    While I appreciate Oropesa's and Maltman's responses, my earlier comment was based on an interview (operawire.com/q-a-soprano-lisette-oropesa-on-roh-debut-met-opera-return-social-media/) where Oropesa said "Because Katie is such an incredible director, I had the privilege of her being able to make adjustments that suited me personnally. That means that some of the staging has changed from the original production (...) I feel that it's fair to say that the controversial parts have been reworked".
    Until reading this, I had always thought that only divas like Callas would ask to have changes made for them.
    I forgot to mention earlier the incredible and subtle conducting by Mr Mariotti, what a pleasure to hear the orchestra under his guidance, the best element for me!

    • Lisette responded on 7 November 2017 at 7:33pm

      Hi Lucy,

      Again, even as stated in the article you're referring to, the changes were made by the director. Even Chris was there to witness, and that's why he responded to you. I came to the production prepared to do whatever was asked of me, including the original blocking. I knew about the sex scene, for example, and the long murder scene. Within the first few days, Katie took the initiative of making changes to her own concepts, which I think is brilliant of her. If her choice to make changes was to better suit me, then that's valid. But I did not ask for them.

  15. Ann O'Shaughnessy responded on 8 November 2017 at 4:59pm Reply

    I read, with amazement, the praise heaped upon this production and wonder how much it has actually been altered. Dropping the opening love scene sounds sensible but it appears the morning sickness, murder and miscarriage have been retained. Nothing would induce me to sit through this again - not even the much lauded singing from the new cast.

  16. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 9 November 2017 at 10:51am Reply

    Was there last night. Musically it was first rate. For the most part I found the production distracting taking you eye and sometimes ear away from main action, especially just before the mad scene and in the last scene. But that said I have never been so moved by the mad scene. So worth the price of the ticket.

  17. Rachel Criddle responded on 9 November 2017 at 5:55pm Reply

    Well, well, having read all these comments before seeing the production this Saturday all I can say is I am excited and very much looking forward to it!! Toi toi toi to all you wonderful singers. (Also can I give a shout out to the orchestra, which I think is one of the best ever?! Must be such a privilege to sing alongside these marvellous musicians.)

  18. Michael responded on 10 November 2017 at 1:52am Reply

    Interesting and sad to read all of your comments.
    I have now seen this production 4 times.
    Twice in 2016 and twice in the last 10 days.
    We are all entitled to our opinions. I like certain aspects of the production and dislike others. But thru all this childish bickering most of you are forgetting one very important thing and this is the fact that we are fortunate to be able to see and hear some outsanding singing in this Lucia.
    Lisette you are simply stunning vocally as Lucia .Beautiful to listen to and wonderful to watch.
    Charles after hearing you 4 times in this role you are one of the best Edgardo I have heard in the last few years. Vocally secure and convincing in your love for Lucia.
    Christopher you are a solid Enrico and Michele a great Raimondi.
    With Michele Mariotti conducting this is a very strong Lucia musically.
    And finally to Kathy I appreciate the changes you made from the initial run in 2016.
    But more importantly with your production of Lucia you achieved the most touching and moving Mad scene I have ever seen. Your decision to bring Edgardo on stage with Lucia
    Is brilliant. You make us feel the complete dispair and sadness of Lucia loosing Edgardo.
    Thank you to all of you.
    Will be back on novembre 27.

    • Roy Hisccock responded on 12 November 2017 at 10:39pm

      Dear Micheal
      I agree about the cast (and especially about Ms Oropesa - one of the most moving Lucias I've heard: superbly musical and with a trill to die for and after her first scene wonderfully dramatic).
      You are not altogether happy with the production, but praise the introduction of Edgardo during the mad scene: may I explain why I think that doing this is wrong? Lucia has lost her reason completely and she believes that she is with Edgardo, about to be married. To actually put Edgardo on stage at this point can only confuse - if the singer cannot convince us that she believes Edgardo to be there (Ms O was very convincing) bringing him on won't help - it merely confuses.

  19. Ditlev responded on 12 November 2017 at 1:46am Reply

    Michael, I would second your comments. I thought this revival was altogether stronger than the first time around, and Lisette was an absolutely stunning Lucia - such a musical singer and with a marvellous instrument as well. ROH, please bring her back for bel canto roles soon! It's been years since Puritani has been done at the house and it would be terrific to have her in it.

    • Michael responded on 13 November 2017 at 10:12pm

      Totally agree with you Ditlev.
      Lisette Oropesa would be great for I Puritani.
      I also think she would be fantastic in Roméo et Juliette with Juan Diego Florez.

  20. Mr Quirke responded on 12 November 2017 at 2:03pm Reply

    I'm going to see Lucia..on the 20th November 2017, though I've already seen it last year.
    I do not like the split stage production and think it's a huge mistake!
    You can't possibly take in the full drama of two scenes simultaneously.
    The production mistake is really highlighted with Lucia,s blood soaked body in the bath.
    That needs to be centred in a full stage to have the proper impact it deserves.

  21. Oliver Cleaver responded on 13 November 2017 at 7:58am Reply

    Loved it. My wife and I went last Wed. She isn't a big opera fan and does not know the piece, and absolutely loved it too. Great focus from conductor Michele Mariotti. One of the best things at ROH in the last few years. The next night another great show from the Ballet - The Wind - wow! Oliver Cleaver

  22. Rachel Criddle responded on 13 November 2017 at 9:10am Reply

    Saw this on Saturday and I was not disappointed, despite some of the (less positive) comments I had read here before. Michael, I agree totally with all you have said about the singers. Lisette gave a stunning, seemingly effortless performance with each note clear as a bell. Charles and Christopher were also a joy to watch and listen to.. in fact, the whole cast, including chorus, were outstanding.
    Being a flute player myself, I was particularly thrilled to see the flute soloist come up on stage and receive her much deserved applause alongside everyone else at the end - I've never seen that recognition given to an individual musician from the orchestra before. Just goes to show what a wonderful, inclusive team production this Lucia is. If I lived in London I'd definitely be trying to see this again!

  23. Debbie responded on 13 November 2017 at 3:50pm Reply

    I saw this on Saturday and loved this production. Yes, I also missed the love making screen from last year but the singing especially from Ms Oporesa, was outstanding. Shame you didn't have the glass harmonica.

  24. D. Kalemis responded on 13 November 2017 at 10:58pm Reply

    Went at ROH on Saturday and saw Lucia di Lammermoor. I found Lisette Oropesa sensational and her "mad scene" was so dramatic! What a loss that her singing was not accompanied by music from a glass harmonica though.. The flute solo didn't add the same lunacy on Lucia, but otherwise the whole cast, chorus and orchestra were ablaze.

  25. Michael responded on 14 November 2017 at 1:44am Reply

    Dear Roy,

    I guess we will agree to disagree.
    You're approach to the "mad scene " respects and follows the libretto. Lucia in her madness thinks that she is getting married to Edgardo.
    In this production Mrs.Mitchell decided that the audience would see what Lucia is seeing.
    We know, from the moment Edgardo arrives on stage during the mad scene, that this is not the real Edgardo but the one in Lucia's mind.
    This leads to an extremely touching and moving mad scene.
    I really enjoyed the fact that for once we had something different from a soprano running around the stage with a knife in her hands and pretending to be crazy by playing with her wedding veil.
    Kind regards

  26. Michael responded on 15 November 2017 at 11:54pm Reply

    Ok It is now official.
    Lisette i am your biggest fan.
    Just simply another incredible performance.
    Probably the most beautiful and precise coloratura singing i have heard in the last few years at the ROH.
    Best regards

  27. Stephen Jay-Taylor responded on 16 November 2017 at 3:16am Reply

    What no-one either seems to have noticed - or if they have, ignored - is that the opening scene of Act III is now played out in Ashton Hall rather than as last year, and as plainly referred to several times in the libretto, at Edgardo's own crumbling pile at Wolf's Crag. It now makes absolutely no sense as a scene, with Edgardo uttering lines like "Who would dare to come here? What are those sounds of horse hooves? How dare an Ashton come to a place where my ancestors' ghosts walk?" all the while sitting in Henry Ashton's home, not his own. WHY??!?!

    As for the replacement of the wonderful, unforgettable glass harmonica with the third-best flute, puh!

  28. Alison Finch responded on 16 November 2017 at 7:08am Reply

    What a magnificent, timely production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Powerful and dramatic and so beautifully sung. Lisette was sublime and so in control of her instrument. Christopher Maltman was utterly utterly brilliant.

  29. peterstephen responded on 16 November 2017 at 1:37pm Reply

    I saw Lucia last night 16/11/17. First I would like to say that Lisette Oropesa was outstanding as Lucia. In fact all the singing and orchestral playing was rather wonderful. I can't say I liked the distracting split stage although aspects of the production were less intrusive than last year. I do wish that directors would insist on stillness on the stage when beautiful arias are being sung. One needs to concentrate fully on the music and singing to be transported and to share the emotions of the character on stage. Last night ghosts climbing on and off props or people dressing or going through papers blocked the magic of the moment for little artistic gain I thought.

  30. Robert Cocoracchio responded on 16 November 2017 at 5:22pm Reply

    We attended the performance yesterday and were completely and utterly blown away by the wonderful performances of the whole cast. Lisette Oropesa is a superstar, vocally exquisite and dramatically totally convincing. You can love or hate the production, we found it interesting and certainly different, but it did not detract from another truly memorable event at RoH..

  31. Maire Eiblis responded on 21 November 2017 at 12:47am Reply

    What a difference a year makes.

    Opera is musical theatre. Those who sometimes appear to like their theatre frozen in time should reflect that fossils are dead. But the 2016 Lucia was (for me) a theatrical experience of pure pain.

    Some things that conceptually might have worked, in execution simply did not.
    Other things could not work at any level, conceptual or otherwise. 1. The lowest point was the Monty Python sketch (killing of Arturo). Even if I do not "agree" a view, I can usually "get it". So deciding to show on-stage the killing is not a problem ; but Monty Python ? 2. The second lowest point was the loud running tap. Is this really to draw our attention to Lucia ebbing away ? Whatever it was supposed to represent, it was simply the worst unnecessary distraction of the evening.
    The split stage might have worked, but overall did not because of its misuse.

    I usually book two shows per run of practically anything at ROH.
    I did not bother to book even one for the 2017 Lucia (solely due to the theatre part of musical theatre).
    Thank the Lord, a friend had other ideas and bought me a ticket for tonight.

    Wow ; the playing was exceptional ; just terrific. The singing was generally OK ; but Lisette ; wow, wow, wow. I would never have known what I might have missed (notwithstanding the rave reviews). She was just stunning. I would say a large majority of the orchestra was clapping her enthusiastially, which says it all.

    The theatre ? It seemed less bad. The Arturo killing was played far less a la Monty Python (albeit elements of fetishism rather than feminism seemed to lurk) and the decibel level of the running water seemed lower (interesting to know if that was objective fact or imagination plying favourable tricks because I was so enjoying the singing and playing).

    My wife has snaffled tickets for the last night. Anyone who has not been to 2017 because of 2016 : GO. It is that worthwhile.

  32. Martin Ross responded on 21 November 2017 at 4:01pm Reply

    I must say I am very surprised by many of the comments here, it was as if I had seen a different production.

    There were glaring faults and I will touch on these briefly

    - stage design, a partition down the middle of the stage forced the action on the stage to far left or far right, this meant, due to the bowing of the auditiorium that those on the sides could not see anything happening on the stage. This was a bizarre construction because both sides were not really used as the same time to move the narrative forward. The addition of a large bathroom literally brought the action down to that of a sink, glamourous it was not. The divide also created overcrowding in the second half and chorus voices became muddy.

    - Production, we leaned that Lucia met Edgardo whilst visiting her mothers grave, at no stage were we aware that she had slept with him and was carrying his child. Lucia heaving up in a bog as the opening scene was insufficient to lead up to conclude her destiny
    - when Lucia murdered Arturo, quite ridiculous even to comment on, she was covered in blood, then we were meant to guess she was now covered in blood from a miscarriage.
    - I laughed several times outloud thinking it was not lucia that was mad but my understanding of this opera.

    Singing - Lisette Oropesa there were undoubtably some beautiful moments, a very technical performance, bel canto good, coloratura bad, very quiet rather than demanding attention. Her glissandi were more portamenti and this effected the emotional context of her singing. She was at her very best when singing with the tenor and the baritone.

    The lack of dark timbre to her vocal range lends itself to Mozart rather than the dramatic intensity of the Italian masters.

    The male singers were brilliant so I will say nothing about them.

    Over-all, this was not a memorable performance on any level and that is without comparing it to the emotional roller-coaster of the giants of the past

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