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Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor relayed live to cinemas on 25 April 2016

Katie Mitchell’s new Royal Opera production of the iconic bel canto tragedy will be screened in 25 countries around the world.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

19 April 2016 at 11.07am | 8 Comments

Katie Mitchell’s new Royal Opera production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world at 7.15pm BST on 25 April 2016.

Download the Lucia di Lammermoor Digital Programme for free using the promo code FREELUCIA and enjoy a range of specially selected films, articles, pictures and features to bring you closer to the production.

Please note this production includes scenes featuring sex and violence, and is not suitable for anyone under the age of 15.

The story

In order to preserve the ailing Lammermoor fortune, Enrico is determined that his sister Lucia marries advantageously and plots for her to marry Arturo. He is horrified to learn she has actually fallen in love with his sworn enemy, Edgardo.

Before Edgardo leaves to fight in France, he meets Lucia to exchange vows. Once he has departed, Enrico tricks Lucia into believing he has been unfaithful and forces her to sign a contract promising herself to Arturo.

Edgardo returns to find Lucia wed to Arturo and, devastated by her infidelity, vows eternal hatred. Lucia is driven to heart-breaking despair – with tragic consequences for all involved.

The production

Katie Mitchell’s production is a feminist take on Donizetti’s opera. The English director sets the new production between 1830-40 to coincide with the emergence of early feminists including the Brontë sisters and Mary Anning.

Mitchell’s production sees the stage split in two with complementary scenes added to focus on the female characters of Lucia and her maid Alisa.

'We became very excited by the idea that there are some big scenes missing for Lucia', says Mitchell of her staging. 'I wanted to find a way of explaining why Lucia does a lot of the things that she does and particularly why she goes so-called "insane"'.

Watch our Insights event in full featuring Katie Mitchell exploring her concept for Lucia di Lammermoor

The music

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor is perhaps best-known for Lucia’s Act III Mad Scene, but the Act II sextet ‘Chi mi frena in tal momento’ is almost as well-known. It was rapturously applauded at the opera’s premiere, went on to influence such composers as Verdi. It was also one of the first ever opera ensembles to be recorded.

Explore what makes the Act II sextet tick with our Lucia di Lammermoor musical highlight article

The score was also a key point in opera history through its role in the rise and fall of the prima donna in that it rests on their talents but also marked the beginning of the end of their dominance of the stage.

Find out about the grand operatic tradition of the prima donna, and what led to their downfall

The cast

The live relay of Lucia di Lammermoor stars German soprano Diana Damrau in the title role, with American tenor Charles Castronovo singing the role of Edgardo and French baritone Ludovic Tézier as Enrico. Daniel Oren conducts.


After the relay on 25 April, we will publish a roundup of the audience tweets, so share your thoughts using the hashtag #ROHlucia. A selection will be displayed on screen in the interval.

Lucia di Lammermoor will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 25 April 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Hélène and Jean Peters, Mrs Philip Kan, The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund and The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Cover Awards. It is a co-production with Greek National Opera.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

19 April 2016 at 11.07am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged broadcasts, by Katie Mitchell, cinema, cinema broadcast, feminism, live relay, Lucia di Lammermoor, Production

This article has 8 comments

  1. Brendan Quinn responded on 25 April 2016 at 10:00am Reply

    Don't bother going. Worst production I have seen at ROH in 40 years.

  2. Mrs E A Lloyd responded on 25 April 2016 at 12:22pm Reply

    Only a man could write such a negative comment! Traditional opera, focusing simply on outstanding singing, is a relic of the past. By no means a feminist, Katie Mitchell 's interpretation of this opera, looking at it from the female roles through the double set concept, certainly worked on stage. I hope this transfers successfully to the screen as I found myself thinking that I could not imagine simply watching the singing - so much else was going on! A unique production - do go and watch it -- and enjoy it!

  3. Johanna responded on 25 April 2016 at 9:38pm Reply

    Dear Karsten,
    Fabulous production! Congratulations to the entire ROH Team!
    We are enjoying it as a group of five friends in the Hebden Bridge Cinema. If Lucia is such a head-strong, "feminist" figure, then why did she not just tear up the marriage certificate, grab Edgardo by the hand and elope? The modern twist is very interesting but doesn't work entirely.
    Love the split screen!

    • Geoff responded on 25 April 2016 at 11:03pm

      Glad you are having such a good evening out Johanna, but it seems so good your comments aren't really coherent. A "fabulous" production which "doesn't work entirely"? And who is Karsten? Do you mean Kasper or Katie or who?

      Nonetheless the idea of live opera in cinemas is a good one, and maybe it's good this stodgy dodgy show has at least found a few fans this way. Not a total waste of our taxes then.

  4. Lauren Mitchell responded on 26 April 2016 at 2:44am Reply

    A bit wary beforehand. Due to ' boohing' report. But superb performances by Damerau &Castronovo including the rest of cast and orchestra.The bloody scenes made no difference to content. Gore or no gore. But the Keystone cops chorus was amusing. Overall a very fine production for ROH. Thank you for the experience.

  5. Loved the music and singing but not the production. Was too fussy & distracting & far too much blood & gore.
    Nevertheles am delighted to have seen it in the cinema in Galway.
    Maybe I am a fuddy duddy but would prefer a more traditional production. Felt the violence was a bit reminiscent of rape scene in William Tell which I saw in opera house on it's first night. I would hate to think that productions feel the need to portray violence. I know it is the reality of our world but it is nice to escape!

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