9 March 2016 at 5.15pm | 9 Comments
The Story Begins…
Enrico Ashton determines to save his family fortunes by marrying his sister Lucia to Lord Arturo Bucklaw. But Lucia has fallen in love with Enrico’s enemy Edgardo, and will marry no one else. Will love triumph over duty – or will Enrico force Lucia to obey him?
A Powerful Plot
Lucia di Lammermoor is based on Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor, in turn based on a true story. Scott’s novels and poems provided inspiration for many operas in the 19th century, including Rossini’s La donna del lago (performed by The Royal Opera in 2013). Donizetti’s librettist Cammarano chose to focus on the more romantic aspects of Scott’s story. He omitted many of Scott’s large, colourful cast of characters (including Lucy’s villainous mother), gave greater prominence to the character of Lucy and changed Edgar’s death from an ignominious fall into quicksand into a heroic suicide.
Donizetti’s score for Lucia di Lammermoor contains many striking effects. These include the dirge-like march with ominous drumrolls evoking the gloom of Ravenswood Castle at the opera’s opening, the elaborate harp solo that precedes Lucia’s first aria, ‘Regnava nel silenzio’, the eerie use of glass harmonica in Lucia’s solo scene in Act III, and the melancholy opening of the final scene of Act III, with its sombre horns creating an air of foreboding.
Much More Than a Victim
Katie Mitchell’s feminist production contains scenes of sex and violence. It reveals Lucia to be an intelligent and resourceful woman, who until she meets Edgardo is more interested in the life of the mind than in love or marriage. However, the male-dominated society in which Lucia lives denies her both independence and Edgardo, causing her to take drastic revenge. Vicki Mortimer’s designs pay tribute to the Victorian Gothic, and form a dramatic backdrop to Lucia’s story of passion and thwarted ambition.
A Soprano Showstopper
The title role of Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the greatest written for coloratura soprano, and includes an extended ‘Mad Scene’ in Act III. Lucia was Joan Sutherland’s ‘breakthrough role’ – she became an international star overnight after singing Lucia with The Royal Opera in 1959. Other famous interpreters of Lucia have included Adelina Patti, Nellie Melba, Maria Callas and, in recent years, Diana Damrau, Natalie Dessay and Anna Netrebko.
Lucia di Lammermoor runs 30 October-27 November 2017. Tickets are still available.
It is a co-production with Greek National Opera.