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Your reaction: La donna del lago in cinemas

Audience tweets from the cinema relay of John Fulljames's Royal Opera production.

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

28 May 2013 at 11.32am | 12 Comments

Our next cinema relay is Gloriana live on 24 June. Find your nearest cinema.

The Royal Opera House Cinema Season is sponsored by the Bank of America.

This article has 12 comments

  1. I thought it was magnificent, LDDL is a work I had not seen before, I was only familiar with a few arias. La DiDonato was superb even at the end, JDF high C's made me think how powerful a human trained voice can be. Colin Lee also packed a punch and looked the part. Florez's final appearance with kilt and cape and all the Scottish regalia was a sight to behold. Thoroughly enjoyable evening, even if it meant I missed my Godson's BBQ .

  2. Ron Brown responded on 28 May 2013 at 3:32pm Reply

    Singing, acting out of this world! Production, totaly crap! What is it with these producers / directors that they have to do something 'clever & insiteful' and not just tell the story? Gather ROH had a joint production that did jusr that, 'telling the story' but spent a fortune on a 'meaningfu'l production. A camp Rossinni filling his gob!!!

  3. Peter Erdos responded on 28 May 2013 at 4:26pm Reply

    Having attended the first night in the theatre, I was curious to see how it works in the cinema?Well the answer is simple,Wonderful singing from everybody, I was thankful for the healthy returns of Colin Lee to join the magnificent others.What a feast of sound with JDF JDJ and CL!!!!!!
    However this shameful production was more emphasised in the cinema, It was crude, unthoughtful to the score, the text and the singers. They really should have deserved a producer who was more in unison with Scott and Rossini than with Fulljames and obviously Kasper Holten!
    The soundtrack is a treasure to behold so a CD will be more beneficial than a DVD!

  4. Frederick (Madrid) responded on 28 May 2013 at 8:34pm Reply

    We all seem to agree that all the performers were fantastic. So my comment will deal the production, which seems to have raised adverse reactions. First of all let me say to the critical sector: I BEG TO DIFFER. For those who saw La Donna del Lago in Paris, it was a bland production, almost like a concert performance in disguise. So it is understandable that something new was needed. And what the ROH has produced I found extremely clever, engaging and appealing. It definitely worked for me (and for the other three non-opera goers I roped in... and that is a much harder test). Never a dull moment, always a display that engaged the audience in the plot while achieving the right degrees of critical distance to put into perspective without detracting from the enjoyment (i) Rossini's silly (by modern standards) plot and (ii) Walter Scotts' blatant reinvention of Scottish history by creating myths that never existed but were put in place to remain as an example of what the Old Scottish values must have been. Here on stage unfolds a balanced triple play of a 21st century audience watching history (and personal stories) unfold as they get recreated, idealised, dusted off the shelves by a gathering of Clubbish amateurs, who like Scott himself, are in love with preserving and reinventing the Scottish myth, while the real McCoy struts around in tartan, self-serving, unaware that his actions will be glass-cased as a key moment in Scottish history... even with some beastly moments (rape of female prisoners, ritual sacrifice of ram and smearing warriors' bodies with the animal's blood). All this in stark contrast with the civilised, stiff, almost bloodless curiosity of our Scottish Heritage Club Members, who dream of times gone by, travel to the imagined past sipping a wee dram or eating haggis with all the regalia of silverware. And we ourselves watch this, the distant past of those deemed legendary, living to the full with no historical mission in mind, just displaying greed, lust, violence and love; then the layer of academic approach to history and heritage through preservation of objects and people out of context, dreaming of the stuff legends are made of; finally the more sceptical and yet involved approach of a modern audience, thankful for the efforts of our well meaning forefathers (thank you Walter Scott for recovering the long lost Crown Jewels, duly displayed in this production), but readier to see our ancestors as less polished and predictable beings, warts and all. And it all works extremely well: visually, intellectually and musically. It is no surprise that now that the Rossinian plot, apparently silly and distant for a 21st century opera goer, is put into new contextual layers, we are readier to sit back and enjoy the music. And what a delight it was: all the cast was superlative! Thank you Joyce Di Donato, Daniela Barcellona, Juand Diego Florez, Colin Lee, Simon Orfila, you were all blessed the night I saw you. And thank you ROH and John Fulljames for being brave and creative when it is needed. It certainly was a challenge to have the Scottish landscape painted on cabinet panels, and to have Elena showcased in a glass urn... but it was a clear statement that what we had to begin with was a display of objects and mummies of times gone by, and then Elena was allowed to walk out of her display case and fling open the cabinet doors, so that she could relive her story of love, duty, loss and finally reunion... and this for all of us to see (and hear) before she was put back on the shelf, accumulating dust as a historical memento, which neither people nor operas should be. Bravo!

  5. Mag Mat responded on 28 May 2013 at 8:36pm Reply

    I am wondering why some directors feel the need to add unnecessary and annoying clutter to a show. Is this lack of confidence in the music? in the story? In the singers? I heard the director viewpoint at the beginning, who felt we needed that to get into the story. Man, that served only to take me out of the story (with annoyance at the distraction) while music and singing where all so expressive.
    I saw and listened to wonderful singers who were trying to carry us to a world where they were alone on a lake... excepted that they sat on an aquarium like glass box pushed by victorians and watched by other sniggering victorians: tough job for the singers! Luckily for them and us, the camera director had more sense than the staging director and was trying to help them (and us) with close-ups but still... sigh... It went better afterwards and during most of the show, though these victorians came back with a vengeance for the fight and the ending.
    DiDonato, Florez and the rest of the singing cast were wonderful; they made us believe in the world they were in, despite the staging handicaps. But even them cannot do miracles when 1- staring at and claiming not to see someone else (Malcom not seing Elena) 2- getting pushed in a window box...
    I can accept the (to my mind) silly rape scenes (maybe I'm stupid, but why would Douglas accept the rape of the women of his clan??) and the even more silly sacrifice (how do you get blood from an animal whose carotide is already opened??). Those were part of the staging of the story itself, I'm ok with that. But victorians crossing the stage to eat while the sacrifice is carried out? playing with soldiers hats?
    And still, despite the staging, this opera is a must-see. Why ? Spyres, Barcellona, Florez and, of course DiDonato. Such a cast, such voices, such expressiveness... I would vote for a CD release because I want to kill these victorians on sight, but I might still buy the DVD to see the singers(thanks again for the close-ups!!) expressing their character's feelings.

  6. Mag Mat responded on 28 May 2013 at 8:51pm Reply

    sorry, replace Spyres by Colin Lee... with my excuses to his great Braveheart impersonation

  7. John Davies responded on 28 May 2013 at 8:55pm Reply

    Well I went to opening night and was just blown away.
    I am sick of these people who call the production crap because IT WAS NOT and infact in years to come it may well be regarded as a classic.

    I accept some people have a problem with it but then some people are just over reactionary.

    I congratulate everyone on and especially Michele Mariotti - bring him back to ROH in the future please.

  8. Viewed in St Helens - wow!! What a performance. This format brings the opera to parts of the country that otherwise would not get to hear these singers. Came across this format purely by chance recently and am now hooked. It can't beat a live performance in terms of atmosphere but thanks to sponsors and Cineworld for bringing us this opportunity to experience the Royal Opera. Looking forward to the next season.

  9. Helen Hare responded on 29 May 2013 at 5:52am Reply

    I actually thought the production was clever. Emphasising that Sir Walter Scott (and Rossini) was guilty of looking at the past through rose tinted glass (known as tartanisation). My only complaint is that the king's and soldiers costumes should have looked like they belonged in the 16th century not the 18th.

  10. Sue Gill responded on 29 May 2013 at 3:57pm Reply

    Performance wonderful, and glad to have the production explained. But no-one has mentioned the absence of subtitles in the broadcast, in Malvern at least. Was there a reason for this? The technology seemed to be there as we had tweets displayed in the interval. I would have preferred to see the words of the opera as it unfolded.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 30 May 2013 at 10:21am

      Hi Sue,

      Very sorry to hear about the lack of titles in Malvern. This seems to have been a localized issue. We are looking into this with the cinema involved and our Cinema team will be in contact over email.


      Digital Content Producer

    • Mark Thackeray responded on 30 May 2013 at 4:16pm

      Hi Sue,

      Sorry to hear that you did not have subtitles in Malvern. The Tweets (and some of the other text) are "burnt into" to pictures (so they are part of the picture itself), whereas the subtitles are sent as a seperate part of the transmission, much like they are on Freeview when you press the subtitles button. We do it this way so we can send out multiple languages (usually 5 or 6 simultaneously) and each cinema can select which they use.

      As Chris said, chances are this was a local issue, but our Cinema team will investigate.


      Mark Thackeray
      Broadcast Engineer, Royal Opera House

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