Lucia di Lammermoor
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
RNCM Theatre, 11 October 2013
This is a stirring production of Donizetti’s dark opera, based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel.
As arias and melodies go, you’ll find few as beautiful as those here; the music is dramatic or atmospheric as and when it needs to be; and the so-called ‘mad scene’ where a blood-spattered Lucia (Rochelle Hart) parades before her wedding guests is as extraordinary as ever. The demands that this unique scene places on the soprano are great indeed, but one must say that Rochelle Hart was equal to them.
Yet for all its undoubted virtues and grand heights, the opera does have one dramatic flaw: the final scene (Edgardo’s suicide) often feels like an anti-climax. Lucia has been simply too strong a presence; the penultimate scene too striking a spectacle.
Even so, an opera that undertakes to tell the story of a transgressive love, one neither blessed by God nor sanctioned by society, where the woman is a murderer and the man a suicide (and most likely a reader of Radicati’s A Philosophical Dissertation Upon Death in his spare time). How can seeing such an opera not be a liberating experience?
Details of all Opera Seria’s future productions, including the production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in April 2014, can be found here.