Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Natalie Dessay as Lucia di Lammermoor Natalie Dessay as Lucia di Lammermoor (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Natalie Dessay returns to her signature role of Lucia in this widely celebrated Mary Zimmerman production of the Donizetti work, with Joseph Calleja as Edgardo. 

Gaetano Donizetti reportedly composed Lucia di Lammermoor with the coloratura soprano Fanny Persiani in mind, and the role has since become a calling card for the great coloraturas of the world. Lucia's famous mad scene is considered one of the great opportunities for a coloratura soprano to exhibit her virtuosity.

Donizetti produced opera with astonishing rapidity, drafting 21 complete works between 1822 and 1828. The young Donizetti studied with Rossini's teacher, Padre Stanislao Mattei, but was saddled with a father who did not look favorably upon his son's artistic ambitions. The Italian composer spent his formative years enlisted in the Austrian army, where he continued to write music. The 1822 success of his fourth opera, Zoraïda di Granata, earned Donizetti his release from the army. From that point on, Donizetti devoted himself fully to composing.

Lucia di Lammermoor, based on the novel The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott, was first performed in Naples in 1835 and is considered among Donizetti's breakthrough works as the composer edged away from the influence of Rossini to claim his place among the great Italian composers in the era between Rossini and Verdi. Donizetti would go on to compose such landmark operas as La Fille du Régiment and Don Pasquale, completing 67 operas in total.

Cast and credits:

Conductor: Patrick Summers

Lucia: Natalie Dessay

Edgardo: Joseph Calleja

Enrico: Ludovic Tézier

Raimondo: Kwangchul Youn

Production: Mary Zimmerman

Comments [5]

Joan from Staten Island

Domk - I sympathize, but if you have a computer, go to and you will be able to play WQXR as well as WNYC AM and FM with excellent quality - much better than the radio.

Mar. 19 2011 04:40 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

Wonderful opera, wonderful words. I am very happy that I do not need the translation. Could not hear all of the opera but the love duet showed up in the film Flame of New Orleans with the incomparable Marlene Dietrich and Bruce Cabot. They sail off together to the music of the love duet.

Mar. 19 2011 03:50 PM
Domk Mauro from Denville, NJ 07834

I have been a listener to WQXR for almost 60 years, especially the Opera on Saturday. My greatest disappointment came when you changed frequencies to go on Public Radio. I live in Denville, NJ and now have difficulty in getting the station . Perhaps there some equipment I can get. But please don't give up the Saturday Afternoon Live Opera. It is the best thing on Radio. Also the productions are consistently first rate. Thanks.

Mar. 19 2011 03:28 PM
elsa grotefendt

took car service, with friend, to Chelsea Theater NOT knowing that early appts. had been already taken. Last time I went, seats were open at that moment . Very disappointed to not having been informed.

Mar. 19 2011 03:11 PM
Minnie Falconer from sacramento, california

It was a disappointment to hear Dessay sound old (hear a wobble) and tired... and this is her signature role?

Mar. 19 2011 03:09 PM

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