Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Albina Shagimuratova in the title role of Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor' Albina Shagimuratova in the title role of Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor' (Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera)

Saturday at 12 pm, tune in to hear Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia in Gaetano Donizetti's masterpiece, with tenor Joseph Calleja as her love interest, Edgardo. 

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 coloratura sopranos of the world. Lucia's famous mad scene is considered one of the great opportunities for a coloratura to exhibit her virtuosity.

The opera centers on Lucia and Edgardo, who are breathlessly, desperately in love. But their two clans are bitter rivals, so Lucia’s villainous brother Enrico sets out to kill his young sister’s romance. And he deploys every devious device he can muster, including lies, forgery, and finally the false revelation of Edgardo’s infidelity. Lucia is mentally crushed and destroyed, driven to madness and murder before she dies of a broken heart.

For its revival of the Met's Mary Zimmerman's production, the cast also includes the baritone Luca Salsi and the bass Alastair Miles. Maurizio Benini conducts.


Conductor: Maurizio Benini
Lucia: Albina Shagimuratova
Edgardo: Joseph Calleja
Enrico: Luca Salsi
Raimondo: Alastair Miles

Comments [13]

Les from Miami, Florida

The usually omitted "Ashton Si`!" duet was included. As usual, some second stanzas were omitted throughout, including some cuts heard since the days of the wonderful Lily Pons and Ferrucio Tagliavini (and probably earlier). It may seem a trifle, but I missed hearing the triangle bass drum and cymbal throughout when they were called for. I wonder if others feel the same. I found the conductor's tendency to ask the strings to play initial rhythmic figures loud followed by dimuendo rather than at the same dynamic a mannerism that seem to grate after a while. Was that a typical performance practice in Donizetti's day, I wonder? Donizetti's conception of the opera is in two parts: Part I, "The Parting" consisting of Act I. Part II, "The Marriage Contract", consists of Acts I. (in this production Act II) followed by Act II (in this production Act III.)

Mar. 29 2015 07:00 AM

@ CastaDiva re. the set, at the recent "Carmen" I saw at the Met, when the house opened, the show curtain was wide open and we watched the carpenters/technicians working on the revolving set for 5 or 10 minutes. And that revolve was noisy throughout the performance (and I was wayyy in the back of the audience, in standing room). DD~~

Mar. 29 2015 01:37 AM
Madison from Manhattan

I saw this production today, the 3rd time I've seen it since it premiered awhile back and my second time with Calleja. A few quick comments:

Calleja sang beautifully again but ,for the first time, I found his rapid vibrato a little disturbing. Albina S...tova was wonderful and,in the mad scene, without throwing herself all over the stage, was just as theatrically effective as e.g.Netrebko. The updated production proved as perverse and contradictory as before. The most annoying scene was the photographer running around the stage setting up a group wedding photo during the great sextet and setting off his flash just as it ended.Mary Zimmerman doesn't seem to have learned in her elementary directing class, that,during one of Hamlet's soliloquies,e.g.,the other actors must refrain from tap dancing or juggling behind him. More idiocy with the doctor running onstage and giving Lucia an injected sedative near the end of her mad scene. As for updating the story from around 1700 to the "mid-19th century", the story about the families involved make no sense at that late period. The scenes with the ghost are terribly distracting as our attention goes from beautiful singing to a white phantom mime moving unnecessarily around stage. Imagine if every opera character who dreams of or imagines a loved one had that person show up onstage as a phantom.But, as usual,great music and voices can override directorial idiocies.

Mar. 28 2015 07:31 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

With singers like Albina Shagimuratova, the Lucia, and Joseph Calleja, the Edgardo, one really gets to hear the roles as they were meant to be sung. Both singers have vocal timbre of rare beautiful quality and the vocal technique and musicianship to be truly memorable. Kudos to them.

Mar. 28 2015 03:51 PM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

@Les from Miami, Florida
Yes, the flute is used for the mad scene in this production, although the glass armonica was used for the original production in '07. I preferred the latter, as its eerie sound added to the dramatic intensity of the scene.

Mar. 28 2015 02:46 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

The Enrico comes across as a real thug. Yes, he is a thug but this is
a bel canto opera. Mr. Calleja is really fine today.

Mar. 28 2015 01:42 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Damn intermission too long. Is that why the opera started at 12 rather than 1 PM. Oh please shut up.

Mar. 28 2015 01:17 PM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

Soprano and tenor both excellent, but I did not like the baritone and basso, blustery and gruff, in the one case, and expressionless and wooden, in the other. The production is a revival of the one that opened some eight years ago (when Dessay gave that dramatically searing performance). It still has those irritating extraneous phantoms, like the ghost of Lucia's mother who appears to her during the aria Regnava nel silencio, and the ghost of Lucia herself, who appears to Edgardo in his heart wrenchingly sad final aria, thereby robbing the scene of its pathos; why can't the gorgeous music and libretto be left alone?

I also have to mention that the Met's vaunted rolling stage that is supposed to have the next set ready for the stage without delay does not seem to be working/used. At the Mar. 19 performance that I attended, each of the two intermissions lasted nearly 50 mins., i.e., the length of an entire act, so that, instead of intermissions, they were more like serious interruptions. When this occurred the second time, the restive audience clapped in unison, prompting a Met official to announce from the stage that the set was being prepared and begging the audience's patience. Even after that, we still had to wait some ten minutes more, listening to the banging away of the stagehands and to the orchestra members tuning their instruments ad infinitum, as if we were at some amateur company and not at one of the world's top opera companies.

Mar. 28 2015 12:49 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Beduzza Cavanaugh: Hope you are well.

Mar. 28 2015 10:02 AM

Though I'm not a heldentenor, I sang in the chorus of "Lucia" (mid-1970s) in the Virginia Opera Association production with Ashley Putnam as Lucia. A wonderful memory.

I will listen to the beginning of the opera tomorrow. I'm attending a concert later and look forward to the armchair reviews later.


Mar. 27 2015 07:54 PM
Anne from New York

So much looking forward to listening this beautiful opera. Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia, I watched her performance on the Opening Night at the Met and she was remarkable . Her Mad scene made me cry, I never heard such a great voice and unique vocal technic. She is a new star !!!!

Mar. 27 2015 02:37 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Looking forward to listening to this opera, especially Joseph Calleja.
The music in this opera is beautiful despite the "updating" which probably makes no sense. There is a film with Marlene Dietrich and Bruce Cabot called the Flame of New Orleans and the music from the love duet is used throughout the film especially when she elopes with Cabot. Fine film and funny. Funny is good.

Mar. 27 2015 10:05 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

As a radio audience member, I'm looking forward with confidence to a completely enjoyable performance. Albina Shagimuratova was Lucia in the Los Angeles Opera Company's production of "Lucia di Lammermoor" this month last year; and Pla'cido Domingo, in a local newspaper interview, said that she reminded him of the golden days of bel canto. That's good enough for me. Joseph Calleja reminds me of the golden days of lyric tenors; and I read a rave review about Luca Salsi's Enrico Ashton. Again I voice my constant plea on behalf of those attending in person against "updating" productions, in this case, from the 16th Century to the 19th. Although clan hatreds certainly did exist in the 19th, it's historical fact that J. Dalrymple did in fact kill her husband on her wedding night, but it was in the 16th Century. More disturbing is the idea of having the assembly --- and the audience --- seeing the ghost of the murdered husband. If all and sundry see the ghost, doesn't this invalidate Lucia's madness? It's she alone who sees "Il fantasma, il fantasma". In Los Angeles, the glass harmonica accompanied Lucia's Mad Scene, as originally conceived by Donizetti. I think the traditional flute is the accompanying instrument in this production. Regardless, In any case, I'm hoping the Part II Act II duet "Ashton! Si' " is included, the better to hear more of Joseph Calleja and Luca Salsi! And Maurizio Benini's work I also listen to with confidence and enjoyment.

Mar. 27 2015 09:27 AM

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