Here's a good introduction to bel canto opera on film.
This is a very cinematic rendition of the Donizetti favorite featuring beautiful people, beautifully photographed, in beautiful settings. One may cavil that the atmosphere seems more Italian than Scottish, despite a few jaunty feathers in a bonnet or two and Normanno sporting a kilt and tartan plaid. But, what the heck! It is after all an Italian opera.
Nelly Corradi is likely the most beautiful Lucia one is likely ever to see on screen or stage. Moreover, she is a consummate actress. During the 2nd scene aria "Regnava nel silenzio" in which she describes the spectre that haunts the garden, Nelly is all fearful innocence, which quickly changes to winsome innocence in "Quando rapito in estasi" as she talks of her love for Edgardo. Later in the "Mad Scene", Nelly still projects innocence but bewildered this time after she has just stabbed her bridegroom Lord Arturo to death in their nuptial chamber. Other soprani may treat us to more spectacular coloratura fireworks, but they would be hard pressed to beat her histrionic interpretation.
The rest of the cast complement Nelly Corradi nicely with Mario Filippeschi making a suitably handsome Edgardo, and Afro Poli a ruthless and pitiless Enrico Ashton. The singing and the drama are well integrated with none of the tedious operatic gesturing one sometimes sees in even well sung stage presentations. This film features excellent singing, but alas the sound in the available tape is only poor to fair. This may be due to age deterioration or perhaps in 1947 the Italian cinema had not yet recovered from the ravages the Nazis wreaked on it.
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