A marvellous NYCO production of Donizetti's masterpiece
Lucia Di Lammermoor is my favourite of Donizetti's operas, with L'Elsir D'Amore close behind, and the DVD(Sutherland/Kraus, Ricciarelli/Carreras and Scotto/Bergonzi) and record(Sutherland/Pavarotti and Callas/Di Stefano) competition are solid on the whole. And this is a marvellous New York City Opera production, from NYCO in their prime(my favourite productions from this period though were 1983's Cunning Little Vixen and 1979's Street Scene) that deserves a DVD release.
It's a great production visually. The sets and lighting perfectly evoke the tragic and supernatural elements of the story, while the early 18th century costumes are simply splendid, a simple colour scheme but certainly not short on details. The production is intelligently staged, the story is filled with tragedy and conflict and both are present in the staging. A good example is in the Sextet, which thankfully has no irritating stage business going on(i.e. the Met production with the photographer), but the end of Act 2 is tense and the final/tomb scene is heart-breaking. The Mad Scene is along with the Sextet one of the most famous points of the opera, and that didn't disappoint, when done right it's a shocking scene and it was here.
There's little complaint to be had musically, if there was anything it's to do with blending. Like in the sextet, where McCauley and Ellis's voices weren't always very balanced(or at least when watching the production on Youtube), Ellis's sticks out more. The orchestral playing has the lyrical style and dramatic intensity of Donizetti's score down pat, the chorus sing strongly and act convincingly if not particularly individualistically and the conducting is alive to both drama and nuances and is sympathetic and lively. Gianna Rolandi is a touching Lucia, her stage presence quite unsettling in the Mad Scene and her voice is bright, agile and capable of more power without forcing, she meets the colouratura demands remarkably well. Barry McCauley is a reliable if not always exciting actor, though he really went for it at the end of Act 2, while his voice has a strong and mostly lovely tone if with some strain at times at the top. Brent Ellis is a powerful Enrico, managing to bring a menacing and sympathetic side to the role, and possesses a sizable warm voice with an at times dark quality. The supporting roles are solidly played with the most memorable being Robert Hale's authoritative Raimondo.
Overall, marvellous. 9/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?