A reprise of 2009's production with cast changes, including Natalie Dessay and Joseph Calleja. The famous Mad Scene is orchestrated with a glass harmonica per Donizetti's original score, and not a flute, which is more commonly used today.
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Natalie Dessay ...
Lucia
Joseph Calleja ...
Edgardo
Ludovic Tézier ...
Enrico
Kwangchul Youn ...
Raimondo
Philip Webb ...
Normanno
Theodora Hanslowe ...
Alisa
Matthew Plenk ...
Arturo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Denis Bourikov ...
Himself - Flute Solo
...
Himself - Host
Mary Jo Heath ...
Herself - Correspondent
Deborah Hoffman ...
Herself - Hapr Solo
...
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
Chorus
John Sellars ...
Himself - Interviewee
Patrick Summers ...
Himself - Conductor
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A reprise of 2009's production with cast changes, including Natalie Dessay and Joseph Calleja. The famous Mad Scene is orchestrated with a glass harmonica per Donizetti's original score, and not a flute, which is more commonly used today.

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Release Date:

22 October 2011 (Japan)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Lots of improvements and some strange omissions
17 July 2012 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

This is the first time that the Met has repeated a production in its fascinating series of high definition operas. We get the opportunity to compare Natalie Dessay's performance in 2011 with that given by Anna Netrebko two years earlier. Other aspects of Mary Zimmerman's production are essentially the same, both good and bad. We have the Victorian setting which looks good but detracts somewhat from the political context of the opera. There is the imaginative use of ghosts, particularly that of Lucia herself as she urges her lover on to suicide. There is also the irritating addition of a Victorian wedding photographer to spoil the famous sextet.

This 2011 performance is, however, much more successful. First and foremost is the incomparable singing and acting performance of Natalie Dessay but the other roles also benefit from stronger casting with tenor Joseph Calleja in fine voice as Edgardo and Ludovic Tézier chillingly effective as Lucia's venal brother Enrico. I did not find the wedding photographer so irritating this time round and assumed that the scene had been toned down slightly. On replaying the Netrebko version I find that the two scenes are virtually identical. I can only guess that the sextet in the later version was so good that I did not notice the extraneous silliness.

No-one does mad like Natalie Dessay. Particularly effective is the way she picks on unsuspecting members of the chorus to share with her in re-enacting her wedding scene. There are also some rather strange omissions. There is no eery glass harmonica. Also, in what should be the duet between Lucia and the flute, there is no flute. We have to imagine it, just as Lucia is doing. I have seen Dessay's performance in Donizetti's French rewrite of this opera Lucie de Lammermoor. I can only imagine that, at Dessay's behest, the French orchestral parts have been substituted at this point. Dessay finishes the scene with virtually no orchestral accompaniment. This is brave and very moving. The only snag is that the audience does not know when she is finished. The moment passes, the action moves on, and she has to wait for the end of the opera before she gets her well-deserved standing ovation.


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