Italian #opera: Portland Opera will present Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti’s tragic tale

Photo courtesy of the Portland Opera @Michal Daniel
Photo courtesy of the Portland Opera @Michal Daniel

I am looking forward to attending the upcoming production of Lucia di Lammermoor by the Portland opera. As usual, there is a wonderful ensemble cast, in this case surrounding the central figure of Lucia. Internationally acclaimed coloratura soprano Elizabeth Futral makes her Portland Opera debut as Lucia. The New York Times called Ms. Futral "vocally luminous, emotionally vulnerable and brilliant," and praised her "mesmerizing combination of vocal elegance and expressive ferocity."

This tragic masterpiece, with its ravishing melodies and vocal thrills (as well as a secret rendezvous, a duel, and a murder) is the crowning achievement of Gaetano Donizetti, and one of the most beloved operas ever composed. Lucia’s love, fanned into madness by an unsympathetic brother, leaves her new bridegroom in a puddle of blood. The story concerns the emotionally fragile Lucy Ashton (Lucia) who is caught in a feud between her own family and that of the Ravenswoods. The setting is the Lammermuir Hills of Scotland in the 17th century.

Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor. What doubtless appealed to Donizetti and his librettist were the magnificent melodramatic possibilities offered by the doomed lovers. Scottish history and politics meant little to Italians, but love held an endless appeal. Cammarano was a master of the striking dramatic image, and he most likely worked from the libretto for Michele Carafa’s Le Nozze di Lammermoor, to strip away Scott’s political machinations and culls the numerous cast of characters to a manageable number, utilizing composites to hyper-focus on the doomed lovers.

Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico (tragic opera) in three acts. The music in this opera plays an integral part in painting the portrait of Lucia as a tragic character and the “mad scene” particularly stands out in that regard.

Here is a link to the aria: Oh, giusto cielo!…Il dolce suono / Lucia’s "mad scene"

Ci vediamo all’opera, Lina

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