‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ Evaluate: Despair Made Magnetic
outstanding new manufacturing of Donizetti’s “
Lucia di Lammermoor,
” which opened on the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday, updates the opera to a dying American Rust Belt neighborhood within the current day and dubs it “Lucia: Closeups of a Cursed Life.” The present is a feat of technical wizardry, encompassing a turntable that revolves virtually consistently—in the course of the motion and whereas set items are moved on and off it—in addition to quite a lot of reside and pre-recorded video. But probably the most startling impact is how profoundly this considerate interpretation erases the opera’s Romantic aura and accentuates its common despair, upending the normal steadiness of tragedy elevated by lovely sounds. Right here, the singers, particularly the 2 splendid leads, actually appear to be singing for his or her lives.
Primarily based on a novel by Sir
set centuries in the past in a world of warring Scottish aristocrats, the story interprets neatly to the current. Enrico (Artur Ruciński) plans to marry his sister Lucia (
) to Arturo (
) to revive the failing household fortunes. Their shared business pursuits aren’t specified—right here Enrico appears to run a shady automotive enterprise—however criminality is implied.
astonishing set, by which facades and cross-sections of buildings— together with a pawn store, a 24-hour pharmacy, a motel with a neon cross on its roof, and extra—are jammed into claustrophobic proximity and considered from consistently altering angles, evokes the seediness and desperation of the city. Video, a few of it filmed in actual time by onstage digicam operators who comply with the characters round, affords nonetheless extra angles and close-ups. We will watch Lucia climbing out her bed room window to hitch her lover Edgardo (Javier Camarena) within the mini-mart the place he’s a cashier whereas Enrico plots in his downstairs workplace. And that’s simply the primary scene.
The path explicitly heightens the opera’s central themes of escape and violence. Lucia visits the pharmacy and swallows some opioids; she is excessive when she sees the ghost on the fountain (a water remedy plant). The ghost, seen on video, is a younger lady bleeding to dying after being stabbed by her lover. Lucia and Edgardo meet behind the display of a drive-in film that’s displaying a 1947
comedy (an unlikely alternative, however definitely escapist); Edgardo leaves his dead-end job to hitch the military. Enrico, threatening Lucia, seizes her by the hair and shoves her, a warning of worse to return. As Edgardo and Enrico face off on the finish of Act 2, after Edgardo interrupts the pressured wedding ceremony ceremony, a gaggle of ladies within the background launch right into a kicking, hair-pulling combat of their very own.
Ms. Sierra’s Lucia, in tight pants, crop high and a pale pink bomber jacket, isn’t any fragile flower. Along with her crystalline soprano, vivid, fluid coloratura and fearless ornamentation, she comes vividly alive and tries to withstand her destiny. Her mad scene feels extra like a suicidal efficiency. Superbly and confidently sung—particularly the duet with the eerie glass harmonica—it’s her building of the marriage she wished for the good thing about the company. On the stage, she’s coated head to foot in Arturo’s blood (we’ve already seen his blood-soaked physique within the motel room); within the video, she’s kissing Edgardo within the motel. There’s no collapse or imprecise dying from the vapors—on the video, she grabs a gun and blood spatters on the wall behind her. There could also be no method out for Lucia, however she took one male tormentor along with her. There’s some lack of poignancy in consequence, nevertheless. Can we really feel for feminine operatic victims provided that they go and not using a combat?
Curiously, the manufacturing provides house to the struggles of the opera’s males as effectively. Mr. Camarena, an exciting bel canto tenor, makes Edgardo sympathetic in addition to amorous and hotheaded. Even the bully Enrico, stalwartly sung by Mr. Ruciński, appears caught within the toils of financial decline. The scene firstly of Act 3, when Enrico, waving a whiskey bottle, leaves the marriage to problem Edgardo to a combat, means that their mutual male aggression stems from a hopeless lack of choices. For sheer unexpectedness, this had among the poignancy that the next mad scene lacked. Bass
averted the unctuous method that may have an effect on Raimondo, the priest/confidant who betrays Lucia; his singing and demeanor had been chillingly accepting of his personal powerlessness, whilst he sat beside Arturo’s bloody corpse.
fashionable and buoyant studying of the rating labored securely in tandem with Mr. Stone’s path, reflecting its continuous movement, but figuring out when to cease and broaden right into a second, such because the lengthy breaths of the Act 2 sextet. The refrain work improved after some coordination points within the first scene. Costumes like Enrico’s drab plaid shirt and Arturo’s sharp pink go well with, by
helped cement the milieu.
lighting made the set’s innumerable particulars pop, and evoked temper and time with scientific precision. Because the buildings broke aside, turned, and had been shoved collectively in several configurations, the viewers may expertise the disorientation that unmoors and destroys the opera’s characters together with them.
—Ms. Waleson writes on opera for the Journal and is the writer of “Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Dying of the New York Metropolis Opera and the Way forward for Opera in America” (Metropolitan).
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