Lucia di Lammermoor is Donizetti’s tragic masterpiece. The opera marked the beginning of his partnership with regular collaborator librettist Salvadore Cammarano. Cammarano’s adaptation of Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor impressed Donizetti and score he produced is some of his most beautiful and dramatic music. The opera premiered in Naples in 1835 and quickly entered the international repertory.
Lucia’s ‘Mad Scene’ is the opera’s most famous moment – but it is Donizetti’s recollection of previous motifs, such as Lucia’s Act I aria ‘Regnava nel silenzio’ and her duet with Edgardo ‘Verranno a te sull’aure’ that poignantly make manifest her distracted mind. Other highlights include the acclaimed sextet ‘Chi mi frena in tal momento’, where Edgardo interrupts the wedding party, the furious duet between Enrico and Edgardo at the start of Act III and the opera’s closing Tomb Scene, with its heartfelt and sombre depiction of Edgardo’s loss. Director Katie Mitchell (Written on Skin) sets The Royal Opera’s new production in the 1840s and focusses on how an intelligent woman, failed by the men in her life, experiences a horrifying mental breakdown.
The story centres around the Lammermoor fortune which is in danger unless Lucia makes a good marriage. Her brother Enrico is horrified to learn she has fallen in love with his sworn enemy Edgardo. Edgardo leaves to fight in France; before leaving he and Lucia privately exchange rings. Meanwhile, Enrico hastily arranges Lucia’s marriage to Arturo.
Using a forged letter, Enrico tricks Lucia into believing that Edgardo has been unfaithful. Longing for death, she signs the contract with Arturo – moments before Edgardo returns. Appalled at her infidelity, he vows eternal hatred. Lucia, driven mad, murders Arturo in their wedding bed and dies shortly after. On hearing the news Edgardo kills himself.
The performance lasts around 3 hours 5 minutes, including one interval..
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Royal Opera House website here
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