Lucia di Lammermoor, live cinema screening, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Feb 2009

Anna Netrebko sang the title role, and her lover Edgardo, heir to a rival clan and sworn enemy of her brother, was sung by Piotr Beczala, replacing Rolando Villazon. He did a fine job with his impassioned singing and stage presence, and Ms. Netrebko was excellent, managing this agonising part with strength and delicacy. Her domineering brother Enrico was brilliantly portrayed by Mariusz Kwiecien, showing a nastiness that made one wish him dead. Compelling her to marry, against her will, the wealthy Arturo, sung by Colin Lee, he drives her to insanity, and her mad scene was very effective. I remember Joan Sutherland doing this nearly forty years ago, and it is almost impossible to equal her, but Ms. Netrebko managed the scene with great skill and dramatic flair. As Raimondo, the family chaplain, Ildar Abradazakov sang strongly, and this was altogether an excellent cast, well led in the orchestra pit by Marco Armiliato, who brought a secure and sensitive performance form the orchestra.

The production by Mary Zimmerman transposes this Scottish nightmare from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, and it worked well, giving a sense of spaciousness in the houses of Enrico and Edgardo, yet claustrophobia in the outside scene at night where Edgardo learns of his lover’s death. Designs were by Daniel Ostling and costumes by Mara Blumenfeld.

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