Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

2012-01-06 19:45 - 2012-01-08 16:45

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

When: 6-7 Jan, 2012 7:45pm / 7-8 Jan, 2012 2:45pm
Where: Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

Lio Kuokman Lo Kingman


Performed in Italian with Chinese and English Surtitles
Libretto: Salvatore Cammarano
Based on a novel by Walter Scott


Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) was the most gifted, productive and successful Italian composer during the interregnum between Rossini and Verdi. He wrote more than 70 operas within the three decades of his active creative life. All his works were composed to be performed by the great singers of the golden age of singing known as the ‘bel canto’ period.

The scarcity of this calibre of singers during the late 19th and early 20th century caused many of his operas to be forgotten. With the emergence of great performers like Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Monserrat Caballé in recent decades, there has been a glorious revival of Donizetti’s works and his genius is once again universally admired.
Lucia di Lammermoor is Donizetti’s greatest masterpiece, and one that has had a continuous success ever since its premiere in 1835. The composition was completed in less than six weeks. Walter Scott’s then extremely popular novel was brilliantly adapted by Salvatore Cammarano into a concise and superbly constructed libretto. Donizetti’s beautifully woven melodies flow spontaneously, reflecting every nuance of character, emotion and psychological motivation as the dramatic situations require. His use of instrumental colours and orchestra effects is in turn subtle, powerful and exciting, and truly innovative in operatic music of the time.
Lucia’s ‘mad scene’ is the most magnificent of its kind in all operas. It unites brilliant singing and dramatic expression in the most beautiful way imaginable. The famous ‘sextet’ is the perfect model for operatic ensemble writing. Within its harmonious unity, all the characters are able to express their thoughts and emotions individually, bringing the opera to a tremendous climax before the interval.
Enrico dominates the opening scene with rousing support from the chorus. His imposing slow aria and exciting cabaletta both have strong appeal to the audience. Lucia’s first appearance offers us a hauntingly lyrical aria followed by a tuneful display of florid coloratura that expresses the ecstasy of a young woman in love. Edgardo’s tragic finale is justly acclaimed for its dignified pathos and eloquent beauty. There are three great scenes featuring extended duets: first the ‘fountain’ scene in which Lucia and Edgardo exchange vows of love; then the dramatic dialogue in which Enrico forces Lucia to accept a marriage of convenience; and finally the often omitted ‘Wolf’s Crag’ scene (resorted for this production) in which Edgardo and Enrico swear to kill each other in combat.
The whole of Lucia di Lammermoor is, of course, more than the sun of its parts. And the whole opera was composed as if in one breath, a truly inspired work of art of the bel canto era.


The Story
The action takes place in Scotland towards the end of the 17th century. Lord Enrico of Lammermoor Castle is perpetuating a family feud with the Ravenswood clan. Edgardo the young lord of Ravenswood, whose father was killed and whose estate usurped by Enrico’s father, is now a fugitive.
Act 1, Scene 1
On the grounds near Ravenswood Castle, Normanno, the chief huntsman of Enrico, urges his men to seek out the stranger who has lately been lurking about. Enrico, entering with Raimondo, the chaplain, is preoccupied with his declining fortunes and upset that his sister Lucia refuses to marry the one man who can prevent his ruin. Raimondo suggests that Lucia is still mourning her recently deceased mother; but Normanno declares that she is in love with the intruder being hunted down, whom he suspects to be Edgardo. Enrico vents his anger in the aria. The huntsmen return and report definite identification of the stranger as Edgardo, news that arouses Enrico to another outburst.
Scene 2
In the park of Ravenswood Castle, Lucia with her companion Alisa awaits Edgardo by the haunted fountain. She tells Alisa the legend of the victim of a passion killing who haunts the fountain, whose ghost has recently appeared to her. Alisa sees this as a dire omen and warns Lucia, who remains convinced of Edgardo’s sincerity. Edgardo enters and bids Lucia farewell, as he must leave that night on a political errand to France. Edgardo is determined to ask Enrico for Lucia’s hand before he departs, but finally yields to Lucia’s dissuasion. They solemnly exchange rings, pledge their mutual faithfulness in the love duet and separate in anguish.
Act 2, Scene 1
In the Castle of Lammermoor, Enrico, who has intercepted the correspondence between Lucia and Edgardo, now forges a letter proving Edgardo’s infidelity with Normanno’s help. Lucia enters, reproaching her brother’s harshness. Enrico produces the forged letter and Lucia is grief-stricken. Enrico enjoins Lucia to marry Arturo, his only hope of salvation, threatening that if Lucia should betray him, the executioners’ axe awaits him and his ghost will haunt her.
Scene 2
In the great hall of Lammermoor Castle, Enrico leads in Arturo, followed by the guests for the betrothal. Arturo asks about the rumour that Edgardo had courted Lucia, but Enrico’s efforts to brush this aside are interrupted by the arrival of Lucia. The marriage contract is signed with Lucia barely aware of what she is doing. Edgardo bursts in to claim his bride. In the famous Sextet, everyone reacts to this sudden intrusion. Raimondo steps between the drawn swords, bidding them remember God’s law against murder, and shows Edgardo the marriage contract. The furious Edgardo gives Lucia back her ring, snatches his from her and tramples it as he curses her. The act closes with a headlong ensemble.
Act 3, Scene 1
Edgardo has withdrawn to the ruins at Wolfs Crag. He comparts his own destiny to the fierce storm raging outside. Anxious to avenge his family honour, Enrico comes to challenge Edgardo to a duel for the latter’s insolent disruption of Lucia’s wedding. Enrico furthermore taunts Edgardo with the fact that Lucia is now someone else’s bride. Fired by jealous anger, Edgardo accepts the challenge. They swear to kill each other at daybreak.
The wedding guests continue rejoicing in the great hall. Raimondo enters with the shocking news that Lucia, apparently out of her mind, has stabbed Arturo to death in the wedding chamber. The gathering hope that this dreadful deed will not call down upon them the punishment of heaven. Lucia appears, imagining in her madness that she has been happily united with Edgardo, and conjuring up a vision of the nuptial altar. Enrico arrives and is filled with remorse at this tragic sight. Lucia declares that heaven will be empty for her until she is joined there by Edgardo as she falls dying into Alisa’s arms.
Scene 3
Edgardo, musing among the tombs of the Ravenswoods, declares he has no desire to live without Lucia, and longs to die on Enrico’s sword so as to join his ancestors. News comes that Lucia is dying, and Edgardo is frantic with grief when he hears the death-bells tolling. Raimondo enters to confirm Lucia is really dead. Edgardo prays for reunion with Lucia in heaven and stabs himself.


Conductor: Lio Kuokman
Director: Lo Kingman
Lucia: Sang-Eun Lee+, Anne Carolyn Bird*
Edgardo: Todd Wilander+, John Daniecki*
Enrico: Michael Corvino+, Nicolai Janitzky*
Raimondo: Freddie Tong
Arturo: Alex Tam
Alisa: Louise Kwong+, Carol Lin*
Normanno: Chen Yong
+6, 7 Jan 2011 7:45pm / *7, 8 Jan 2011 2:45pm
Set Designer: Allan Tsui
Lighting Designer: Maggie Law
Costume Designer: Yoki Lai
Chorusmaster: Raymond Fu
Chamber Orchestra: Hong Kong Virtuosi
Chorus: The Opera Society of Hong Kong


Programme Enquiries: 852-22687321 
Ticketing Enquiries: 852-27349009
Credit Card Telephone Booking: 852-21115999
Internet Booking:


Tickets: $630/460/300/150*
*The sightline of certain seats may be restricted

Tel: 852-29212840
Add: 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong

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