Lucia di Lammermoor

by Gaetano Donizetti

Opera Australia
Joan Sutherland Theatre

Subtitles available in Italian and English
  • June 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • June 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    13:00 > 16:00
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours
  • July 2018
    19:30 > 22:30
    3 hours

Family honour, love and madness come together in this spectacular show-off piece for a sensational soprano, Jessica Pratt. A stellar cast in Donizetti’s celebrated tragedy Lucia is a woman on the edge of insanity: deceived by her brother, bereft of her lover, she marries a man she does not love and descends into madness. The sopranos that conquer her stratospheric notes are some of the greatest the world has ever seen. Jessica Pratt has joined the ranks of Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland: one of just three Australians to sing this role on the hallowed La Scala stage. Now, she returns home to make her Sydney Opera House debut. Passions run hot on the cold moors of Scotland, and Donizetti traces every moment with exquisite music. The score is full of highlights, but none compare with the dazzling coloratura of Lucia’s mad scene. The blood-covered bride emerges from her chamber a vocal whirling dervish, while the glass harmonica plays in haunting accompaniment. Pratt performs her celebrated Lucia with Michael Fabiano’s intense Edgardo and Giorgio Caoduro’s menacing Enrico. Carlo Montanaro conducts this brilliant young cast in a compelling production by John Doyle with period designs by Liz Ascroft. Presented by Opera Australia.

Find out more about the Cast , the Composition , the Composer or what the Reviews say

Lucia di Lammermoor


Press & Reviews

Patricia Maunder
Mad scenes in Sydney for Jessica Pratt’s Lucia
One of the great Lucias of the current era, Jessica Pratt has played Donizetti’s ill-fated Scotswoman more than 100 times, from her professional debut in 2007, to La Scala and The Met in recent years. How appropriate then, if belatedly, that it’s the role with which she makes her debut at her homeland’s iconic opera house. Pratt lived up to immense expectations, though the outstanding singers interpreting Lucia’s lover and scheming brother were surely factors in her success. Pratt was a wonder as Lucia. Her soprano has beautiful purity of tone, formidable precision (both in the way each note rings out, and diction undoubtedly enhanced by her long residence in Italy) and compelling expression. From joyous, soaring ornamentation to pianissimo despair, her voice is an emotional roller coaster that leaves one breathless – perhaps literally during opening night’s mad scene, as the audience was sometimes so silent that the normally imperceptible air-conditioning’s hum could just be heard.
Arts Review
Bill Stephens
Lucia di Lammermoor
This was a night of opera to be cherished. The air of expectancy in the Joan Sutherland Theatre was palpable at the prospect of experiencing this particular performance by an Australian singer making her Sydney Opera House debut in a role for which she has won International acclaim, supported by a cast of outstanding local and International singers. Jessica Pratt did not disappoint. Honed over nearly 100 performances in 20 different productions, her multi-faceted interpretation, as Donizetti’s tragic and fragile heroine, Lucia, who, forced into an arranged marriage by her unscrupulous brother, Enrico, to settle family debts, goes mad and murders her husband on their wedding night, was as near to perfection as one is ever likely to experience. Pratt commands attention from her very first entrance, as she confidently attacks the complexities of the role. Her stagecraft is impeccable, her acting strong and affecting, and she certainly knows how to make the most of her costumes. However, it’s her voice which really sets her apart. Her sound is crystalline clear over the full range, and she sings with incredible precision with each note perfectly produced to spine-tingling effect. Her trills and cadenzas are cut-glass clear, and even when she is singing at her most pianissimo, as in the mad scene when she sings Alfin son tua, alfin sei mio (At last I’m yours, you are mine at last), every note floats effortlessly to the far corners of the theatre.
Daily Review
Jason Whittaker
Lucia di Lammermoor and Rigoletto (Sydney Opera House)
In Lucia di Lammermoor, an Australian performer makes her house and company debut, remarkably, with a reputation that precedes her. Jessica Pratt floats in rarified air as one of a handful of sopranos around the world coveted by every major opera house, and entrusted with a titanic role that has the potential to make the performer as certifiable as the character. In fact, Pratt has made the role her own. Melbourne audiences had the chance to see her Lucia in a dusty 2016 Victorian Opera production, but Pratt has never performed under the sails of the Sydney Opera House. The rousing standing ovation on opening night clearly meant something to her. Lucia’s moment of ecstasy is thrilling — the famed final-act “mad scene” (aria Il dolce suono) where a blood-splattered Lucia (pictured above), fresh from murdering her unwanted hubby, performs a love-sick hallucination conjuring her star-crossed lover. And Pratt is beguiling, her instrument as vivid and supple as we’ve heard on Australian stages. It’s the combination of power and poise in her voice, toying with the score and the audience, drawing you in with a delicate trill and pushing you back in your seat with an unfathomably sustained note of spine-tingling vibrato. It presents as a masterclass in bel canto singing.
The Plus Ones
Alicia Tripp
Review of Lucia Di Lammermoor
The lead role is played by UK born, Australian raised and Italian educated soprano, Jessica Pratt, who has sung the work in over 20 productions and 80 performances in opera houses around the world. Pratt clearly relishes the dramatic challenges of the work, appearing completely at one with her character, entirely immersed in the scene, rather than focused on her technical work. She never sacrifices the drama or emotion of the moment in order to facilitate a note, no matter how stratospheric. In the famous mad scene, her acting is believable and I would venture to say many of her movements are improvised, rather than choreographed to the letter. Although absorbed in her acting, vocally Pratt is faultless, never losing control. Her centre remains calm and legato all the way through, with a pure tone and precise timing. She is obviously so highly trained and well prepared for the role, that she is able to lose herself in the acting, confident that the technique is already there and will effortlessly come out without her having to focus on it. She is at ease with the trills and complicated colaratura that Donizetti wrote and injects a lot of her own ornamentation and variation as well. Her talent is brilliantly showcased in the extended cadenza she sings along with the flute in the mad scene. Having a solo instrument mirror the vocal line in unison, note for note, means that there is no room for error in pitch or timing. And there are no errors. Highly recommended for its musical richness and dramatic intensity. An excellent and faithful rendition, with a contemporary touch to the stage design. The perfect opportunity to see a star soprano in the league of Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Joan Sutherland shown off to her full potential.

Justine Nguyen
Lucia is the role with which Pratt made her professional debut, and that experience shows. She accesses her top with almost ridiculous ease, while her basic sound has an appealingly cool purity to it. ... During the aria, Pratt hovered perilously close to the stage apron, peering into the pit as if she were looking into the depths of her bloody fonte, a moment that was transfixing. A spirited Quando rapito in estasi allowed her to shine, with her tasteful ornamentations showing off her pinpoint coloratura and formidable trill. ... Staccati were done daringly soft and perfectly articulated, with trills perfectly in place. Again, that thread of sound returned in the all-important phrase “alfin son tua”, with Pratt imbuing “alfin sei mio” with so much quiet love and longing that it was heart wrenching. The cadenza is done with breathtaking precision, with wonderful support from the pit, and all money notes eye wateringly impressive.
Simon Parris: Man in Chair
Simon Parris
Opera Australia: Lucia di Lammermoor review
Pratt immediately charms the crowd with “Regnava nel silenzio,” drawing roars of approval for her tender delivery. Throughout the evening, Pratt interpolates high notes with supreme confidence, performing gorgeous ornamentation while staying utterly true to character. In an extraordinary feat, Pratt surpasses the sky high expectations for her “mad scene,” stopping the show for minutes after “Il dolce suono.” Singing the call and answer with the flute, Pratt’s voice takes on a quality that can only be described as a unique musical instrument in its own right. To have 1500 very well versed operagoers holding their breath on the edge of their seats is the sign of a highly auspicious debut.
Victor Grynberg
Singers shine in Lucia di Lammermoor
English-born but a product of Australian training, Jessica Pratt has been the leading Lucia around the world for many years now. So it was a full house eager to see and hear her in her Sydney debut. And what a debut it was. I don’t ever try to compare a singer with Dame Joan, whom I first heard in this role over 50 years ago. Rather it is appropriate to judge her as an individual singer and actor, and this performance was flawless. Confident , with superb control of her voice and body, and effortless reaching of all her notes, with no shrillness or harshness. The tragic, yet musically glorious Mad scene was of course the highlight. Just sensational.
The Daily Telegraph, Wentworth Courier
Tom Pillans
Jessica Pratt steals show as a stunning Lucia
The English-born performer wowed Sydney operagoers on opening night in the title role, one of the most coveted and challenging in the repertoire, with a rollercoaster of coloratura passages and demanding key changes. ... Pratt, who moved to this country in 1991, studied trumpet for 10 years before switching to singing. She made her operatic debut at the age of 28 (she has just turned 39). This performance of Lucia marked her debut at the Opera House and what a compelling performance it was, as true to the score as any I have heard and delivered with poise, charm, impressive colour and radiant confidence. She carried off the trills and thrills of the mad scene in Act III with apparent ease, no simple feat for even the most accomplished soprano.

The Australian
Murray Black
Pratt, Fabiano, Caoduro make Lucia di Lammermoor a must-see
Australian soprano Jessica Pratt has sung the role of Lucia countless times across the world to near-universal acclaim. One can see why. It was an exceptional performance both technically and artistically. Assured from the outset and secure across her range, Pratt fearlessly executed the myriad coloratura passages with precision and flair. Sustaining a clear focused timbre, she also displayed superb dynamic control and a sophisticated array of tone colours while her thoughtful characterisation successfully conveyed Lucia’s volatile emotional state.
Performing Arts Hub
Gina Fairley
Review: Lucia di Lammermoor by Opera Australia
Soprano Jessica Pratt is commanding as Lucia. Returning to Australia for the role after having performed it across the globe – one of only three Australians to have sung it alongside Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland at La Scala (that Milan opera house famous for its uncompromising audience). She nailed it there, and again here in Sydney. She executed this technically difficult role with passion and accuracy. Pratt was warmly acknowledged by the audience on opening night with the entire house in standing ovation. Her portrayal as bloodied bride Lucia was emotionally unforgiving, incredibly controlled yet fearless, and vocally mind blowing.
Sydney Arts Guide
Paul Nolan
A great Lucia with coloratura fireworks in the mad scene is needed for a satisfying performance of this opera. Audiences in Australia have enjoyed a fine history in this regard including the role being a favourite of Dame Joan Sutherland. Jessica Pratt brings her international success in this role to Sydney, complete with fine stage presence and a powerhouse voice delivering dramatic strength right through to the top register as well as amazing dfacility in the virtuosic flute-like coloratura filigree of the mad scene.
Sydney Morning Herald
Peter McCallum
Lucia di Lammermoor: Tour-de-force soprano cuts through severity
Into that dour world steps Jessica Pratt as Lucia who sang her first Cavatina in Act 1 in smooth, even notes, each tone a pearl on an ordered necklace, breaking only at the cadence into expressiveness and, later, overflowing into immaculate trills. By the famous mad-scene of Act III all order has gone, Pratt soaring with unfettered fluidity across full vocal range, throwing out loosely related musical phrases, her tone matching the pure flute sound as though it were the cold moon that had driven her insane. Pratt’s performance was a tour-de-force of vocal polish, broaching stratospheric heights with never a hint of harshness or strain.

Sounds Like Sydney
Soprano Jessica Pratt and tenor Michael Fabiano are the undoubted stars of Opera Australia’s current production of Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor. Along with a strong supporting cast, the Opera Australia Chorus and the Opera Australia Orchestra, audiences and critics have been both moved and amazed by the stellar musical and dramatic performances.
Ben Neutze
Lucia di Lammermoor
First thing’s first: the voice. It’s pretty much all it’s cracked up to be – she has startling agility and brightness in her upper register, and a sensitive musicality. Her trills are electrifying and every piece of vocal ornamentation is tasteful. ... The opening night audience rewarded her and co-star Michael Fabiano with an extended standing ovation. It was one of those nights of triumph at the opera that you hear about but rarely witness.
Jamie Apps
REVIEW: Donizetti – Lucia di Lammermoor
As the mad Lucia, Pratt is insanely good. She has had her share of practice, having played the role of Lucia in 20 productions and 80 performances, and it certainly shows on stage. The music simply flows out of the soprano, who remains perfectly in character while hitting notes that would make most singers shift their emotional concentration. In the show’s famous “mad scene,” the singer is mesmorising as she manipulates her voice to become as fragile as Lucia’s mental state.
Stage Wispers
David Spicer
Lucia di Lammermoor
The frenzied ovation on opening night had an intensity which brought back memories of La Stupenda. Jessica Pratt was towering and terrifying as the insane Lucia. Her top notes could almost crack glass. Driven to murder on her wedding night she enters the stage covered in blood. In a giddy night of highlights her duetto with a flute, at the height of her madness, was the most sublime moment of the evening as her voice and the instrument echoed then melted into each other.

Audrey Journal
Harriet Cunningham
...her voice is an uncanny mixture of power and intricacy: the delicate coloratura trips out with the graceful precision of a prima ballerina; she cuts through the orchestral timbres with a dazzling but never brash edge; and she lands on those extraordinary top notes like a gymnast doing a perfect round-off. It’s quite something.
Domenico Gentile
Jessica Pratt's long-awaited Sydney debut
Australian star soprano Jessica Pratt (who now leaves in Fiesole, near Florence) is ready to make a long-awaited debut at Sydney's Opera House in the title role of Gaetano Donizzetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. In this interview Jessica Pratt tells us what kind of Lucia we can expect when she steps on the Joan Sutherland theatre stage on 28th June for her Sydney's debut.
Lismore Echo
Peter Derrett
Moving Madness
The lead is played by the extraordinary Australian soprano Jessica Pratt, who is now in the ranks of Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland. Well established in Europe, she is at last gaining recognition here. I found her descent into madness very moving, beautifully timed and believable whilst singing some of the most difficult but stunning music in the opera canon.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Jane Rocca
Jessica Pratt: What I know about men
Our house was always noisy and messy. Mum and Dad loved to host big dinners and Mum would take in anybody who needed help. When I was 11, our family moved to Australia from Bristol [England] to be closer to my maternal grandmother, who was already living here. Moving halfway across the world was rather traumatic for me and my siblings [brother Daniel, 39, and sister Gemma, 34]. We bonded because it really felt like us versus the world. We moved houses five times – from Toowoomba to Brisbane and then Sydney – before I decided to move to Italy 15 years ago to pursue opera.

Justine Nguyen
Jessica Pratt: Lucia isn’t frightened, she’s rebellious She made her operatic debut at 28 as Lucia, so it takes a lot to faze this British-born, Australian soprano. Ahead of her Sydney debut, she tells us why doing the role feels like going home.
Arts Review
On the Couch with Jessica Pratt
What would you do to make a difference in the world? I think that the arts are extremely important today as we live in a world in which individuals become more connected but more isolated everyday. When people come to a live show they get to experience something as a group, it fosters a sense of community and empathy and I think that is a small way that we as artists can make a difference in the world.
Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck
The great Aussie Soprano in "Lucia di Lammermoor"
Jessica Pratt is an Australian girl made good earning an amazing reputation in around the world. Jessica is home to make her Sydney Opera House debut in "Lucia di Lammermoor", and, like the great Dame Nellie Melba, Jessica also had a dessert made in her honour...

The Composition

Lucia di Lammermoor

Libretto written in italian by Salvadore Cammarano, was first premiered on a Saturday on September 26 of 1835
Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico (tragic opera) in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor. Donizetti wrote Lucia di Lammermoor in 1835, a time when several factors led to the height of his reputation as a composer of opera. Gioachino Rossini had recently retired and Vincenzo Bellini had died shortly before the premiere of Lucia leaving Donizetti as "the sole reigning genius of Italian opera". Not only were conditions ripe for Donizetti's success as a composer, but there was also a European interest in the history and culture of Scotland. The perceived romance of its violent wars and feuds, as well as its folklore and mythology, intrigued 19th century readers and audiences. Sir Walter Scott made use of these stereotypes in his novel The Bride of Lammermoor, which inspired several musical works including Lucia. 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 (Lammermoor) in the 17th century.
Jessica has already performed in this opera for:
Time: Early 18th century Place: Scotland ACT 1 Scene 1: The gardens of Lammermoor Castle Normanno, captain of the castle guard, and other retainers are searching for an intruder. He tells Enrico that he believes that the man is Edgardo, and that he comes to the castle to meet Enrico's sister, Lucia. It is confirmed that Edgardo is indeed the intruder. Enrico reaffirms his hatred for the Ravenswood family and his determination to end the relationship. Scene 2: By a fountain at the entrance to the park, beside the castle Lucia waits for Edgardo. In her famous aria "Regnava nel silenzio", Lucia tells her maid Alisa that she has seen the ghost of a girl killed on the very same spot by a jealous Ravenswood ancestor. Alisa tells Lucia that the apparition is a warning and that she must give up her love for Edgardo. Edgardo enters; for political reasons, he must leave immediately for France. He hopes to make his peace with Enrico and marry Lucia. Lucia tells him this is impossible, and instead they take a sworn vow of marriage and exchange rings. Edgardo leaves. ACT 2 Scene 1: Lord Ashton's apartments in Lammermoor Castle Preparations have been made for the imminent wedding of Lucia to Arturo. Enrico worries about whether Lucia will really submit to the wedding. He shows his sister a forged letter seemingly proving that Edgardo has forgotten her and taken a new lover. Enrico leaves Lucia to further persuasion this time by Raimondo, Lucia's chaplain and tutor, that she should renounce her vow to Edgardo, for the good of the family, and marry Arturo. Scene 2: A hall in the castle Arturo arrives for the marriage. Lucia acts strangely, but Enrico explains that this is due to the death of her mother. Arturo signs the marriage contract, followed reluctantly by Lucia. At that point Edgardo suddenly appears in the hall. Raimondo prevents a fight, but he shows Lucia's signature on the marriage contract to Edgardo. He curses her, demanding that they return their rings to each other. He tramples his ring on the ground, before being forced out of the castle. ACT 3 Scene 1: The Wolf's Crag Enrico visits Edgardo to challenge him to a duel. He tells him that Lucia is already enjoying her bridal bed. Edgardo agrees to fight him. They will meet later by the graveyard of the Ravenswoods, near the Wolf's Crag. Scene 2: A Hall in Lammermoor Castle Raimondo interrupts the marriage celebrations to tell the guests that Lucia has gone mad and killed her bridegroom Arturo. Lucia enters. In the aria "Il dolce suono" she imagines being with Edgardo, soon to be happily married. Enrico enters and at first threatens Lucia but later softens when he realizes her condition. Lucia collapses. Raimondo blames Normanno for precipitating the whole tragedy. Scene 3: The graveyard of the Ravenswood family Edgardo is resolved to kill himself on Enrico's sword. He learns that Lucia is dying and then Raimondo comes to tell him that she has already died. Edgardo stabs himself with a dagger, hoping to be reunited with Lucia in heaven.

Gaetano Donizetti

Short biography of the composer
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Born in Bergamo in Lombardy, was taken, at an early age, under the wing of composer Simon Mayr who had enrolled him by means of a full scholarship. Mayr was also instrumental in obtaining a place for the young man at the Bologna Academy, where, at the age of 19, he wrote his first one-act opera, the comedy Il Pigmalione. Over the course of his career, Donizetti wrote almost 70 operas. An offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer's ninth opera, led to his move to that city and his residency there which lasted until the production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844. In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti's operas. Before 1830, success came primarily with his comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences. However, his first notable success came with an opera seria, Zoraida di Granata, which was presented in 1822 in Rome. In 1830, when Anna Bolena was premiered, Donizetti made a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene and this shifted the balance of success away from primarily comedic operas, although even after that date, his best-known works included comedies such as L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843). Significant historical dramas did appear and became successful; they included Lucia di Lammermoor (the first to have a libretto written by Salvatore Cammarano) given in Naples in 1835, and one of the most successful Neapolitan operas, Roberto Devereux in 1837. Up to that point, all of his operas had been set to Italian libretti. Donizetti found himself increasingly chafing against the censorial limitations which existed in Italy (and especially in Naples). From about 1836, he became interested in working in Paris, where he saw much greater freedom to choose subject matter, in addition to receiving larger fees and greater prestige. From 1838 onward, with an offer from the Paris Opéra for two new works, he spent a considerable period of the following ten years in that city, and set several operas to French texts as well as overseeing staging of his Italian works. The first opera was a French version of the then-unperformed Poliuto which, in April 1840, was revised to become Les martyrs. Two new operas were also given in Paris at that time. As the 1840s progressed, Donizetti moved regularly between Naples, Rome, Paris, and Vienna continuing to compose and stage his own operas as well as those of other composers. But from around 1843, severe illness began to take hold and to limit his activities. Eventually, by early 1846 he was obliged to be confined to an institution for the mentally ill and, by late 1847, friends had him moved back to Bergamo, where he died in April 1848.


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