Lucia di Lammermoor

by Gaetano Donizetti

Victorian Opera

Melbourne, Australia
  • Conductor Richard Mills
  • Director Cameron Menzies
  • April 2016
    20:00 > 22:50
    2 hours and 50 minutes
  • April 2016
    20:00 > 22:50
    2 hours and 50 minutes
  • April 2016
    20:00 > 22:50
    2 hours and 50 minutes
  • April 2016
    20:00 > 22:50
    2 hours and 50 minutes
  • April 2016
    20:00 > 22:50
    2 hours and 50 minutes

Victorian Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the most anticipated operatic events of 2016. It heralds the return of star soprano Jessica Pratt, only the third Australian to sing the role of Lucia at La Scala, following Dame Joan Sutherland and Dame Nellie Melba. Having performed this career-defining role twenty times around the world, she finally brings her Lucia to Australia in a limited season at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Starring alongside Jessica Pratt is exciting new talent, tenor Carlos E. Bárcenas, and opera stars José Carbó and Jud Arthur in this beautifully atmospheric production complete with sweeping sets and lavish costumes, directed by Cameron Menzies. An unforgettable theatrical experience.

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

Lucia di Lammermoor


Press & Reviews

Daily Review
Jason Whittaker
Lucia di Lammermoor review (Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne)
This is Usain Bolt in the Olympic final. Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup. The greatest athlete on the biggest stage. ... They say nobody in the world sings the maddening title role in Lucia Di Lammermoor — perhaps the most treacherous test composed for a coloratura soprano — better than Jessica Pratt. They used to say the same thing about another Aussie, Joan Sutherland, in the 1960s. ... The moment of ecstasy is thrilling — the famed final-act “mad scene” (aria Il dolce suono) where a bloodied Lucia stumbles down a grand staircase, fresh from murdering her unwanted hubby, in a love-sick hallucination conjuring her star-crossed lover. Pratt is beguiling, her instrument as vivid as we’ve heard on Australian stages. It’s the combination of power and poise in her voice, toying with the score as much as 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.
Classic Melbourne
Heater Leviston
Victorian Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor
..and Jessica Pratt is certainly one of these [Best Singers]. Despite having to contend with the expectations raised by the hype surrounding her as the successor to Melba and Dame Joan, she still amazes. With limited opportunity to warm up, her ability to sustain a smooth legato line in Lucia’s initial aria, “Regnava nel silenzio”, was truly impressive. Although she has the art of soft singing honed to pinpoint perfection, her voice has substance and was always audible, including in the weightier ensembles such as the famous sextet at the end of Act 2. Her skill in floating her voice in long, high pianissimo phrases was most striking in the Mad Scene, where she was accompanied by a haunting, otherworldly glass harmonica. Pratt’s flexibility and wide range produced streams of impressive bravura and stratospheric top notes, generally without apparent effort.
Maxim Boon
Review: Lucia di Lammermoor (Victorian Opera)
Pratt is surely an artist destined to earn the same iconic stature and enduring legacy as Sutherland, and her account of Lucia – a role that she has performed more than any other – made good on her reputation as one of the world’s most insightful and adept performers of the bel canto canon. ... Of course, this is a voice capable of some jaw-dropping pyrotechnics, but perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of Pratt’s singing is not the power that she can deliver, but the restraint. This willingness to allow such a delicately crafted tone, particularly during the dramatic epicentre of this work, the third act mad scene, shows a total reverence for Donizetti’s ingenuity as a composer, as well as a deep understanding of the vulnerability of this character. In a duet with the spectral, crystalline otherworldliness of a glass harmonica, Pratt’s voice became intertwined with such sympathetic skill that the two sonorities were almost indistinguishable. This was singing that wasn’t just haunting: it was spellbinding.
Simon Perris: Man in Chair
Simon Perris
Victorian Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor review
In her third Melbourne appearance in three years, Pratt again demonstrates the remarkable strength of her altissimi notes. She begins the evening wisely holding some power in reserve as she charms the audience with the carefree Lucia’s lovely singing by the fountain. A hallmark of Menzies’ direction is the thoughtful use of musical interludes, and Pratt benefits from this, moving naturally to new stage positions and arrangements each time. Pratt builds throughout the night, dazzling with the full complement of interpolated high notes. Her mad scene is utterly spellbinding; the stage is full of wedding guests but every eye is on Pratt. Her coloratura includes some traditional phrases as well as some that are special to her performance. Variety of dynamics, range and style are carefully planned allowing for a seemingly effortless performance that fully lives up to the high expectations.

Timeout Melbourne
Rose Johnstone
Lucia di Lammermoor
Indeed, Pratt’s performance is revelatory; no more so than in the famous ‘Mad Scene’ (Il dolce suono), in which she emerges in a bloody nightgown, wielding a dagger, descending into despair. Her coloratura (agile vocal leaps and trills) is virtually flawless; after performing the role countless times, Pratt owns her Lucia, knowing when to pull her powerful voice back to a tightly controlled softness, and when to crescendo to heart-stopping high notes. Not simply the weak, ruined woman, Pratt plays Lucia’s indecision, love and pain with nuance.
Herald Sun
Paul Selar
Jessica Pratt gives outstanding performance in Lucia di Lammermoor for Victorian Opera
During its intoxicating 20 minutes, Pratt channels the pitiable tragedienne in a hypnotic performance without excessive histrionics and meets the vocal and dramatic demands with an unflinching, focussed performance. It’s a powerful and near-distressing experience as the silenced chorus and audience remain transfixed by Pratt’s incisive interpretation and striking coloratura soprano. Broad in range and sumptuous in tone, Pratt melds music, text and emotion exquisitely as she glides to delicate crystalline highs and effortlessly projects the finest pianissimo.
Theater Press
Bradley Storer
Pratt is clearly comfortable and confident in the role of Lucia, capably navigating the dramatic arc of Lucia’s journey from innocent love-struck girl to her doomed fate, with a sweet and agile soprano that even in the harsh acoustics of Her Majesty’s could be heard in every corner of the theatre... ...until the famous and vocally- Olympian mad scene, ‘Il Dolce Suono’, where her soft but intense singing touches the heart even as her coloratura thrills.
The Australian
Peter Burch
Jessica Pratt’s Lucia truly worthy of international acclaim
This was a night for joyous celebration: a major opera production by Victorian Opera, starring a brilliant young Australian singer following internationally in the footsteps of dames Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland, both of whom enjoyed extraordinary success in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor. Jessica Pratt made her 2007 debut with Lucia. After Melba and Sutherland, she is only the third Australian to have been invited to sing Lucia at La Scala in Milan. Her success there launched her as one of the world’s great interpreters of the role and an acclaimed exponent of the bel canto repertoire. At Her Majesty’s on Tuesday she invested Lucia with every nuance of her exceptional abilities.

Stage Whispers
Graham Ford
Lucia di Lammermoor
Jessica Pratt has sung Lucia in some of the biggest opera houses in the world. Melbourne audiences were luckier than that. They got to hear her in the intimate Her Majesty’s theatre where she rarely needed to open up that magnificent instrument and so was able to give a much subtler, nuanced performance. Her pianissimo singing was particularly beautiful, and made her a more vulnerable Lucia than one would find in a bigger theatre.
Sydney Morning Herald
Michael Shmith
Lucia Di Lammermoor review: Jessica Pratt ascends vocal stratosphere
...she produced some remarkable singing: as Pratt's Lucia descended into the delusional, her technique ascended into the vocal stratosphere with some gloriously florid singing. No more so, than in her eerie duet with (as originally composed) glass-harmonica obbligato, which is the aural equivalent of being stabbed with a dagger fashioned not from steel but ice.

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.
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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