Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti

Magazine article Gramophone

Donizetti

Article excerpt

Donizetti [DVD][BR]  Lucia di Lammermoor Diana Damrau sop            Lucia Charles Castronovo ten    Edgardo Ludovic Tezier bar         Enrico Kwangchul Youn bass      Raimondo Taylor Stayton ten         Arturo Peter Hoare ten          Normanno Rachael Lloyd mez           Alisa 

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House / Daniel Oren

Stage director Katie Mitchell

Video director Margaret Williams

Erato (F) [DVD] 9029 57920-5; (F) [BR] 9029 57920-2 (153' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080p * DTS-HD MA5.1, DD5.1 & LPCM stereo * 0 * s)

Extra features: Introduction to Lucia di Lammermoor; The Sound of Madness: The Glass Harmonica in Lucia dl Lammermoor'

Recorded live, April 25, 2016

Includes synopsis

'I have a very strong feminist agenda. My focus for this opera is 100 per cent on the female characters.' So proclaimed director Katie Mitchell before the opening of her Royal Opera staging of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. And she did turn the spotlight firmly on Lucia--and her trusty handmaid, Alisa--who don't get a moment of respite, on stage all evening. But how? There are scenes in which Lucia simply doesn't appear.

Mitchell's 'Victorian Gothic' setting features her favourite device of a 'split screen', so that even when Lucia isn't singing, we can watch what she's up to. This is at its most controversial/distracting when, during the Wolfs Crag showdown between Lucia's brother (Enrico) and her lover (Edgardo), we watch Lucia brutally murder her unfortunate bridegroom (the hapless Arturo) on their wedding night. Arturo refuses to go gently into that good night; a bungled stabbing, a spot of strangulation and a knife in the back finally finish him off, but not before the audience on opening night were guffawing with laughter. Quite what the tenor and baritone felt about their duet being upstaged in this way is open to conjecture. However, Mitchell redeems herself with a dramatic twist. It's not the murder that launches Lucia into her famous Mad Scene but her traumatic response to the miscarriage that takes place in the immediate aftermath of the murder.

In the opera house, the split stage was frequently annoying. On screen it works slightly better, with video director Margaret Williams cutting between shots like a television drama. …

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