Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
Live from the Met
Saturday 8 March 2008 18:30-22:15 (Radio 3)
Donizetti's famous tragic heroine is portrayed by one of her greatest recent interpreters, French soprano Natalie Dessay, in a new production directed by James Levine, and broadcast live from New York.
Set in Scotland, Donizetti's opera centres on a tragic love triangle. Lucia and Edgardo secretly become engaged but Lucia is forced by her cruel brother to marry Arturo. She obeys, imagining that Edgardo is unfaithful. But after realising her mistake, Lucia turns mad with anguish.
This evening's broadcast will include the legendary Met Opera Quiz (click on the link for information on how to send in your questions) hosted by soprano Patricia Racette who is currently appearing in the Met's new production of Peter Grimes (to be broadcast on Radio 3 on 15 March). Tenor Ben Heppner will join Margaret Juntwait in the broadcast booth to discuss his performance as Tristan in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, (to be broadcast on Radio 3 on 22 March). The radio audience will also be treated to a feature on the glass Armonica, a rare instrument that is used in the opera's infamous mad scene as well as backstage interviews with members of the cast.with Quiz Master Patricia Racette and live interviews with the cast backstage. Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait with Ira Siff as guest commentator.
CAST AND SYNOPSIS
Lucia ...... Natalie Dessay (soprano)
Edgardo ...... Giuseppe Filianoti (tenor)
Enrico ...... Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone)
Raimondo ...... John Relyea (bass)
Alisa ...... Michaela Martens (mezzo-soprano)
Arturo ...... Stephen Costello (tenor)
Normanno ...... Michael Myers (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of New York Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor)
ACT I. Scotland. Enrico Ashton, head of the Lammermoor clan, explains to Normanno, the captain of the guard, that his family's fortunes are in danger. Only the arranged marriage of his sister, Lucia, with Lord Arturo can save them. The chaplain Raimondo, Lucia's tutor, reminds Enrico that the girl is still mourning her mother, who has recently died. But Normanno reveals that Lucia is in love with Edgardo of Ravenswood, leader of the Lammermoors' political enemies. Enrico is furious and swears vengeance.
At a fountain near her mother's grave, Lucia is waiting for Edgardo. She tells her maid, Alisa, about the ghost she has seen at the fountain, of a girl who was stabbed by her jealous lover ("Regnava nel silenzio"). Alisa urges her to leave Edgardo, but Lucia believes in their love. Edgardo arrives and explains that he must go to France on a political mission. Before he leaves he wants to make peace with Enrico. Lucia, however, asks Edgardo to keep their love a secret. Edgardo agrees, and before he leaves they exchange rings (Duet: "Verranno a te sull'aure").
ACT II. Enrico and Normanno discuss their plans for Lucia's marriage to Arturo. As the captain goes off to welcome the groom, Lucia enters. Her brother shows her a forged letter, supposedly from Edgardo, that indicates he is involved with another woman. Lucia is heartbroken, but Enrico insists that she marry Arturo to save the family. Raimondo, convinced of Edgardo's infidelity, reminds Lucia of her dead mother and urges her to do a sister's duty ("Ah! cedi, cedi"). She finally agrees, and he assures her that she will be rewarded in heaven.
The wedding guests are assembled at Lammermoor Castle. Enrico explains to Arturo that Lucia is still in a state of melancholy because of her mother's death. The girl enters and reluctantly signs the marriage contract. Suddenly Edgardo bursts in, claiming his bride (Sextet: "Chi mi frena in tal momento"). Arturo and Enrico order him to leave, but he insists that he and Lucia are engaged. When Raimondo shows him the contract with Lucia's signature, Edgardo curses her and tears his ring from her finger. Lucia collapses, hardly comprehending what is happening.
ACT III. During a storm, Edgardo is alone in a dilapidated hall of Ravenswood Castle, deep in thought. Enrico enters and taunts him that, even as they meet, Lucia and Arturo are in their bridal chamber. They decide to meet at dawn by the tombs of the Ravenswoods for a duel.
Raimondo interrupts the wedding festivities with the news that Lucia has gone mad and killed Arturo. Unaware of what she has done, she wanders in, recalling her meetings with Edgardo and imagining their wedding ("Ardon gl'incensi"). When Enrico returns, he is enraged at Lucia's behavior, but soon realizes that she has lost her senses. Lucia collapses, believing herself in heaven.
At the graveyard, Edgardo laments that he has to live without Lucia and awaits his duel with Enrico, which he hopes will end his own life ("Fra poco a me ricovero"). Guests coming from Lammermoor Castle tell him that the dying Lucia has called his name. As he is about to rush to her, Raimondo announces that she has died. Determined to join Lucia in heaven, Edgardo stabs himself ("Tu che a Dio").