August 13, 2022

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Evaluate: Trendy ‘Lucia’ on the Met Opera Can Herald a Youthful Viewers

Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

Within the weeks resulting in its premiere, a whole bunch of on-line opera lovers trolled—sight unseen–Simon Stone’s up to date, relocated manufacturing of Lucia di Lammermoor on Fb and Instagram. Many insisted that altering its setting from 17th century Scotland to modern America betrayed its creators’ intentions. However the greatest shock on the Metropolitan Opera Saturday night time was how conventional Stone’s imaginative and prescient of Donizetti’s beloved opera of insanity, homicide and suicide proved to be. 

Commentators took particular offense that the brand new Lucia would happen not in a luxurious fort however in a poverty-stricken, drug-infested Rust Belt city. However rumors that Lucia could be a crystal-meth addict proved to be unfounded; Nadine Sierra, pretty and sympathetic, was first seen in blue denims and a puffy jacket, simply one other woman unfortunate in love. Tricked by her nefarious brother into believing her lover is faithless, she bashes to loss of life with a hearth extinguisher the poor wealthy man chosen to avoid wasting her household on their wedding ceremony night time after which she sings opera’s most well-known Mad Scene!

Reimaging acquainted works from the previous, significantly shifting their time interval to the current or near-present day, has change into so widespread over the previous few many years that it’s now not stylish. Regietheater–the place a director’s generally wild concepts can overwhelm the music—has change into the accepted and anticipated observe in a lot of Europe, however on the Met it continues to stoke controversy even in its mildest varieties. 

Lucia’s checkered manufacturing historical past on the Met dates again twenty years: Francesca Zambello’s 1992 a lot disliked model starring June Anderson amid a stage stuffed with coffins was changed simply six years later by Nicolas Joël’s blandly conventional take. Theater director Mary Zimmerman then made her Met debut on opening night time of the 2007-08 season with a Lucia through which the ghost the heroine sings about in her opening aria truly appeared on stage. Extra problematic was Zimmerman’s determination to deliver again Lucia as one other ghost to “help” her grieving lover in killing himself. But that manufacturing, up to date to Victorian time and conceived as a car for Natalie Dessay, lasted greater than a decade, significantly longer than the earlier two.

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1650900485 386 Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

1650900485 386 Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

Then again, it’s troublesome to think about Stone’s advanced, technically difficult model will probably be round for very lengthy. Just like the theater stagings of Belgian director Ivo van Hove which have intrigued New York theatergoers over the previous decade, Stone’s Lucia depends closely on dwell and pre-recorded video for a lot of its immediacy. One of many manufacturing’s most critical defects although arises from demanding that the viewers steadily cut up its consideration between the motion transpiring on stage and the often-contrasting video feed above it. Mercifully, English subtitles translating the Italian textual content are projected eliminating the necessity to seek the advice of the Met titles console. 

As well as, Lizzie Claehan’s outstanding monumental turntable set depicting locales within the city through which this Lucia takes locations by no means stops spinning! We go to Lucia and Enrico’s home, the meals mart the place Edgardo works, the pharmacy from which Lucia retrieves her each day Methadone dose, a water therapy plant, and so forth. For no good purpose, through the first-act duet, the lovers take a 360° stroll across the seedy drive-in which is inexplicably exhibiting My Favourite Brunette, a 1947 Bob Hope-Dorothy Lamour comedy. Equally, the usually tense Wolf’s Crag confrontation between Edgardo and Enrico grew to become a drunken stroll by way of city. If the Met’s turntable ever malfunctions, the corporate must name off that night time’s Lucia!

And but for all its misfires, Stone’s intricately deglamorized Lucia was by no means boring. Sierra clearly impressed the director: her film star appears and quiet charisma had been compulsively watchable. Sadly, her fiercely dedicated portrayal lacked a wanted fragility that will foreshadow the unhappy woman’s descent into murderous mania. Whereas being browbeaten by Artur Ruciński’s poisonous, vividly inked Enrico or denounced by Javier Camarena’s cuddly, but enraged Edgardo, Sierra continued to radiate a sturdy independence that steered she’d survive simply nice. 

Drenched in blood à la Sissy Spacek’s character in Carrie, Sierra’s searing mad scene inevitably concerned an elaborate promenade by way of Rust Belt-ville, adopted by Matthew Rose’s frustratingly ineffectual priest and half the city. For as soon as the video above the stage illuminated relatively than distracted: the movie contrasted the mad woman’s hoped-for blissful life with Edgardo as she encountered the grotesque corpse of her undesirable husband. 

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1650900486 96 Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

1650900486 96 Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

If the soprano embodied Stone’s idea with heartbreaking pathos, Sierra’s singing failed to completely dwell as much as the exacting bel canto custom embraced by earlier Lucias. Almost the entire world’s acclaimed coloratura sopranos have appeared in Donizetti’s iconic opera on the Met because it was introduced by Marcella Sembrich on the second night time of its inaugural season in 1883. Subsequent new Met productions featured superstars Amelita Galli-Curci, Lily Pons and Joan Sutherland. Whereas Sierra’s florid singing was usually environment friendly, it constantly lacked the hoped-for bravura thrills, she attacked her quite a few trills oddly. Nevertheless, the nice and cozy center register and plangent legato made her interaction with the glass harmonica through the mad scene unusually affecting.

Her heat clearly impressed Camarena, normally not probably the most detailed actor, to accomplice her successfully. Their placing first-act interaction from his rescuing her from a knife-wielding mugger to their ecstatic motel-room “Verranno a te” gave a recent complexity to their relationship. 

The query of whether or not the demanding function of Edgardo suited Camarena’s lightish tenor wasn’t positively answered Saturday night time. He appeared off-form for a lot of the primary two acts although high-note fanciers will probably be delighted to know that he took the excessive E-flat in love duet! It’s doable he could have been depleted by what should have been an exhausting rehearsal interval. However he gallantly rose to the calls for of the ultimate scene singing with the open-hearted earnestness that received him the hearts of Met audiences over the previous decade. 

Within the highly effective Wolf’s Crag duet, nonetheless, he was constantly overmatched by Ruciński’s aggressive Enrico. The Polish baritone whom the corporate has been that includes as Marcello in La Bohème and Manon’s Lescaut gave the Met discover that it may need a brand new star on its palms. Many nights one’s thoughts could wander through the Enrico’s opening scena whereas impatiently awaiting Lucia’s entrance, however as an alternative Ruciński’s melting aria adopted by two fiery verses of his cabaletta capped by a very long-held, blazing excessive word elicited the efficiency’s first rousing ovation. 

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Rose delivered his empty platitudes as Raimondo in a most mellifluous method, although his narrative recounting the homicide might have been extra arresting. A potent and sympathetic Deborah Nansteel returned to her debut function of Alisa, whereas tenors Alok Kumar’s chaotic Normanno and Eric Ferring’s reedy Arturo let down the house group. 

The Donizetti Opera Competition in Bergamo, the composer’s hometown, knew what it was doing when it grabbed Riccardo Frizza for its music director in 2017. The place bel canto works on the Met are sometimes compromised by lax batons, his Lucia crackled with pleasure whereas nonetheless affectionately accompanying his principals. 

If one turned off the video and positioned Stone’s personenregie in an nameless setting, it might seemingly strike most as a conservative, unsurprising Lucia. The vigorous booing that had been predicted when the manufacturing group appeared for its bow did not materialize. Positive, there have been some half-hearted jeers however they had been rapidly drowned out by hearty cheers.

1650900487 510 Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

1650900487 510 Review Modern ‘Lucia at the Met Opera Can Bring in

Some could discover your complete enterprise a too demanding, distracting option to current Donizetti and Cammarano’s acquainted, doomed characters, although Millennials and GenZers may welcome its multi-media method. In any case, Stone doesn’t in any respect rewrite the drama the way in which he did not too long ago with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at France’s Aix-en-Provence Competition.

His irritating but steadily gripping Lucia might not be a keeper for the Met and it is troublesome to think about it with out the luminous Sierra, so positively attempt to catch it within the remaining eight performances or by way of the HD transmission scheduled for Might 21.

Purchase tickets right here.

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