Lucia di Lamermoor

Metropolitan Opera

As I have said before, if you love opera you are not likely to walk away from a Met production with a bad experience.  That is certainly true of this season’s production of Lucia di Lamermoor.

The highly touted Natalie Dessay lives up to her rave reviews.  The rest of the production gave me some problems.  Her male support leads, Raimondo and Edgardo, played respectively by John Relyea and Giuseppe Filianoti were not as strong.  But more than not being spectacular singers–not everyone is born with pipes like Ms. Dessay–there are moments when they are enraged with each other to the point of challenging each other to a duel to the death and they are just singing the words.  There is little, if any, passion to their words.  When I want to kill someone my face gets flushed, my eyes narrow, my voice quakes.  These competent singers did none of that for the most part.  There were moments of passion, but it was mostly lacking.  Maria Callas was not the greatest singer of all time, but who can forget her passionate portrayals in any of her performances?  Opera at its best has all these elements.

If, however, you go for the voices–and after all that is mainly what opera is about–you will be satisfied with most of the production and enthralled with Natalie Dessay.

Opera stories are simplistic.  The translations are almost comically so.  When Shakespeare wrote a play he took a simple story line and embellished it with highly sensual and sophisticated language.  The same story done operatically does none of that.  It is the singing, the costumes, the grandeur: and in that you will not be disappointed with this or most any Metropolitan Opera production.