And indeed, her Mad Scene is marvelous, with the glass harmonica adding just the eerie touch Donizetti had hoped for. Dessay is just as fine in her confrontation with her brother at the start of Act 2, sounding like a wounded creature on the road to ruin.
But there the joy ends. The love duet in the first act—the only tranquil moment in the score—comes across as pushed and aggressive, and so the psychotic episodes that follow do not stand out by contrast. This is not for real Lucia fans. Otto Klemperer's reputation today rests almost entirely on recordings made with the Phil Continue Reading. Arturo Toscanini was the most important, highly acclaimed conductor of the twentieth century.
Only t The disc's subtitle announces this will be a program of 21st century Christmas music. View Classics Today Insider Archives ». Theeeyyyyrrre Back! After some strangely wayward recordings of Beethoven's Ninth and Tchaikovsky Fourth, Manfred Honeck is back on form in this new release of Brahms' Fourth Symphony, demonstrating on Goodness knows what that means, but the reality is that the pieces add up to menuets.
Nevertheless, at the season premiere of the Donizetti opera last night, a shortcoming of a more mundane nature also brought frustrations—the length of the intermissions. The program now contains a note advising that the second intermission will last 40 minutes, apparently because of difficulty in getting a large staircase and a pedestrian bridge in place for the Mad Scene. In fact, the break lasted slightly longer, but the really perplexing thing was that the first intermission was almost as long.
On the plus side, the evening offered an appreciable amount of good singing. The voice is smaller than Met audiences are accustomed to for Lucia, and, if memory serves, perhaps even in comparison with her own prior performances. Act 1 especially needed more of an assertive, take-charge manner.
The second is her trusted but weak tutor Raimondo, who urges her to accede in the marriage arranged by Enrico. And finally there is Edgardo himself, by rights her champion. But, feeling betrayed himself, he turns out to be the most verbally abusive of the three.
Dessay projects a vulnerability that conveys the full cumulative impact of these confrontations. She makes the Mad Scene seem like the only logical outcome and sang it touchingly, even if she sometimes strayed from pitch. She is to be commended for dispensing with the bogus traditional cadenza with flute, though what she sang included much of the same music, just without the solo wind obbligato. The performance also included the first Met Edgardo of tenor Joseph Calleja, who won a warm reception from the audience.
Tall, and ardent in voice and manner, he brought an emotional charge to Edgardo music, especially his curse of Lucia.
Lucia di Lammermoor is an opera in which the chorus gets some memorable outings, and the Met Chorus certainly does itself justice here. On the one hand, the nature of the chorus's interventions always makes them difficult to forget. On two occasions they express their great joy: once, at the supposedly forthcoming nuptials between Arturo and Lucia and later, when Lucia kills her bridegroom.
Metropolitan Opera. Patrick Summers , Conductor. Mary Zimmerman , Director. Natalie Dessay , Lucia. Joseph Calleja , Edgardo. Matthew Plenk , Arturo. Kwangchul Youn , Raimondo. Forget Rimsky-Korsakov, forget the Polish act Stephen Wadsworth's new production for The Met returns to Mussorgsky's original version of his Russian historical epic.
Zimmerman's great strength with Lucia appeared to be getting the coloratura to mean something. Initially, I was disappointed with Natalie Dessay in the title role , who seemed disengaged with the dramatic situation. But in the cabaletta to the entrance aria, the coloratura was used to express girlish joy, to get at Alisa, and gradually turn her around to Lucia's way of thinking, so that she did eventually relent and allow Lucia to delight in her love.
Michaela Martens , as Alisa, acted superbly to allow this to come across. Inevitably, it was the mad scene where Zimmerman and Dessay created their best work. Having been dramatically underwhelming in Act I, Dessay grew in stature during Act II and proved herself to be a strong actress during the duet with Enrico and the wedding scene. But nothing had prepared me for the impact she made in the mad scene.
It was quite simply the most impressive and skilful acting I have seen on the operatic stage. Vocally, she was imperfect, and at times rather raddled, but the way she delivered the coloratura and the top notes in the service of the drama was remarkable. The run on the repetition of 'da' tuoi nemici' was very expressive, accompanied by a physical spasm which made it a totally convincing manifestation of her extreme mental state. Countless examples of this abounded throughout the scene, but the top B flat she let out as a cry of pain when she received a shot in the arm from the doctor was particularly deeply affecting, and the rage and victimisation she conveyed through the embellished second verse of 'spargi d'amaro pianto' in response to this was almost painful to watch, so thrillingly immediate did the drama seem.
Having chorus members carry her out, so that the crowning E flat came across as Lucia was literally being dragged off kicking and screaming with no criticism of Dessay's delivery of this note being intended in the use of the word 'screaming' , was a brilliant idea. I'm not sure I have ever seen a piece of opera direction manage to justify an un-written display note with quite that much success.
Of course, the mad scene is a hard act to follow, particularly when given such a dramatically compelling performance as Dessay's. However, Giuseppe Filianoti as Edgardo had got the audience very much on side in his earlier scenes through some very emotionally direct phrasing and acting, so that he was well received.
His singing earlier in the evening had been appealing, if not completely free of issues, but by the end of his final scene he was absolutely exhausted. He had enough commitment to carry his difficult closing aria off, but his top notes betrayed considerable strain. He was assisted by some very sympathetic and subtle conducing from Joseph Colaneri who ensured Filianoti did not have to linger any longer than necessary outside of his comfort zone.
Indeed, Colaneri gave great support to the whole cast in what is inevitably a voice-led opera, allowing them the freedom they needed to create effects consistent with the bel canto style. He also kept a tight grip on the drama in the large set pieces, such as the Act II finale and moved it forward with expert skill.
The orchestra was as typically suave as one has come to expect from the Met, but also incredibly delicate when called for, such as the beautifully atmospheric opening bars in the horns and woodwind. Kwiecien and Relyea were both vocally excellent and did what they could to be dramatically involving within the constraints of their scenes, but a very strong impression was made by the young Stephen Costello as Arturo, which is no mean feat in such a small role. His heavy lyric tenor voice struck me as one to watch, and he was pleasing on stage in scenic terms.
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