[Met Performance] CID:247780
Lucia di Lammermoor {423} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/24/1976.

(Debut: Ryan Edwards

Metropolitan Opera House
December 24, 1976


Lucia...................Beverly Sills
Edgardo.................John Alexander
Enrico..................Ryan Edwards [Debut]
Raimondo................John Macurdy
Normanno................Charles Anthony
Alisa...................Carlotta Ordassy
Arturo..................John Carpenter

Conductor...............Richard Woitach

Production..............Margherita Wallmann
Stage Director..........Patrick Tavernia
Designer................Attilio Colonnello
Choreographer...........Alicia Markova

Lucia di Lammermoor received ten performances this season.

Review of Peter Goodman in Newsday

It was Merry Christmas at the Met! Beverly Sills has joined the hallowed list of great sopranos who have sung "Lucia di Lammermoor" there.

The Metropolitan Opera's program notes Christmas Eve indicated that the performance that night was the 288th Met performance of Donizetti's masterpiece. It is worth noting that "Lucia" was also the second work ever to be performed at the Met, during the inaugural season in 1883. Since that performance, which marked the debut of Marcella Sembrich, the world's great coloratura sopranos have gone to the Met with their interpretations of the tortured Scotswoman who goes mad with love and grief.

Crossing the plaza

Sills herself has sung it many times and in many places, especially with the New York City Opera at the State Theater just across Lincoln Plaza from the Met. Friday she crossed over to the big house and performed in a production first used at the [launching] of the 1964 season with Joan Sutherland, another of the great Lucias.

Sills' performance was full of exciting moments, from the trembling girlishness in the first act as she awaits Edgardo, her lover, through the way she stands, struck dumb with horror in the second act after Edgardo has disrupted her enforced wedding, to the brilliant and virtually flawless mad scene in Act Three, Sills is an excellent actress with a voice that does much more than make music. She acts with that voice, conveying wide swings of emotion within a brief musical moment. And the singing is marvelous just for itself. Her duet with the flute as she sinks deeper into madness was just breathtaking.

A baritone's impressive debut

But never let it be thought that an opera can be made by just one performer. The performance Friday was the Met's debut of Ryan Edwards, a tall young baritone from Texas who sang Lord Enrico Ashton, Lucia's desperately ambitious brother. Edwards has a very fine voice, dark and strong, and a powerful and intelligent stage presence. During the second act duet with Lucia, in which Enrico convinces her that Edgardo has betrayed her, Edwards came close to upstaging Sills both as actor and singer. He managed to portray Enrico as a man who is himself tortured by the torture he is putting his sister through. It was an impressive introduction to the Met.

John Alexander sang Edgardo with a mellow voice that sounded at times as if his nose was a little stopped up. He was best in the solo at the end of Act Three, when not competing with Sills or Edwards. John Macurdy's Raimondo, the chaplain, was particularly effective as he interrupted the wedding feast in Act Three to tell the guests of Lucia's madness. John Carpenter's Arturo was sweet but light. Charles Anthony sang Normanno.

The orchestra was conducted by Richard Woitach, who provided an excellent accompaniment, never overpowering, giving just the right emphasis in Donizetti's unobtrusive orchestration.

There were just a couple of jarring notes. The audience could not help laughing when just about the entire chorus whipped out their swords to threaten Edgardo during the wedding scene. And then there was the usual disgraceful rush up the aisles after the closing curtain.

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