[Met Performance] CID:352065
New Production
Lucia di Lammermoor {558} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/24/2007., Sirius Broadcast live
Streamed at metopera.org
Simulcast on screens at Lincoln Center Plaza and Times Square

(Opening Night {123}
Peter Gelb, General Manager
Debut: Stephen Costello, Mary Zimmerman, Daniel Ostling, Mara Blumenfeld, T. J. Gerckens, Daniel Pelzig
Broadcast/Streamed/Times Squarecast/Plazacast

Metropolitan Opera House
September 24, 2007 Broadcast/Streamed/Times Squarecast/Plazacast
Opening Night {123}

Peter Gelb, General Manager

New Production

Gaetano Donizetti--Salvadore Cammarano

Lucia...................Natalie Dessay
Edgardo.................Marcello Giordani
Enrico..................Mariusz Kwiecien
Raimondo................John Relyea
Normanno................Michael Myers
Alisa...................Michaela Martens
Arturo..................Stephen Costello [Debut]

Deborah Hoffman: Harp Solo
Cecilia Brauer: Armonica Solo

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Mary Zimmerman [Debut]
Set designer............Daniel Ostling [Debut]
Costume designer........Mara Blumenfeld [Debut]
Lighting designer.......T. J. Gerckens [Debut]
Choreography............Daniel Pelzig [Debut]
TV Director.............Barbara Willis Sweete

Production gift of The Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund

The performance was dedicated to the memory of Beverly Sills

Before Act I, Mr. Gelb asked for a moment of silence for Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavarotti. The National Anthem was played after the moment of silence.

Broadcast live on Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio
Streamed live at metopera.org
Transmitted to screens at Lincoln Center Plaza and Times Square

Lucia di Lammermoor received twelve performances this season

Production photos of Lucia di Lammermoor by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Review of F. Paul Driscoll in the December 2007 issue of OPERA NEWS

The Met's new "Lucia" staging did admirable service as a vehicle for Natalie Dessay's blazing performance.

Peter Gelb's second season as the Metropolitan Opera's general manager began with a much-anticipated new staging of "Lucia di Lammermoor" - a production that marked the house debut of director Mary Zimmerman, the first Met "Lucia" for music director James Levine and the first local assumption of Donizetti's heroine by Natalie Dessay. The new "Lucia" hit New York with the crowd-grabbing flair that has become Gelb's trademark: September 24's opening-night performance was broadcast live on Sirius radio and simulcast in HD on screens in Times Square and at Lincoln Center. By any measure, Levine, Dessay and their onstage colleagues had a triumph; Zimmerman's staging left a more equivocal impression. At its best, the Zimmerman "Lucia" offered ample evidence of this distinguished artist's tact, intellectual curiosity and narrative imagination: its missteps demonstrated a propensity to stage Walter Scott's novel - "Lucia's" source material - at the expense of Donizetti's opera.

Zimmerman, best known in New York for her Tony-winning production of "Metamorphoses," a lucid adaptation of Ovid's transformation myths, was clearly intrigued by the ghosts in Scott's "The Bride of Lammermoor." In most "Lucia" stagings, Donizetti's ethereal music provides sufficient metaphor for the ghostly world. Zimmerman chose to have the spirits in "Lucia" literally present: as Lucia sang of the long-dead maiden she saw at the fountain, a young lady in whiteface crossed the stage and sank into the fountain waters. Perhaps a lesser-grade Lucia might have needed this metaphorical boost to put across "Regnava nel silenzio," but when the artist on offer is Natalie Dessay - who with this performance established herself as one of the great interpreters of Lucia in Met history - the device was a regrettable distraction. (Even more regrettable was the decision to have Lucia's ghost return, post-mad scene, to offer Edgardo silent assistance as he stabbed himself.) Other debits were some over-choreographed Gilbert-and-Sullivan movements for the wedding guests in Act II - the wedding sextet itself staged as a photo opportunity, with the principals rearranging for a portrait as they sang - and a Wolf's Crag setting that resembled the corner of a cozy Victorian-era parlor. On the plus side, Zimmerman delivered a crackling realization of the crucial (and often under-heated) Enrico-Lucia confrontation at the top of Act II and a beautifully envisioned mad scene, its elegant curving staircase set by Daniel Ostling - lit with impeccable taste by T. J. Gerckens - a neatly unsettling abstraction of the great hall.

Whatever the flaws of the staging, the production did admirable service as a vehicle for Dessay's extraordinary Lucia, a performance as remarkable for its musical integrity and imagination - she sang the final cadenza without the traditional flute accompaniment, a device not composed by Donizetti - as for its dramatic acuity. Dessay's voice is not conventionally lovely, but its slightly astringent quality was deployed with cunning skill in the creation of a fretful young girl literally driven into madness. Dessay limned her gamine-ish Lucia with uncompromising honesty and impulsive litheness - even incorporating a genuine stumble into her Act I blocking on opening night.

Marcello Giordani, a fuller-toned, more spinto Edgardo than the norm, was admirably ardent in Act I, properly impassioned in Act II and positively riveting in the tomb scene of Act III. Mariusz Kwiecien, one of the house's most valuable young baritones, was a striking Enrico, unfailingly musical and suavely black-hearted, if occasionally over-forceful. In his house debut, Stephen Costello's handsome, cleanly projected tenor capitalized on Arturo's brief opportunities to shine. Similarly positive contributions were made by John Relyea as Raimondo and Michaela Martens as Alisa.

The Met chorus, prepared by Donald Palumbo, was in superb form vocally, looked splendid in Mara Blumenfeld's exquisitely tailored late-nineteenth-century ensembles and acted with an admirably sure sense of period graces. Levine conducted with a master's command of detail and structure, encompassing the score's moments of dark, muscular passion as well as its otherworldly Romanticism and achieved a partnership with his intrepid leading lady that was a model of bel canto stylishness.

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