Lucia di Lammermoor

The distraught make for unpredictable pawns, and the blood on the hands of Lucia di Lammermoor makes for a love note like no other. Family ruin, backdoor deals, and political intrigue be damned, the whisper of love shall be heard!

Synopsis

In a feud between the Scottish families of Ravenswood and Lammermoor, Enrico (Lord Henry Ashton of Lammermoor) has gained the upper hand over Edgardo (Edgar of Ravenswood), killing his kinsmen and taking over his estates. By the time of the opera’s action, however, Enrico’s fortunes have begun to wane. In political disfavor, he stakes everything on uniting his family with that of Arturo (Lord Arthur Bucklaw), whom he means to force his sister, Lucia (Lucy Ashton), to marry.

Lucia di Lammermoor premiered on September 26, 1835 by Teatro San Carlo, Naples. The libretto is by Salvatore Cammarano, after the novel The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott.

ACT I

The Departure
The garden of Ravenswood castle, which once belonged to the Ravenswood family, is now wrongfully held by the Ashtons.  The guards of Lord Enrico (Henry) Ashton are searching for a trespasser whom it is rumored is meeting Enrico’s sister, Lucia.  Ashton enters, he is troubled because his political support for William of Orange has weakened his financial and political position, and he needs to make some strong alliances.  His sister must agree to marry the influential Lord Arturo (Arthur) Bucklaw, but she has refused, giving the reason that she is too consumed with grief; her mother having just died.  Normanno, captain of the guard, suspects that Lucia is in love with a man she secretly meets each day in the garden.  This suspicion is confirmed by the guards who return to tell Ashton that they have seen his rival, Edgardo (Edgar) of Ravenswood leaving the garden from the direction of the Ashton castle.  Enrico is furious because of Lucia’s betrayal with his most hated rival.

That evening Lucia, accompanied by her servant Alisia, waits for Edgardo in the park by a fountain.  Alisia is anxious and begs Lucia to put an end to this love that can only bring her sorrow.  Lucia refuses and tells Alisia that she had a vision of a murdered wife — a Ravenswood accused of infidelity and murdered near this fountain by her jealous husband.  This vision only heightens Alisia’s fears for the young girl who is at once distraught over her mother’s death, and exuberant over her love for Edgardo.  When he arrives, he tells her that he is being sent to France to negotiate on behalf of the political forces behind Mary, who would eventually become Mary Queen of Scots.  Before leaving, he wants to be reconciled with the Ashtons, and as a pledge of peace, ask for her hand in marriage.  Knowing her brother’s feelings, Lucia dissuades him, and begs him to postpone this plan.  They exchange rings, which at this time in history was a solemn vow of their secret engagement.

ACT II

The Marriage Contract
Months later.  Edgardo has left for France. His letters to Lucia have been intercepted by her brother.  In order to force Lucia to comply with his wishes, Enrico shows her a forged letter from Edgardo to another woman.  He insists that her loyalty to her family must now outweigh her infatuation with this deceiver.  She reluctantly accepts the marriage to Arturo.  The festivities begin as Arturo tells the Ashtons that he has come to be their friend, their brother, and their protector.  Lucia, pale and weak, enters and signs the marriage contract.  At that moment, Edgardo forces his way through the crowd and in despair accuses Lucia of infidelity.  Cursing the Ashton family, he draws his sword, throwing himself at Enrico and Arturo.  Raimondo separates them, averting a battle and Edgardo leaves.

ACT III

Enrico arrives on horseback at the tower of Wolf’s Crag, the present residence of the Ravenswoods.  As a storm rages, he demands satisfaction from Edgardo for the insults to his family, and his sister.  They agree to duel at dawn near the burial grounds of the Ravenswoods.  In the meantime, at the Ashton castle, the bride and groom have retired while the wedding festivities continue.  Suddenly Raimondo interrupts the merriment to announce that Lucia has gone mad and killed Arturo.  She enters the hall, no longer recognizing anyone and, in her delirium, she enacts an imaginary wedding ceremony with Edgardo in the famouns “Mad Scene”.  She collapses dead from despair and anguish.

Edgardo, unaware of what has transpired at the Ashton castle, goes to the place appointed for his duel with Enrico, determined to let himself be killed, as he has nothing more to live for.  He hears a funeral bell and learns of Lucia’s madness, and her death.  Vowing to find the eternal love and peace that was denied him and Lucia on earth in heaven, he kills himself as the final curtain falls.

About the Composer

Gaetano Donizetti

(1797-1848)

Gaetano Donizetti was born November 29, 1797 in Bergamo, Italy. He, Bellini and Rossini were the three great masters of the opera style known as bel canto. Bel canto operas set numbers of separate arias and ensembles that featured particularly florid vocal writing designed to show off the human voice to maximum effect. These works demanded great virtuosity from the singers, and served as star vehicles for leading operatic performers. Donizetti dominated the Italian opera scene during the years between Bellini’s death and Verdi’s rise to fame after Nabucco.

Donizetti was a prolific composer, writing both comic and serious operas as well as solo vocal music. Throughout his career he battled with the powerful Italian censors to put his works on stage. Two of his best-known comedies, L’elisir d’amore  (1832) and Don Pasquale  (1843), are considered masterpieces of comic opera and continue to hold their places in the standard performing repertoire. Perhaps his most famous serious opera is Lucia di Lammermoor(1835), although Anna Bolena has enjoyed considerable success in this century through the efforts of artists such as Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland. Donizetti was well acquainted with the greatest singers of his day, and he created many of the roles in his operas for their specific vocal talents.

Donizetti was reputed to have great facility and could compose very quickly. His favorite librettist was Salvadore Cammarano, with whom he first collaborated on Lucia di Lammermoor. Donizetti often assisted in writing the librettos for his operas. He completed 65 operas during his career; L’elisir d’amore, Don Pasquale, and Lucia di Lammermoor are generally considered the outstanding examples of his work. His compositional style proved influential for future Italian opera composers, most notably Verdi.

Production

JAMES MEENA

CONDUCTOR

MICHAEL BAUMGARTEN

DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION & LIGHTING DESIGNER

BERNARD UZAN

DIRECTOR

ROBERTO OSWALD AND RYAN MCGETTIGAN

SCENIC DESIGN

MARTHA RUSKAI

WIG AND MAKE-UP DESIGN

AT JONES AND SONS, INC.

COSTUME DESIGN

NEW ORLEANS OPERA ASSOCIATION

SCENERY

CARMINE AUFIERO

ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR

EMILY JARRELL URBANEK

HEAD OF MUSIC PREPARATION

JOSH BARBOUR

REPETITEUR

JENNIFER RIMMER

PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER

JULIE FISCHESSER

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER

SAMI SALLAWAY

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER

WILBERT FERGUSON

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

JAY GRAVES

PROP MASTER/ASSISTANT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

HANK BRENNAN

MASTER ELECTRICIAN

HALLIE GRAY

ASSISTANT ELECTRICIAN

BETSY BLACKMORE

COSTUMER

VICKI PERRAS

HEAD OF WARDROBE

MARK BOLEY

WIG AND MAKE-UP ARITIST

DAN BRUNSON

WIG AND MAKE-UP ARTIST

LEXI STAPLES

WIG AND MAKE-UP ARTIST