Overview: L.A. Opera reimagines a Donizetti heroine as sufferer of insurrectionist America

A woman looks on as a man sings while a screen projects a black-and-white image in a performance of  "Lucia di Lammermoor"

Arturo Chacon-Cruz and Amanda Woodbury carry out in L.A. Opera’s new manufacturing of “Lucia di Lammermoor” on Sept. 14.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

“Company” is the mandatory phrase that at all times comes up with “Lucia di Lammermoor,” which opened Los Angeles Opera’s new season on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Saturday night time. This time in a startling new manufacturing up to date to the present-day disenfranchised Rust Belt America.

There has by no means been the slightest doubt about whose facet we’re on within the almost two centuries since Donizetti’s hottest opera, written in 1835, has been persistently on the lyric stage. Compelled right into a loveless political marriage, Lucia merely kills her undesirable groom on their nuptial mattress and goes mad.

You are reading: Overview: L.A. Opera reimagines a Donizetti heroine as sufferer of insurrectionist America

It’s, in fact, not easy, in any respect. Should madness be the excuse for company? Can we pity Lucia as a result of, effectively, she’s a dreamy, susceptible girl and has one of the vital exquisitely transporting mad scenes in an artwork kind that has made an trade of manufacturing mad scenes for girls? Is company merely singing like a chicken, with mind-bending coloratura?

Arturo Chacon-Cruz and Amanda Woodbury perform in L.A. Opera's new production of "Lucia di Lammermoor."

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

Clearly not. The best Lucia on file is Maria Callas, who was not a freak of nature however a pressure of nature. Essentially the most persuasive, in addition to brilliantly sung, efficiency of “Lucia” I ever witnessed was Beverly Sills’. The nice American soprano made it clear that she was the sane one, a pawn in a sick patriarchal society. Her mad scene proved a transcendental quarter-hour of lucidity, an illumination of the world because it was meant to be.

In Simon Stone’s new manufacturing — a co-production between L.A. Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, which first introduced in Could — an oxycodone-addicted Lucia shares a home together with her older, no-good brother, Enrico. She is saved from an tried rape by a man who works within the native comfort retailer and is her brother’s enemy, Edgardo. They immediately fall in love.

It’s a nasty, decaying small city, filled with indignant individuals. They don’t precisely appear like the Jan. 6 rioters, however they rile simply sufficient that you simply get the purpose. The vehicles and pickup vans are previous (when have you ever final seen a Pinto?). The pawnshop is open 24/7.

Two singers face each other onstage.

Amanda Woodbury and Arturo Chacón-Cruz carry out in L.A. Opera’s new manufacturing of “Lucia di Lammermoor” on Sept. 14.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Occasions)

Though Netflix describes “The Dig,” the function that Stone directed final 12 months for the positioning, as “understated,” the Australian director who lives in Vienna is something however that in opera. He exposes the poisonous underbelly of contemporary society, be it Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” or Kaija Saariaho’s distinctive newest opera, “Innocence,” regarding a faculty mass capturing.

The Lucia updating doesn’t at all times work. The parallels between the mores of the nineteenth century and people of our period are hardly actual. The final half century of feminism has precipitated appreciable pondering and rethinking about interpretations and implications of “Lucia.” Many productions during the last three many years have been been directed by girls, together with a very efficient one by Katie Mitchell at Royal Opera that’s now on video.

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Two earlier L.A. Opera productions have been by the German actress Marthe Keller and most lately, in 2014, by Elkhanah Pulitzer, the director of the brand new John Adams opera “Antony and Cleopatra” in San Francisco. Martin Bernheimer dubbed the corporate’s first “Lucia” in 1993, directed by Andrei Serban on a wasteland of concrete slabs, “Our Woman of the Petrified Dung Heap.”

We’ve come a great distance. However not all the way in which. The opera’s authentic depressingly gloomy Scottish setting, the place Lucia is compelled into a wedding for monetary and political causes, nearly appears to be like good in contrast with what Stone gives. Within the nineteenth century, Lucia had no choices for company. On this new manufacturing, you marvel why she lets her brother pressure her hand. Why don’t she and Edgardo simply hop into his pickup and take off. Why? As a result of she’s on oxycodone, he’s off to affix the Military and Enrico reveals her doctored social media footage of an untrue Edgardo.

Amanda Woodbury, and Arturo Chacon-Cruz perform in L.A. Opera's new production of "Lucia di Lammermoor."

Amanda Woodbury, and Arturo Chacon-Cruz carry out in L.A. Opera’s new manufacturing of “Lucia di Lammermoor” on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

This then turns into a “Lucia” meant not for pity however outrage. Moderately than bemoaning the mores of the British Empire a few centuries in the past, Stone reveals a perturbed image of America simply when the UK is momentarily trying admirable, collective in its mourning the loss of life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Nonetheless, it’s a hanging manufacturing, essentially the most theatrically partaking that L.A. Opera has mounted in a while, and in addition with essentially the most persistently wonderful solid, the excellence being in each the singing and the performing.

The motion takes place on a revolving set, regularly altering perspective. A video display screen above Lizzie Clachan’s sensible set reveals dwell pictures of the singers, typically close-ups of them onstage, typically in rooms or locations not seen onstage.

Stone is well happy by his visible creativeness. A decrepit drive-in movie show screens a 1947 noir spoof, “My Favourite Brunette,” for seemingly no different motive, presumably, than that Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour get locked up in a sanitarium. At its worst, the disconnect between the previous libretto and the updating (the translations on the projected titles can be up to date to raised conform with the manufacturing) precipitated viewers laughs within the unsuitable locations.

The singers want a powerful presence all through to take their very own company relating to the viewers’s divided attentions. All however one within the solid are L.A. Opera veterans and/or alumni of its Domingo-Colburn-Stein Younger Artist Program. All however one singer is American. What’s new is that Saturday marked the primary efficiency of Lina González-Granados in her new function as L.A. Opera resident conductor, and L.A. Opera refrain’ first efficiency beneath its new director, Jeremy Frank.

Amanda Woodbury is a hardened Lucia with a candy, full, radiant voice. She does little or no to point out off Donizetti’s coloratura, however reasonably all flows from her as if with out effort. She sings her mad scene, replete with the otherworldly glass harmonica reasonably than the extra normal flute, in what seems to be a narcotic fog reasonably than insanity. She gives an arresting cadenza, however another studied than instinctive.

Amanda Woodbury sings onstage while Madeleine Lyon looks on with a smile in  L.A. Opera's "Lucia di Lammermoor"

Madeleine Lyon, left, and Amanda Woodbury carry out in L.A. Opera’s new manufacturing of “Lucia di Lammermoor” on Sept. 14.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Occasions)

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The influence of the scene, although, is additional lessened by displaying what’s happening in her thoughts on prerecorded video. As Lucia wanders in her blood-soaked white wedding ceremony robe like somebody out of a horror movie, we see her fortunately with Edgardo, dutifully illustrating what each be aware she reveals of her creativeness.

Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz is an ardent Edgardo, intense onstage and vibrantly sung. The foremost debut is that of Alexander Birch Elliott, whose Enrico is the drunken lout of your nightmares. The commanding presence and exacting singing of Eric Owens, the chaplain Raimondo who tries to carry a way of motive to the neighborhood, is luxurious casting. Anthony León, Madeleine Lyon and Anthony Ciaramitaro, within the small roles of the troublemaker Normanno, Lucia’s buddy Alisa and the woe-begotten bridegroom Arturo, all be certain that their smaller roles matter.

González-Granados appears to have received over the orchestra, which performed with suave magnificence. However her reference to the stage was, at this primary efficiency, uneven. Gradual tempos and a normal sense of cautiousness resulted in an absence of dramatic propulsion.

For its half, the refrain sounded on edge, however acted disconcertingly on the cash, as if effectively practiced in igniting fears of nationwide unrest in a rustic the place a way of lack of company might be reaching the disaster level.

Madeleine Lyon (left) performs with Amanda Woodbury in L.A. Opera's new production of "Lucia di Lammermoor."

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Occasions)

‘Lucia di Lammermoor’

The place: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 S. Grand Ave., L.A.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sept. 28; 2 p.m. Oct. 2 and 9. (Liv Redpath is Lucia Sept. 28-Oct. 9)

Tickets: $20-$324

Data: (213) 972-8001 or laopera.org

Operating time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

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