FORBIDDEN LOVE, POLITICAL INTRIGUE,
AND A SOPRANO GONE MAD.
In the highlands of Scotland, Lucia is deeply in love with Edgardo, whose family are sworn enemies of her clan. Her brother rips them apart and convinces Lucia to marry another man, but neither the wedding ceremony nor the wedding night go according to plan.
Donizetti’s extraordinary music tells a story of longing and betrayal, of love and despair, making it one of the world’s most celebrated operas, and a wonderful way to re-enter the theater.
Lucia di Lammermoor
by Gaetano Donizetti
libretto by Salvadore Cammarano
based on The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott
Premiered 26 September 1835
Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, Italy
Scotland, 18th century
An intruder has been spotted at night on the grounds of Lammermoor Castle, home of Enrico Ashton. Normanno, the captain of the guard, sends Enrico’s men in search of the stranger. Enrico arrives, frustrated that he cannot persuade his sister Lucia to accept a marriage that will save him politically. Normanno tells him his suspicion that Lucia is concealing a great love for Edgardo of Ravenswood, leader of the Ashtons’ political enemies. Enrico swears vengeance, as his men return to confirm that the intruder is Edgardo.
Lucia awaits Edgardo in the woods by a fountain whose legend of a bloody phantom both fascinates and repels her. Edgardo arrives with the news that he must leave for France. He wants to make peace with Enrico before he leaves, but Lucia begs him to keep their love a secret. Edgardo agrees, and the two exchange rings and vows of eternal fidelity, promising to write during their separation.
Several months later, Enrico has concluded marriage preparations for the union of his sister with Lord Arturo, but has failed to secure Lucia’s consent. Normanno assures Enrico that he has successfully intercepted all correspondence between the lovers. He also produces a letter, forged to resemble Edgardo’s handwriting, announcing his marriage to another woman. Lucia enters, continuing to defy her brother, who shows her the forged letter and insists she marry Arturo to save the family. He leaves, and the chaplain Raimondo pleads with Lucia to remember her late mother and do her duty. She finally agrees.
As the wedding guests assemble, Enrico explains to Arturo that Lucia is still in a state of melancholy because of her mother’s death. Lucia reluctantly signs the marriage contract, and Edgardo suddenly bursts in, demanding an explanation. Upon seeing the contract with Lucia’s signature, he curses her and her family forever.
Enrico visits Edgardo at his gloomy castle and challenges him to a duel the next morning.
Back at Lammermoor, Raimondo interrupts the wedding festivities with the news that Lucia has gone mad and killed Arturo. In her delirium, Lucia wanders into the hall, covered in blood, and imagines a wedding ceremony with her beloved Edgardo. Enrico returns and realizes his sister has lost her senses. After a confused exchange with her brother, Lucia collapses, begging Edgardo to pray at her tomb.
Unaware of all that has happened, Edgardo imagines Lucia’s happiness with Arturo and berates her for her infidelity. Guests coming from Lammermoor Castle tell him of Lucia’s misfortune. As he is about to rush to her, Raimondo stops him with the news that she has died. Determined to join Lucia in heaven, Edgardo stabs himself.
Madison Opera Debut: Ensemble, Acis and Galatea (2013)
Recently at MO: Digital 20/21 Season; Opera in the Park 2019; Anne, A Little Night Music; Olympia, The Tales of Hoffmann; Amy, Little Women; Johanna, Sweeney Todd
Recently: The Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Central City Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera); The Golden Cockerel, The Golden Cockerel (Dallas Opera); Viv, Companionship (Fort Worth Opera); Frantzi, Die Weiden (Vienna State Opera); La Charmeuse, Thais; Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro (Minnesota Opera); Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (Austin Opera, Minnesota Opera)
Edgardo of Ravenswood
Madison Opera Debut: Timothy Laughlin, Fellow Travelers (2020)
Recently at MO: Digital Opera in the Park 2020; Digital 20/21 Season
Recently: Father Matias, El Milagro del Recuredo (Houston Grand Opera); Arcadio, Florencia en el Amazonas (Pittsburgh Opera, Pensacola Opera); Alejandro, Frida (Atlanta Opera); Timothy Laughlin, Fellow Travelers (Minnesota Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: Escamillo, Carmen (2000)
Recently at MO: Riolobo, Florencia en el Amazonas; Scarpia, Tosca; Opera in the Park 2013
Recently: Crown, Porgy and Bess (English National Opera, Dutch National Opera, Theater an der Wien); Celebrant, Mass (Mostly Mozart Festival); Jochanaan, Salome (Pittsburgh Opera); Iago, Otello (Atlanta Symphony); Don Pizarro, Fidelio (Cincinnati Opera); Macbeth, Macbeth (Chicago Opera Theatre, Long Beach Opera)
Madison Opera Stage Debut
Recently with MO: Digital 20/21 Season
Recently: Basilio, The Barber of Seville (San Francisco Opera); Commendatore, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera); Father, Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Ulderico/Zenovito, Sigismondo (Opera Rara Festival Krakow); Sam, A Masked Ball (Ópera de Oviedo); Sam Bakewell, The Summer King (Michigan Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Opera); Father Palmer, Silent Night (Washington National Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (1995)
Recently at MO: Digital Opera in the Park 2020, Fellow Travelers, La Traviata, Rusalka
Recently: Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Candide (Gran Teatre de Liceu); Porgy and Bess (Seattle Opera); Lost in the Stars (Washington National Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: La Traviata (2019)
Recently: Hansel & Gretel, Tosca (Palm Beach Opera); Don Giovanni (Pensacola Opera); Riders of the Purple Sage (Arizona Opera); Madama Butterfly (Inland Northwest Opera); Carmen (Pensacola Opera, Bar Harbor Music Festival, Annapolis Opera, North Caroline Opera, Dayton Opera); Charlie Parker’s Yardbird (Arizona Opera); Juliet Letters (Lyric Opera of Kansas City)