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BEL CANTO POP!

PACIFIC OPERA Project’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor was great! This Los Angeles-based opera company, known affectionately as POP, has even made a Bel Canto lover of me.

Beautiful setting at the summit of Forest Lawn Glendale for tonight’s #pacificoperaproject production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Wine, cheese, murder and madness! #recipeforagoodtime. This image and comment, and others to follow, from Daughter Suz.

Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tradico. Indeed, what with rivaling Scottish clans, a secret marriage, a murdered groom, and a mad doubly-wed bride/murderer, there’s tradico a’plenty to go around.

The #pacificoperaproject producer dude always wears a suit themed to the opera. For Elisir d’Amour it was strewn with hearts. #spoileralert Tonight’s suit is splattered with blood. But whose is it? (Whose isn’t it?)

This Donizetti masterpiece, a famous quartet of which showed up in ”That’s All Folks!”, is usually performed in Bel Canto style. I confess, though this “beautiful singing” is admired by many, I can find its endless recapitulations a bit on the tiring side.

Lucia tells the story of a young murdered lover whose ghost haunts this castle. #canyousayforeshadowing The ghost chick had a kinda cool Ringu vibe. The translation is projected on that screen hanging from the lonely tree. #creepy

Performed in an outdoor setting high atop Glendale’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, POP’s production had constraints of residence that precluded every possible vocal rehash of every possibly higher and higher note that’s part of the rich Bel Canto tradition.

Brother tricks Lucia into thinking hunky boyfriend cheated on her. #theoldforgedlettertrick So she agrees to marry the wimpy setup guy. But she sorta murders him on their wedding night #oopsydaisy and goes stark raving mad. #likeyoudo

By the way, there’s a good story concerning Lucia di Lammermoor’s Bel Canto tradition. Donizetti wrote Lucia’s famous mad scene, ”Il dolce suono…,” in F major. I understand this challenges even the bravest of coloratura sopranos. Most Lucias transpose it down two half-steps to E Flat. The legendary Maria Callas is one of only a few to sing it come scritto, “as written.”

Crazy Lucia sees dead people #andmakesthemtoo #anotherweddingnighttoremember #andyouthoughtoperawasboring

Unlike other stuffy operatic groups I might name, POP encourages photos during performances leading to on-line reviews. Images and personal musings from Daughter Suz accompany this review. She loved POP’s Lucia too.

In other news, #forestlawnglendale is frickin’ loaded with #pokemongo stuff so I was duty-bound to kick some #sad valor creeps to the curb and claim the most excellently named Chapel Hall of the Crucifixtion-Resurrection for #mystic. Since it is a serious, holy place I left behind my most serious, distinguished pocket monster to defend it #comeonheiswearingahat. Why, yes, I *am* #level40 thanks for noticing.

Like any opera, the plots develops incredibly quickly, even if traditional Bel Canto singing does not. Poor Lucia is happily in love, devastatedly bullied by her brother, driven mad and, ultimately, dead. What with being united with her lover/real husband in death, it is a happy ending of sorts.

When hunky boyfriend hears that Lucia married wimpy guy, he sings a really beautiful sad song wishing he were dead because he’s jealous that she’s happy with another man. But then he learns that Lucia killed the guy, so yay? There was some thrilling sword fighting in there somewhere, I forget and it’s late. Everybody dies, the end. #applause #bravi #opera4lyfe

POP’s Lucia di Lammermoor is sold out for its remaining performances. Do check out the Pacific Opera Project website for the rest of its 2017 season: a dual bill of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium and world premiere of Brooke deRosa’s The Monkey’s Paw, October 27–November 5, 2017. And, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème: AKA “The Hipsters,” December 8-16, 2017.

Our table is already reserved. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017

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