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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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