The Metropolitan Opera presented the final performance of a run of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor for its March 19 HD simulcast.
Director Mary Zimmerman incorporated a ghostly apparition during Lucia’s aria, “Regnava nel silenzio” – not outlined in the score – but as a reference to the Walter Scott novel. It was haunting and effective to see as Lucia tells the story of the ghost of Lammermoor. Then in the final act, after Lucia’s demise, the specter is a pale Lucia (Natalie Dessay) who helps her grieving lover Edgardo to commit suicide.
Overall the production was beautiful. Dessay’s mad scene was riveting, but I found the rest of the stage action static. Donizetti’s music doesn’t represent the emotion of the characters in a contemporary way. For example, anger is expressed through refined, elegant music in the bel canto tradition. (Lucia di Lammermoor premiered in 1835.) In that context, Zimmerman’s stage direction was suitable.
Even still, the stage movement seemed unsatisfying at times. I found myself wanting more.