Metropolitan Opera Simulcast: Lucia di Lammermoor

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/arts/music/26lucia.html

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.

Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – Southeast Regional Finals

I attended the Southeast Regional Finals of the Met Auditions in Atlanta, GA today.  Fifteen singers ranging in age from 20-29 competed, having prepared five arias that had been practiced and polished.  Today’s winner will compete in the NYC semi-finals on March 6, 2011. 

In 1954 the Metropolitan Opera founded its Council auditions in order to 1) discover exceptional young talent, 2) provide a venue for young opera singers throughout the U.S. to be heard by Met representatives and assist in their development, and 3) search for new talent for the Met and the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

The judges decided to send two singers to NYC this year for the semi-finals: 26-year-old soprano Maria Antunez and 29-year-old tenor Jayson Slayden, both from South Carolina.

Second place went to baritione Richard Ollarsaba and no third place award was given.  However, two encouragement awards were given to Heather Engebretson and Jeanine DeBique.