Lucia di Lammermoor

From Academic Kids

Lucia di Lammermoor is an opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The libretto, by Kammerano, is based on Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor.

The opera premiered in Naples on September 26, 1835. Its "mad scene" is said to contain the highest vocal note of any standard opera, two E-naturals. (Although Mozart's often-performed singspiel "The Magic Flute" contains a higher note in its Queen of the Night aria) However, the E-naturals are not a written part of the music and have been omitted by some performers, most notably Maria Callas.

For decades Lucia was considered to be a mere showpiece for coloratura sopranos and was a little-known part of the operatic repertory. However, it was revived after World War II by sopranos such as Maria Callas and has since earned a place in the standard operatic repertory.

Plot

Place, Eastern Scotland.
Time, 1700.

Edgar and Lucia love each other, although their families are at loggerheads. When Lucia’s brother, Henry Ashton, the head of the family, ascertains the state of affairs, he endeavours by a forged letter to prove Edgar unfaithful, and informs Lucia that only by a marriage with Lord Arthur can the ruin of their house be averted. Lucia yields to pressure, but when Edgar returns, curses her for her unfaithfulness, tears the ring from her finger, and treads it under foot, she becomes insane. She slays Arthur in the bridal chamber and dies in anguish. When Edgar learns of Lucia’s death and of her innocence, he kills himself upon her grave.

ACT I. A grove near a Scottish castle. Ashton has discovered the love of Lucia for Edgar, and declares that only a marriage with Arthur can save the fortunes of the house. (Aria, Lucia: “In this grove.”) Lucia meets Edgar (Duet: “Forgive, Lucia, that I in this hour”)’ and they bid each other farewell.

ACT II. A chamber in the castle. Ashton makes preparations for the wedding of Lucia and Arthur. (Duet:“Dear sister, come hither.”) Raymond, Lucia’s teacher, persuades her to give her consent. (Aria: “Oh heaven, they me persuade.”) Edgar rushes in to stop the marriage preparations, but is overpowered. He curses Lucia for her faithlessness.

ACT III. A room in the castle of Edgar. Ashton and Edgar arrange a duel. Change of scene: A chamber in Ashton’s castle. The marriage has just taken place, when Raymond announces that Lucia has slain her bridegroom. Lucia appears, insane. (Aria: “Sweet tones! I heard his voice.”) Change of scene: The graveyard. Edgar awaits his enemy. (Aria: “Graves of my ancestors.”) He has heard that Lucia has become insane and is dying, and that she asks only for him. The bell for the dead is tolled. Lucia is gone, and Edgar stabs himself.


References and external links: Plot taken from The Opera Goer's Complete Guide by Leo Melitz, 1921 version.es:Lucia de Lammermoor pl:Łucja z Lammermoor

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