ISRAEL OPERA’S production of ‘Lucia di Lammermoor.’.
(photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)
Don’t enter into an arranged marriage with a girl who already has a lover – at least if you don’t want to be killed on your wedding night. That is the moral of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, performed by the Israeli Opera.
Despite the implausible plot it was an excellent performance. Emilio Sagi’s direction and Javier Ulacia’s sets were tastefully minimalist, functioning mostly as triggers for the imagination. The cast was first-rate.
In the title role, Maria Jose Moreno’s clear soprano sounded gentle and effortless even on the highest notes of her most emotional passages, and therefore uncommonly impressive. Her pearly coloraturas were finely polished. In her love duet with Edgardo her calm intensity created a remarkable contrast to Alexei Dolgov’s intense and determined tenor. In her Mad Scene her caressing, soft voice, except for occasional outcries, was enormously moving.
Dolgov’s intense, assertive tenor conveyed high-voltage emotional expression and profound despair in his final scene, while Mario Cassi’s dark-timbred baritone represented a menacing, arrogant Enrico.
Dario Russo’s warm, friendly bass convincingly expressed his deep shock when relating Lucia’s madness and murder.
The Israel Opera Chorus played a major role, pointedly commenting on the fateful occurrences. However, the vocal sextet at the marriage ceremony, one of Donizetti’s unrivaled masterpieces, deplorably sounded somewhat hurried and indifferent.
Conducted by Daniele Callegari, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion emphasized the dramatic and emotional events.