Concert Review: Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

The Opera House, March 12: Emilio Sagi’s direction and Enrique Bordolini’s sets are suggestive, inclined toward the minimalist.

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor_370 (photo credit: ury eppstein )
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor_370
(photo credit: ury eppstein )
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, performed by the Israel Opera, contains the conventional dosage of love, intrigue, enmity and, for good measure, unlike other Italian operas, also madness. In fact,except for the sextet at the climactic end of Act One and the Mad Scene, most of the other ingredients are comparatively marginal.
Emilio Sagi’s direction and Enrique Bordolini’s sets are suggestive, inclined toward the minimalist, and tastefully avoid realism. Strong limelights at the beginning and end serve no other purpose than blinding the irritated audience. The generously outstretched arms of most characters were reminiscent of happily long forgotten decades-old stage conventions.
It must have taken much sanity and deliberation on the part of Jessica Pratt, as Lucia, to perform her Mad Scene as magnificently as she did.
From a soft, caressing, almost whispered point of departure, letting her radiant, bright soprano swell gradually until the final outburst of frenzy, she wisely realized that the impact of a forceful cry is strongest, and most movingly convincing, when delivered as a contrast to preceding calm yet intense singing.
Her coloraturas were perfectly polished, flexible, and impressively acrobatic. However, in her initial love duet with Edgardo (Celso Albelo), her final high note emerged so shrill one easily understands his hurried escape to France.
Albelo was a credible impassioned lover with his persuasive lyric tenor – that tended toward the metallic, however, when expressing his justified-sounding rage at Enrico.
As Enrico, Ionut Pascu’s dark-timbred baritone sounded just as assertive and aggressive as this repulsive character requires.
The celebrated sextet of Act One, the work’s most outstanding masterpiece, was excellently sung. If rendered at a somewhat slower tempo, though, it might have made a still more profound impression.
Daniel Oren, conducting the Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra, was sensitive to the smallest dramatic and emotional nuances of the text and music, conveying them with utmost attentiveness.