We review the English National Opera first night of this dramatic Donizetti masterpiece and say that – in the “MeToo” current world, this is a production you have to see.
There are academic articles and opinions of the role of women and heroines and Prima Donnas in Opera, into which the creation of “Lucia” as an Opera, is designed to play a part. This comment is not one of those. If you “get” that the fusion of music, and drama, is the key entry into deeper areas of our soul – then the standout performance of Sarah Tynan as “Lucia” is one of the most phenomenal performances I have ever seen in all my years of watching opera. This is a performance that you have to see, and you must say to your grandchildren that “you were there”.
Because Sarah’s interpretation rises above the protagonists around her, the wall of never decreasing orchestral and chorus support. It is a tour de force because right from the start, there was never any gentle introduction. There is angst even from the first scene. There was never going to be a happy ending.
This feeling of tragic helplessness, is enhanced by the oversized dimensions of the staging, with Lucia deliberately petite, vulnerable.
This “Lucia di Lamermoor” is drama supported by music. In many ways, the music never reaches the heights of melody of Mozart – or better insight into human nature of say Puccini, or Berlioz – and at times I just wished there was a melody that I could remember on the tube train back to my hotel. The music frequently pauses and moves into one aria after another, but it is not until the last Act does Lucia’s aria steal the show, so to say.
But this misses the point.
This production, particularly with Eleazar Rodriguez complementing Sarah with visible chemistry, is about drama and human emotion. It is riveting. At no point does the intensity ever stop, and at no time does audience appreciation ever waver.
If you asked random people in the street, who would be their favourite composer – the name of Donizetti would hardly figure. And this is a pity. “Lucia” portrays humanity and the female situation, in a way that has hardly changed even now. I am going back to see this again – and so should you.