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Lucia di Lammermoor

Opera's reputation as a high-brow art form is a misperception based on the notion that if it is subsidized by the wealthy, that is for whom it is written and performed. Opera was the musical theatre of its day, as Lucia di Lammermoor, now being performed by Central City Opera, clearly shows.

Lyubov Petrova as Lucia
Lyubov Petrova as Lucia
Photo Credit: Mark Kiryluk
The title character is a young woman who is manipulated—by her brother, Enrico, the family patriarch and local strong-armed politico, and the obsequious chaplain, Raimondo—into marrying the nobleman, Arturo, to revive her family's fortunes. Lucia is secretly in love with Edgardo, who has been dispossessed of his estate by Enrico.

The collusion of state and church in disenfranchising women and usurping rightful power is a common dynamic, not only in Naples, in 1835, when Lucia was first performed, but today as well, in Afghanistan and the USA, to mention a few places.

Vale Rideout as Edgardo
Vale Rideout as Edgardo
Photo Credit: Mark Kiryluk
Composer Gaetano Donizetti's early 19th-Century bel canto style—emphasis on the beauty and range of the voice—is brilliantly performed, particularly Lucia's demanding coloratura soprano arias by Lyubov Petrova, which shine in the magnificent acoustics of the Central City Opera House. Petrova's dramatic skills are also impressive.

(Foreground - left to right) Richard Bernstein as Raimondo, James Barbato as Normanno, Grant Youngblood as Enrico, and Andrew Owens as Arturo
(Foreground - L to R)
Richard Bernstein as Raimondo,
James Barbato as Normanno,
Grant Youngblood as Enrico,
and Andrew Owens as Arturo
Photo Credit: Mark Kiryluk
Baritone Grant Youngblood, as Lucia's dictatorial brother, bass Richard Bernstein, as Lucia's manipulative pastor/tutor, and Vale Rideout, as Lucia's beloved, are vocally and artistically thrilling as well. James Barbato (Normanno), Valerie Hart Nelson (Alisa), and Andrew Owens (Arturo), along with the choir, round out an ensemble as powerful as Donizetti's score, which is impressively delivered by John Baril and the festival orchestra.

Lucia di Lammermoor runs in repertory with Handel's Rinaldo and Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music through August 2nd. 303-292-6700; 800-851-8175; or www.centralcityopera.org.

Bob Bows

 

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