Friday, September 28, 2007

Short report

Dessay last night was in form from the very beginning, and Giordani actually sang his final scene with good intonation and some nuance. The force of the evening as a whole sagged at the end of Act 2, however, with Giordani barely getting his curse out (on Monday, it was his best moment).

I'm not sure how I failed to take in this detail Monday about the production's most essential moment: as she lies down rapt singing "Al fin son tua, al fin sei mia," the chorus presses, gawking, upon her. She doesn't notice, but amid the white tie crowd in which every one of the women is wearing long gloves, she takes off her own gloves in pure expectant ease.

I'd tell you to go see her, but her fall appearances are already sold out.


  1. There was one moment in the production that I noticed in Times Square on Monday that has escaped all the reviews I've read. To wait for it slipped my mind Thursday night in the house. I wonder if I'm making something out of nothing.

    Act II, Scene I: Lucia takes the dagger/letter opener (?) off Enrico's desk and slips it into her sleeve.

    I now cannot remember whether Lucia is with Enrico or Raimondo when she does this, and I certainly don't know how peculiar this action is to productions of Lucia in general, but I suspected it was not usual and wanted to read others' thoughts.

    Unless, of course, I imagined the whole thing.


  2. No, you didn't imagine it (though I apparently imagined the ghost reappearing in the Mad Scene... have to correct that). It's right after her interview with Raimondo, when she finally agrees to stop waiting for Edgardo and go through with the marriage. It throws a particularly ironic light on Raimondo's exclamation of joy -- played pompously in the orchestra as an accompaniment to the servants preparing the room -- right afterwards. You can see Lucia clutching that sleeve with a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

    It's definitely not a standard Lucia production thing. In fact, between this and her reappearance to goad Edgardo into suicide there is some hint in this version of a sinister Lucia. This seems to me in line with the conventions of English gothic lit, but not particularly productive in the bounds of the opera itself.

    How was the Times Square experience? Did you pick one screen and stick to it?

  3. Times Square was enjoyable. I stuck with the Panasonic jumbotron screen and stuck with the same seat, as well.

    I've been trying to reconcile this "sinister Lucia" with the opera itself. Or, at least work out why Mary Zimmerman (using her own ideas about her production) would still hint at a "sinister Lucia". Maybe there's a better word than "sinister".

    Maybe this is a completely useless exercise!

    Zimmerman insists on the ghosts being real. Tangible. Perhaps Lucia, with a most Romantic infection in her brain, *wants* to bring to life, real life, the ghost story that we hear at the fountain.

    Simply put, she is complicit.

    Zimmerman has somehow made Lucia more fragile but less of a victim. She wills the ghost story into her own reality... From telling Edgardo that she wants their love to remain secret, to resisting Enrico, relenting to Raimondo, agreeing to the spectacle/sacrifice of marriage to Arturo, and, finally, little Lucia giving the performance of her young life after stabbing her groom so that she can consummate her true love in death.

    It's certainly something a young, romantic, lonely girl could imagine for herself as the ultimate tragic love story when busying herself with her fancy work in the ruins of an old castle.

    But Mary Zimmerman, I'm quite sure, has said much of Lucia being the victim of brutish Enrico and possessive Edgardo, so never mind all that.


  4. Hi Alice,

    Thanks for the comments, by the way.

    Did you go to the production talk two weeks ago? I wonder if Zimmerman had more to say than what's in the program.

    From a couple of readings of the note and the two viewings of the production, I get the feeling that what she's really after (esp. with the Lucia-as-ghost finale) is some sort of meta comment on the enduring potency of the Lucia story archtype (at whatever level of generality one might define that). Like, uh, Iron Maiden.

    So Lucia productions themselves are an example of Lucia's force even extending to the modern world, not unlike the ghost popping up in this one to drag Edgardo into death. So on the one hand, Lucia *is*, as you say, complicit. On the other hand, the ghost did it...

  5. vOr perhaps the people who invent all these ghostly tales did it ;).

    I'd say "creepy" maybe (as in "unhealthily obsessed").


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.