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SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL OPERA REVIEW
 

 

Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor:  Soloists, Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Conductor: Antonello Allemandi. Teatro Comunale di Bologna. 29. 2.2008  (MD)

New Production by Teatro Comunale di Bologna
 
Director: Walter Le Moli
Sets and Costumes: Santi Centineo
Lighting: Franco Marri
 
Cast:
Lucia: Jessica Pratt
Edgardo: Giacomo Patti
Enrico: Massimo Cavalletti
Raimondo: Oren Gradus

Arturo: Ivan Magri

Alisa: Elena Borin

Normanno: Francesco Denaro


The world première of Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848) took place on September 26, 1835. Donizetti was a hard worker. He composed about 70 operas and he wrote ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ in 36 days. For the Paris revision of 1839, which has been reconstructed recently, he rewrote the opera rigorously. Richard Wagner condemned Donizetti’s poor integration of his libretti with the music, the classical structure of his arias and acrobatic tendencies of the vocal lines, the  but fact is that Donizetti created a new kind of melodramatic opera.

Bologna appears to have no real association with ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ for there seems to be no single studio or live recording from this city of this opera. This season Teatro Comunale di Bologna has seven performances running until March 5th and there are two casts. Unfortunately, the promising coloratura soprano Katarzyna Dondalska was indisposed as Lucia and was ultimately replaced by the Australian Jessica Pratt.

Jessica Pratt was a convincing Lucia in a close to non-existent mise en sc
ène by Walter Le Moli. The décor was an empty stage with some iron cubes and all singers were dressed in casual suits. Here Pratt could show her natural acting capabilities. She has a big voice with decent coloratura possibilities. Her high notes, however, were sometimes a bit sharp and too open. Giacomo Patti is a thin toned Edgardo, but with a beautiful and unforced head register. Massimo Cavalletti already sang Enrico at La Scala and has a solid, ringing baritone and perfect coloraturas. The American bass Oren Gradus has sung various roles at The Met already and is a solid Raimondo. His voice reminded me of a young Samual Ramey.

However, this ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ was nothing more than a provincial performance and that was mainly due to the conductor Antonello Allemandi. Allemandi used fast and rigid tempi and cadenzas and cut all fermatas short. Completing the second act in less than 35 minutes must definitely have been a world record. The Bologna audience treated him to loud boos and one person even yelled “Povero Donizetti”. And he was right: Allemandi’s conducting might be suited for Rossini in Pesaro, but not for Donizetti in Bologna.

Mark Duijnstee

Mark Duijnstee is a medical specialist in Amsterdam, Holland whose research interests are concerned with  vocal problems. Very appropriately,  he also writes about opera.


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