By Gaetano Donizetti
In the gardens of Lammermoor Castle, Lucia sees the apparition of an ancestor killed by her jealous lover as she waits for her own romantic rendezvous. Her servant warns her that the spirit is an omen, but Lucia doesn’t care. Her lover, Edgardo Ravenswood, is the son of the rival family, so he sneaks to her side in the dead of night. Tonight, he tells her that political business forces him to leave, so they exchange rings and take marriage vows. However, when Lucia returns to the castle she’s informed by her brother that she must marry Arturo, the husband chosen by her family. Unable to escape, and believing Edgardo to be unfaithful thanks to a forged letter, Lucia agrees, and signs the marriage contract. Naturally – this is an opera, after all – the ink has barely dried before Edgardo bursts into the room, and when he realizes that Lucia has married another man he throws his ring to the ground and storms out. This tips poor Lucia into madness, and the wedding revelries are soon broken up by the shocking revelation that Lucia has murdered her new husband. When she stumbles downstairs, her nightgown covered in his blood, it soon becomes clear to the remaining guests that her mind is completely destroyed. She walks as if in a dream, talking to Edgardo. As she collapses, her brother and Edgardo meet for a duel. When Edgardo hears that she has just died, presumably of a broken heart, he commits suicide so that the two of them may meet in heaven.
Lucia di Lammermoor, based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott, is one of opera’s great tragedies. It’s a ghost story, set in a moody castle in Scotland. There’s romance, bitter family feuds, madness and death – Lucia is the heroine you’d get if you took Juliet and Ophelia and blended them into one beautiful but fragile creature. Rochelle Bard sang the title character in the West Bay Opera performance, and she was awesome. She captured the passion and beauty of the character in love, and when madness set in it was very delicate and nuanced. The whole cast sang very well, actually. It was a great show.