When Mitchell's production of Lucia di Lammermoor was first staged at the Royal Opera House last year, the use from start to finish of designer Vicki Mortimer's split stage seemed more distracting than this time round. But there are still moments when the illustrative background story or psychological turmoil being acted out on one side of the stage distracts from the uniformly excellent singing and action on the other, and the chorus runs out of room.
Although there are some false connections, Mitchell's central notion – that true love with Edgardo has resulted in a pregnancy that fails shortly after Lucia's forced marriage to his enemy – makes modern sense of her despair. This is a genuinely and tragically hysterical woman, her bloody, watery death in a bathroom is an echo of the fate of a forebear.
As Lucia in this handsome and intelligent production, the birdlike American-Cuban soprano Lisette Oropesa, bubbly and light-hearted in Glyndebourne Festival Opera's Don Pasquale this summer, now conveys both aching fragility and determination, powering up to those famous high notes with the accuracy of a swift. The whole performance is shot through with a passion that makes Lucia capable of a calculating and overwhelmingly violent attack on her new husband.
British baritone Christopher Maltman is magnificent as Enrico and the first of two tenors to sing Edgardo in this run, American Charles Castronovo, is a perfect fit. Spanish-born Ismael Jordi sings some performances.
This Lucia di Lammermoor is definitely one for Londoners' 2017 collection.
Lucia di Lammermoor is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Further performances on 2, 8, 11, 15, 20, 24, 27 November. Click here for more details and booking.
|What||Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor review , Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
30 Oct 17 – 27 Nov 17, 7:15 PM – 10:30 PM
|Price||£8 - £165|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|