Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

 

Ensemble

A Lively Pace

Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor',
enjoyed by MARIA NOCKIN

 

During the first half of the nineteenth century travel was difficult and dangerous, so few people from southern cities like Naples visited the British Isles. Scotland with its misty highlands and stormy moors was an exotic foreign land about which fascinating stories were told in the sunny south. Like many such tales, the story of Lucy has a grain of truth to it. However, it took a writer like Sir Walter Scott to make it into an extensive and detailed novel. Salvatore Cammarano based his libretto for Gaetano Donizetti's opera on Scott's work but, of course, he had to cut huge portions of it out so that it could be sung on one evening.

Lucia (Larissa Yudina) and her brother Enrico (Theodore Lambrinos) in the Teatro Lirico D'Europa production of 'Lucia di Lammermoor'. Photo © 2006 Robin Grant
Lucia (Larissa Yudina) and her brother Enrico (Theodore Lambrinos) in the Teatro Lirico D'Europa production of 'Lucia di Lammermoor'. Photo © 2006 Robin Grant

The first major Italian composer to use one of Scott's works for an opera was Gioacchino Rossini. His La donna del lago was based on the poem, The Lady of the Lake. Donizetti's first opera based on a Scott novel was Elizabetta al castello di Kenilworth which was premièred in 1829. Although it was a success, it never approached the popularity of his second Scott opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, first seen at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples on 26 September 1835.

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Copyright © 5 November 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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