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During the following scene, between Enrico and Lucia, Mark Stone lounged on a child's bed, playing with toys. Enrico's infantilism seemed incompletely thought through and half-hearted. Enrico soon abandoned the toys and resorted to tying Lucia up and assaulting her. Surely the introduction of an explicit sexual element between Enrico and Lucia is sheer laziness? Talented actors such as Stone and Christy could have conveyed all manner of sexual tension without Stone having to resort to putting his hand up Lucia's skirt.
In this scene it was apparent that Clive Bayley, as Raimondo, had succumbed to the bronchitis which had been announced at the beginning. For this scene and the remainder of the opera, Paul Whelan sang from the side and Clive Bayley acted.
The end of this scene was played in front of a drop curtain, whilst stage staff noisily prepared the following scene. Alden and Edwards used a drop curtain twice, surely a major failure of design in this day and age.
The wedding scene was curiously grim and unfestive from the beginning. Arturo (Dwayne Jones) was a nasty Hooray Henry-ish fop with a couple of sinister hangers on. Lucia was almost doll-like in her complete transformation into an articulated wedding dress. Edgardo's eruption into the proceedings (through a window) was very physical. In fact Banks' Edgardo was notable throughout for the sheer physicality of his playing. But without any Romantic aura, this led him to appear more as angry young man than hero. Only in the sheer beauty and passion of Banks' singing did we get a feeling for the Romantic passion on which the opera is based.
The Wolf's Crag scene was played on a virtually empty stage with the scenery turned around. The final scene was similarly played 'behind' the scenes as if, outside Ravenswood, Edgardo's world was not real.
Copyright © 20 February 2008
Robert Hugill, London UK