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Stone was icily angry in this scene, and the duet between the two men was both musically satisfying and dramatic. But Alden decided to over-egg things and part of the way through, Arturo and his henchmen entered (via the windows) and proceeded to beat Edgardo up.

For the mad scene, Lucia made no grand entrance, but simply appeared sitting on the edge of the stage within a stage. Perhaps Alden intended us to think that she has been rendered numb, but I found Christy's performance curiously undramatic and lacking in a feeling of underlying madness.

Things were rendered all the more curious when the curtains of the small stage opened to reveal the dead Arturo, covered in blood. (The blood on Lucia and Arturo was just about the only vivid colour on stage all evening.) Lucia ascended onto the small stage and proceeded to cradle him. At the end of this section, when Lucia left the small stage, the chorus, sitting on chairs as audience, applauded her 'performance'. As if Alden, having rejected the Romantic Love which underpins the work, was unable to replace it with anything else and has had to rely on that old cliché of a 'performance within a performance', telling us that nothing we heard was real.

This was a shame, because Christy's Lucia is enormously musically accomplished. She has nothing like the spinto-type voice that I prefer in the role, but with a sympathetic producer, she has the scope to give a real dramatic performance. Here, alas, she was only able to give us a musical performance, but it was a considerable one.

The opera was performed in a new critical edition so we got it complete, including the important moment after the mad scene when Raimondo accuses Normanno (Michael Colvin) of being the evil genius behind everything.

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Copyright © 20 February 2008 Robert Hugill, London UK


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