Lucia di Lammermoor – an 18th century Donizetti classic

Kathleen Kim in Lucia di Lammermoor Kathleen Kim in Lucia di Lammermoor

The Opéra of Montréal is the new home for a 19th century classic Lucia di Lammermoor, an opera by Donizetti written 1835. Set in 17th Century Scotland (Lammermoor), this tells the story of Lucy Ashton (Lucia) who finds herself split between her love for a man Edgardo, hated by her family, particularly her brother Enrico, the Lord of Lammermoor. Enrico and his family have recently fallen in status and the only way to reclaim the family’s standing is for Lucia to marry Lord Arturo, who will guarantee status and that the family regains access to their lost name.

Lucia in turn has already committed herself to Edgardo, before he has to be on his way to France. In his absence the family, led by Enrico, must make sure that Lucia is wed to Arturo. Plans are devised and love is tested to its farthest bounds, in a production that is primarily a showcase for Lucia and her fragile, yet emotionally resolute self. Brilliantly produced by the Opéra de Montréal, with Michael Cavanagh, Stage Director and Fabrizio Ventura, Conductor. Particular note was the brilliant performance by Kathleen Kim as the female protagonist Lucia and the worthy antagonist to her, brother Enrico played by Gregory Dahl.

Act I unfolds as the perfect set up for the strife between the families, as Enrico chases Edgardo, for daring to lay eyes on his sister. Enrico must do everything in his power to ensure her nuptials with Arturo, to further his family’s agenda. Interestingly, a story written in 1835 could have been one from the 21st century, where someone is presented with the stark choice of family versus love. The universality of the themes and the timeless nature of the eternal conflict of ‘other before self’ allows for Lucia di Lammermoor to be just as poignant today, as it would have been at its first performance in 1838. The highlight for me was Act II where Lucia is pushed to concede that her love for Edgardo was a sham, with betrayal being played on both sides. And finally Act III, which is enraptured by Lucia and her loss of life and its sensibility in all its aspects.

Particular shout out to the stunning set design led by Robert O’Hearn and his team.

Lucia di Lammermoor is at Place des Arts from November 12 – 14 at 7.30 pm and November 17 at 2 pm. Tickets HERE.