Donizetti : Lucia di Lammermoor

Houston, Wortham Theater Center, 2011 (Audio)

Director: Antonino Fogliani



  • Dimitri Pittas (Edgardo)
  • Oren Gradus (Raimondo)
  • Albina Shagimuratova (Lucia)
  • Scott Hendricks (Enrico)
  • Rachel Willis-Srenson (Alisa)Archivos para descarga:

The notoriously challenging title role of Lucia di Lammermoor and the famous mad scene with which her portrayal culminates are not all there is to Gaetano Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece.

They are, however, central to any production’s impact and a key point of interest to the audience — especially when a rising star makes her much-anticipated role debut as the ill-fated heroine.

Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova’s expertly sung, sympathetically acted Lucia proves a compelling center for Houston Grand Opera’s new production – no more so than in her spine-tinglingly brilliant realization of Lucia’s explosion, dissolution and collapse in her showcase mad scene, centerpiece of the gripping final act and climax of the entire opera.

Just as director John Doyle’s staging presents a stately, measured approach to the tragedy, Shagimuratova’s Lucia is less overtly dramatic and more subdued that many past Lucias, especially at the start, stressing this young innocent’s gentleness and vulnerability. She wields her opulent voice with remarkable proficiency, dexterity and fluidity, but also a poetic soulfulness. When vocal lines call for ornamentation, Shagimuratova responds with grace and seeming spontaneity. Her delicate and precise pianissimo is particularly distinguished, casting a complete hush.

She finds her most open and joyous expressions in duet scenes with her secret love, Edgardo, but even these are shadowed by trepidation and foreboding – since Lucia’s lover and her brother, Enrico, are sworn enemies.

Shagimuratova increases dramatic intensity in her distress when Enrico tricks her into believing Edgardo has betrayed her, then her anguish when Enrico forces her to marry one of his political allies. That causes her to crack.

She disrupts the wedding festivities in bloodstained nightgown, having murdered her bridegroom. Doyle has staged her movement as visual non-sequiturs, darting here and there, just as her mind leaps from frenzy to imagined bliss with Edgardo to horror at the blood on her hands and gown. Shagimuratova sings and acts the scene with tremendous focus and conviction, thrilling in the cadenza with solo flute. By the time she climbs atop a table and turns slowly, voice trailing eerily, the terrible truth is apparent to all. Lucia’s mind has become a broken toy.

Glowering clouds of foreboding abound in Lucia’s libretto and score. Doyle and his design team make those manifest in this stark, spare production. Liz Ascroft’s set conveys the bleak atmosphere with a vast, empty space framed by drops depicting ominous gray clouds, the drops constantly shifting to form different configurations. Ascroft’s austere costumes and Jane Cox’s dramatic lighting complete the somber picture.

Doyle’s direction sustains the mood and gives intimacy to the central drama. He dresses the stage effectively with the chorus, in stately procession or freezing in a line to form a sort of wall. He excels at the simple yet bold stroke, as in the use of a long white tablecloth in Act 3; watch how it is first placed on the table, then how it becomes a telling prop for Lucia’s big scene.

Making his North American debut, Italian conductor Antonino Fogliani leads a driving, incisive performance, stressing the score’s drama, with faultless musicianship from the HGO orchestra.

Dimitri Pittas makes a powerful impression in his HGO debut as Edgardo. His rich tenor, charged with electricity and dynamism, projects the fervor of his love for Lucia and bitterness at Enrico’s cruelties and it melds beautifully with Shagimuratova’s in their duets.

Scott Hendricks’ understated Enrico is not so much the obvious villain, yet nonetheless forceful, the growling power of his singing proclaiming this controlling brother’s anger and determination. As the minister Raimondo, Oren Gradus sings with dignity and distinction.

The HGO Chorus, prepared by Richard Bado, performs with customary expertise and enacts its stage moves with an air of solemn ritual.

Shagimuratova’s pivotal performance and Doyle’s vision anchor a thoughtful, psychologically persuasive treatment that is neither a traditional “your grandmother’s Lucia,” nor a jarringly modern treatment, but a workable compromise somewhere between.