[Met Performance] CID:270450

Lucia di Lammermoor
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, November 1, 1982

Lucia di Lammermoor (433)
Gaetano Donizetti | Salvadore Cammarano
Joan Sutherland

Alfredo Kraus

Pablo Elvira

Paul Plishka

John Gilmore

Ariel Bybee

Jeffrey Stamm

Richard Bonynge

Margherita Wallmann

Attilio Colonnello

Lighting Designer
Gil Wechsler

Alicia Markova

Stage Director
Bruce Donnell

Lucia di Lammermoor received twenty-three performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Robert Croan in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NEW YORK - Great singing is all too rare these days, even here at the Metropolitan Opera, but the current run of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" is good enough to take its place with the best of nights at the opera anywhere.

Featured in the present production are soprano Joan Sutherland and tenor Alfredo Kraus in what will doubtless come to be thought of as a historic pairing.

Happily, someone has had the foresight to preserve their performances on video- tape and although no definite date is set, it is likely be shown "Live from the Met" sometime next year.

Sutherland is now 56, Kraus, 57, but both artists have retained their vocal glamour to the point of effacing just about all the competition. True, neither one is much of an actor, but no one would accuse "Lucia" of being sensible musical drama anyway. It is old-fashioned bel canto, and their ability to give voice, voice and more voice fills the bill perfectly.

Sutherland may not have quite the ease in the highest mar she once had. She is careful to husband her tones, and chose to sing the first part of the Mad Scene down a tone, saving a well-placed high E-flat for the end. Very sensibly, she has started to wean herself from the coloratura, toward such lyrical roles as "Adriana Lecouvreur," which she will soon do in San Diego.

But the soprano's only real competition is herself, years or so ago. She sang even better then, but no one in the interim has came even close. From the moment she walked on stage, there was no question that she remains the reigning queen in her domain. The middle voice is full, fast-note passages are unfailingly accurate, and there is no break throughout her scale.

Her old idiosyncrasies, of course, remain. She distorts vowels to maintain her rounded tone, and minimizes consonants, though if anything a little less so than before. No matter. She manages to make her points, dramatic as well as musical, and gives an audience more than its money's worth, even at ticket prices that go up to a $65 top.

Kraus is a different story. He is not a showman of the Domingo-Pavarotti type, and his basic sound has always lacked the opulence of those more extroverted colleagues. Moreover, by performing less frequently than they do, has become something of a cult figure.

This Spanish tenor's great virtue is his patrician bearing and elegant musicianship. Still trim and athletic on stage, he stands there as Edgardo and molds every phrase with effortless smoothness and near-perfect enunciation. The voice may have a certain dryness but it penetrates, never losing its point or becoming enveloped by Sutherland's aural blanket. Interpretively, he makes the Domingos and Pavarottis of this world look like students; vocally, he is a lesson to aspiring tenors of lesser technical accomplishment.

Too bad the Met did not surround Sutherland and Kraus with singers of comparable stature. Only Paul Plishka as Raimondo, with his resonant bass and ringing highs - though he pays for it with weakness at the bottom - held his own. It was a good idea to reinstate his usually omitted duet with Lucia in Act Two, an unexpected highlight of the evening.

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