Fans of Lucia are certainly aware of the fine performances by Sutherland, Caballe, and other sopranos in the title role. Stefania Bonfadelli makes her mark convincingly here, too, though she may not quite challenge the very finest efforts. Still, she's quite compelling, both vocally and dramatically, and fully up to every demand of the role. And most of the other members of the cast here are splendid, too, especially Marcelo Álvarez.
Arias and duets come off consistently well throughout. Ensemble numbers, too, are sung convincingly: try the absolutely marvelous, Chi mi frena in tal momento, one of my favorites from any opera. But I must confess that whenever I hear this lovely and dramatic number, I cannot suppress an inner chuckle or two, since I remember it from my childhood in the 1950s when I first saw it performed in a Three Stooges short, entitled Micro Phonies. Yes, you can imagine the sensitive treatment it was given there.
In any event, all goes well vocally and dramatically in this Lucia. The orchestra plays splendidly under the incisive leadership of Patrick Fournillier, too, and the sound reproduction is vivid and fully state-of-the-art. The only drawback – a minor one – is the sets, which give the production a sort of fairytale-like appearance. Some will simply say they're cheap-looking. To me, they're not distracting, and at times are even effectively atmospheric. In the end then, this must be assessed as a highly successful effort on most counts. Fans of this opera and of bel canto opera in general, should find this a rewarding addition to their collection.
Copyright © 2005, Robert Cummings