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ROH Lucia


Geoff
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Just had a quick spin through tonight's Twitter after the first night of the Lucia we have been warned about. More positive than otherwise, I would say (though not about the conducting). There was however still some booing.

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Quite a bit of booing where I was.  Dreadful production, poor conducting and only adequate singing.  Perhaps inappropriate laughter was the most damning response to the ludicrous production.  Hope the image of Lucia having her way with Edgardo between the cemetery tombs fades before too long.

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I was supposed to go last night but I have a bad cold so had to sell my tickets. Sounds like I didn't miss a memorable evening. MAB, how did Diana cope with the Mad Scene?

 

Reasonably well considering the constraints of the production.  Lucia make her entrance for the scene from the back of a crowded billiard room (split stage for bedroom and billiard room) her maid has suffocated Arturo while Lucia held him down, so the blood on her dress is because she is suffering a miscarriage as a result of her frolic in the graveyard with Edgardo.  She sings the mad scene whilst clambering on and off the billiard table.

 

Personally, I would have been happy giving this one a miss.

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Well, I only bought one ticket initially and have now acquired another two for that cast.

 

Oren is not a conductor who makes my heart sing, and they did manage to muffle the sound for slip dwellers by having a screen hanging half down.

 

After an act or two of internally grumbling about these short comings and the view blocking stage furniture, I all of a sudden noticed that I really got into the story and more importantly, the singing. The cast sounded pretty good to me, but depending on who writes about them they were either outstandingly superlative or barely pedestrian...

 

Damrau and the glass harmonica are definitely one of my favourite duets.

 

I haven't decided yet whether the miscarriage madscene works for me, but the music certainly did.

 

The one thing that really bugged me was the sound of a running tab drowning out some of the singing. Come on, ROH, think about that before you stage it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally made it to Lucia! Not sure whether  it was because my expectations had been lowered by all the iffy reviews but it was much better than I expected. Totally agree about Diana Damrau and the glass harmonica and, my goodness, she certainly gave it her all from start to finish - including a little jump of delight during the curtain call. I was also far more impressed than expected by Charles Castronovo, whose voice I'd always thought was very much on the light side, but which seems to have darkened attractively over the last year or so, and he was certainly easy on the eye during the shirtless scene. A bit of much needed competition for J.K. perhaps?

 

They seem to have turned off the running tap, at last, and thank goodness I was sitting to the side of the amphitheatre, which meant that for half the time, at least, I could ignore the melodrama being acted out unnecessarily on one half of the split stage. But is the production team blind? If not, couldn't someone have seen that the chorus resembled particularly unfortunate sardines crushed up against one another in the part set aside for the actual singing. And why the need for someone to patter around noisily, picking things up, moving them, and generally causing an unwelcome distraction at times when the libretto called out for stillness and reflection?

 

The singing, however, was terrific all round. Tezier conveyed Enrico's brutality convincingly, Youn brought presence and heft to the role of the chaplain and I'd have liked to have heard more of Taylor Stanton, who impressed in his brief turn as Arturo. I liked the sets, too. Just a pity they weren't allowed to extend across the entire stage. And an even greater pity that Katie Mitchell judged the audience to be so lacking in imagination and discernment that she felt the need to hammer her heavy-handed message relentlessly home from the opening bars to the curtain call at the end.

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I was very pleased that they switched the tab of, particularly for the last act. Castronovo really was a bit of a revelation in Lucia, and heartbreaking in the last scene. I remembered him as quite alright from previous appearances at the ROH, but after hearing him in Lucia he's now moved up into my 'book, no questions asked' category.

 

One more to for me with Rucinski as Enrico. Loved his stand-in debut as Giorgio Germont a while ago and have been waiting to see him again since.

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  • 3 weeks later...

One more to for me with Rucinski as Enrico. Loved his stand-in debut as Giorgio Germont a while ago and have been waiting to see him again since.

 

I did my 'one more with Rucinski...' last night and a fabulous night it was, too: loved the cast!

 

Aleksandra Kurzak was wonderfully good, combining acting chops with a beautifully sung performance and, by adding a vulnerability that Damrau failed to provide, fully engaged the audience, who held a collective breath during the 'mad scene' in particular.

 

Stephen Costello has a beautifully sweet tone and the chemistry between him and Kurzak felt natural and unforced, giving a greater poignancy to the overall tragedy than I felt with the first cast.

 

Rucinski sang with suitable menace, sparking well off both Kurzak and Costello and, as with Kwangchul Youn in the first cast, Matthew Rose provided the necessary gravitas as the chaplain. I did feel that Taylor Stayton made more of an impression as Arturo last time round both vocally and in terms of his interpretation of the role. David Yunghoon Kim gave Arturo more of an air of entitlement which was ultimately less engaging than Stayton's more tragic, bemused decency.

 

I'd be interested to read what you make of the second cast, Coated.

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