Lucia di Lammermoor assessment a perfectly cogent piece of theatre

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David Alden’s unsettling manufacturing Donizetti’s returns to English National Opera’s repertory after an absence over eight years for a serious revival, scrupulously reworked by Alden himself for an distinctive, largely new forged. His staging, psychodramatic in strategy and fiercely difficult the work’s fame as primarily a show piece, was thought of each groundbreaking and controversial when it was first seen in 2008. , some which stay. But opinion can change over time, and 10 years on it strikes me as a perfectly cogent piece theatre, delicate and disturbing in equal measure.

Alden updates the work from the aftermath the to the mid-19th century and in so doing explores the hypocrisies and energy buildings Victorian Britain that resonate right down to our personal occasions. The Ashton mansion, strikingly designed by Charles Edwards, is a stifling, decrepit hell gap the place portraits the household ancestors stare inscrutably down from the partitions as Sarah Tynan’s Lucia is exploited and bartered for the sake monetary expediency. This is a world during which adherence to custom masks brutality and abuse, and conspiracies silence destroy lives.

Lucia is sexually assaulted by her brother Enrico () within the presence the household chaplain, Raimondo (Clive Bayley), who turns his again on them earlier than unctuously prfering Lucia help when Enrico is out the best way. Edgardo is a proud, impulsive hothead with a violent mood, who throws Lucia to the ground at one level when she contradicts him. Forced into marriage with Michael Colvin’s supercilious Arturo, she turns into a sacrificial sufferer pinioned on an altar, and insanity is her solely means escape from the boys who search to regulate her life.

The downside to Alden’s strategy is that he loses sight the work’s political dimension – particularly the essential incontrovertible fact that Edgardo and Enrico face one another throughout a divide that’s as a lot ideological as financial. But even so, this can be a darkly compelling interpretation and the ultimate scenes particularly are chilling. Bayley rounds on Elgan Llŷr Thomas’s Normanno, accusing him being the tragedy’s prime mover, but it surely’s clear by the point the curtain falls that the ethical accountability for Lucia’s demise is communal, that a complete society has her blood on its palms.

Musically, it’s exceptionally sturdy. Tackling the title function for the primary time, Tynan sings with a silvery purity tone and an beautiful sense line. Her coloratura is admirably liquid, but at all times positioned on the service the drama. She may be thrillingly correct in her higher registers, although within the Mad Scene she replaces the standard showpiece cadenza with one thing altogether extra considerate and darkly expressive. Rodríguez makes an impressive Edgardo, in the meantime: handsome-sounding, impeccably trendy and intense, with a straightforward ring on the high his voice.

Lynch, a positive vocal actor, expertly captures Enrico’s obsessive temperament and self-loathing, whereas Bayley, returning to the function he sang within the first run, is oily hypocrisy incarnate. The smaller roles are forged from power and vividly characterised. conducts with nice ardour and care, slowly ratcheting up the strain because the night progresses. The choral singing is great.

  • Until 5 December. Box fice: 020-7845-9300