At the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
Friday, March 22, 2024
6:30 PM Pre-Opera Party
6:30 PM Nuts and Bolts Lecture
7:30 PM Performance
Sunday, March 24, 2024
1:30 PM Pre-Opera Party
1:30 PM Nuts and Bolts Lecture
2:30 PM Performance
Join us for a post-show talkback immediately following the performances.
Composer – Gaetano Donizetti
Librettist – Salvadore Cammarano
Stage Director – Brenna Corner
Conductor – Joseph Mechavich
The Jerry W. Zachary and Henry Bernstein Maestro Chair
Lucia – Katrina Galka
Edgardo – Yongzhao Yu
Enrico – Alexander Birch Elliott
With The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
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Meet the Cast and Creative Team
Alexander Birch Elliott
Did you know…
Sir Walter Scott, Author of The Bride of Lammermoor, was an influential Scottish author, poet, and historian whose works are considered classics in the European literary canon. As a small child, Scott was stricken lame with a bout of polio that affected him throughout his life. In order to recuperate, his parents sent him away from their cramped quarters in Edinburgh to spend time outdoors with his paternal grandparents in the Scottish Borders outside of the city. Here, he was first exposed to the rich mythology and folklore of the Scottish people. These foundational learnings formed Scott’s understanding of the Scottish identity. He imbued his poetry and writings with historical, romantic notions of the Borderlands.
The Bride of Lammermoor was published in 1819 and was one of the many novels in Scott’s Waverley Series. This series consists of 27 novels that were, for over a century, among the most popular and widely read books in Europe. Initially published anonymously (so as not to tarnish Scott’s established reputation lest the reviews proved poor), the works received their proper attribution only in later years.
An intruder is detected near the Scottish home of the Ashton family (Lammermoor Castle). A guard confirms to Enrico, Lord of Lammermoor, that the intruder is Edgardo of Ravenswood, a long rival. He has come for Lucia, Enrico’s sister. Lucia meets Edgardo, and they exchange rings and vow to marry.
Meanwhile, Enrico works to marry Lucia off to Lord Arturo Bucklaw by using a forged letter to show that Edgardo has taken a new lover. He also recruits his chaplain and Lucia’s tutor, Raimondo, to apply pressure. Although Lucia is distressed, Arturo arrives, and the marriage contract is signed. Edgardo then appears, livid at Lucia’s apparent betrayal. Later, Enrico challenges Edgardo to a duel, claiming that Lucia is happily married. Back at Lammermoor Castle, Raimondo interrupts the celebrations to inform everyone that Lucia has gone mad and killed her new groom Arturo. Enrico, first incensed at Lucia, soon softens when he realizes her mental state. Finally, Enrico meets Edgardo at the Ravenswood family graveyard for the duel. When Edgardo learns that Lucia is dying, he stabs himself with a dagger, hoping to reunite with his love in Heaven.
Lammermoor Castle grounds
The castle guard, Normanno, and others search for an intruder into Lammermoor Castle, the home of Enrico Ashton, Lord of Lammermoor, and his sister, Lucia. They believe that Edgardo of Ravenswood, the Lord of a rival family, has come to the castle for Lucia. While the guards search furiously for Edgardo, Enrico worries over his family’s financial misfortune and recognizes that the only solution to their predicament would be to wed Lucia to the wealthy Lord Arturo Bucklaw. Meanwhile Raimondo, the Chaplain and Lucia’s tutor, reminds Enrico that Lucia is still mourning the death of her mother. Enrico’s ally Normanno points out that Lucia has fallen in love with Edgardo, which sends Enrico into a fresh fit of rage. As Enrico declares that he will seek vengeance, news comes to confirm that the intruder is indeed Edgardo of Ravenswood.
By a fountain close to the castle
In the early hours of the morning, Lucia tells her maid Alisa of a vision she had where the ghost of a young woman was killed by a jealous lover in the very spot where they stand. Seeing this as an ill omen, Alisa encourages Lucia to abandon her plans to marry Edgardo. Lucia instead believes that her love will conquer all. Edgardo soon arrives with the news that he must go away on a political journey to France and has come to make peace with Enrico and marry Lucia. Lucia insists that this is not possible and asks that they keep their love secret. The two exchange rings and pledge to marry.
Regnava nel silenzio – Lucia
Lord Ashton’s Apartment
The day for Lucia to marry Arturo has arrived. Normanno has intercepted all correspondence between Lucia and Edgardo. Additionally, he presents Enrico with a forged letter, supposedly from Edgardo, that indicates he has taken a lover. As Normanno leaves to greet the soon-to-arrive groom, Lucia enters, defiant and unwilling to go through with the marriage. Enrico uses the forged letter to convince Lucia of the rightness of his plan. She is heartbroken. Enrico exits as Raimondo enters. He reminds Lucia of her mother and asks that she consider her duty as a good daughter and sister to Enrico. Finally, she reluctantly agrees to the marriage.
Lammermoor Castle Hall
Arturo and guests have arrived for the wedding. Enrico excuses Lucia’s distress by telling Arturo of their mother’s recent death. Even so, Arturo, and a reluctant Lucia, both sign the marriage contract. At this moment, Edgardo bursts into the hall, sending everyone into an excited state. Although commanded to leave by Enrico and Arturo, Edgardo claims that he has come for Lucia’s hand in marriage. To avoid a physical altercation, Raimondo shows him the marriage contract. Edgardo is crushed and demands that they return their rings to one another. In an act of hurt, He rips the ring from Lucia’s finger and leaves the hall in despair.
Chi mi frena in tal momento – sextet
Lammermoor Castle Hall
As guests enjoy the wedding festivities, Raimondo interrupts the party to inform everyone that Lucia has been overcome with madness and has killed her husband, Arturo. Lucia enters the wedding hall covered in blood. In front of everyone, moving through several dissociative emotional states, she imagines her life married to Edgardo. Claiming that she will never be happy in Heaven without her true love, she vows to wait for him there until they can reunite. When Enrico returns from Wolfcrag, he is furious but soon realizes Lucia’s compromised state. The two siblings have a violent exchange that ultimately leaves Lucia collapsed on the floor of the hall.
Edgardo waits for Enrico. He laments his position and hopes to die in the duel. When, at last, Enrico arrives, he informs Edgardo that Lucia is dying. Wedding guests coming from Lammermoor Castle pass by share that Lucia has called out his name. As he prepares to rush to her side, Raimondo soon appears to inform them that she has already died. Overcome with grief, Edgardo vows to join Lucia in heaven and stabs himself with a small dagger.
Musical highlight:Il dolce suono (the mad scene) – Lucia
- The opera’s U.S. premiere took place in New Orleans on May 28, 1841.
- Based on a true story fictionalized by Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, the real-life version of Arturo survived the near-fatal stabbing on his wedding night.
- Because Teatro di San Carlo was unable to pay the singers, the opera’s premiere was postponed from July to September. Donizetti rewrote a glass harmonica part for the flute to reduce the musicians’ cost.
- The opera is best known for its mad scene where Lucia spirals into an uncontrollable breakdown. In a cruel example of art imitating life, Donizetti suffered from mental health issues that left him in and out of institutions later in life.
Student Study Guide