Monday, November 07, 2016



  Not his best, not his worst.  The piece has one big hit, the sextet and a mad scene but what opera of that period didn't?  Some have two, and arguably more, which makes me think of Lady Bracknell's line about losing one  parent is a misfortune, losing both looks like carelessness.  So the opera is what it is.  You're there for the singing. 
  As productions go Lyric's Lucia is not bad and an enormous improvement on the last one which was, as I remember, drearily conventional.  The singing was so-so to excellent.  Nothing was really bad except for the orchestra which I hate to call unresponsive because it is an insult to the truly brain dead.   They have played the piece many times and should understand how to phrase a musical line in Donizetti.   Hardly a challenge yet musical phrases went nowhere when they didn't end in a bump.   Their disdain for the opera is unmusical and unprofessional.   Could it be that the unfortunate inclusion of Broadway shows.  Probably not.  A good commercial pit can run on energy for months.  The Lyric orchestra can't make it through eight performances?  
  So on to what the show is all about.  The Lucia ( Albina Shagimuratova) has a nice voice with a certain amount of agility and a strong top.  She is not however a bel canto soprano.  I understand her taking these roles since she can get through them and they are good for her vocal health.  If Lyric is smart, which it is not, they would book her back in five years to do some of the lighter Strauss.  Unfortunately it is more likely in five years the season will be eight weeks of Sound of Music and eight of Fiddler on the Roof.   She would be a good Dafne and a possibly a great Arabella.   Add middle Verdi and Mozart Countess for vocal health, throw in some sensible curiosities and that gives you 10-15 years with voice intact.  Then you take chances.    For now her voice is too plushy for real  bel canto.   The intonation in the passage work was not always in tune.  She has this strange need to over vibrate at the top of a phrase that breaks the line which is what you must not do in this kind of music.  She can act a bit.  She'll probably end up blowing out her voice on inappropriate rep ( early Verdi, late Wagner and finally  screaming a Tosca). 
  The Edgardo ( Piotr Beczala)  was the real thing.  It was the only truly satisfying part of the evening.   The only reason I didn't bolt after act one was to hear his last aria and final scene.   I was glad I stayed.  Since he is so good of course it means we might never hear him again.    
  Enrico ( Quinn Kelsey) was all over the place vocally.   He started singing Verdi-ish  ok but ended up  rather struggling.  I don't know if he was tired or ill or what but as he sang worse  he "acted" more and he had a wig, that he kept pulling at, that made him look like Meat Loaf.  Doesn't anybody say anything to anyone over there?    Seriously.