Opera Scotland

Lucia di Lammermoor 1875Italian Opera Company

Read more about the opera Lucia di Lammermoor

There is a cryptic note when the staging is being discussed.  It mentions the final scene being left out, merely in scenic terms.  However this indicates that the performance  ended with the mad scene - not unusual in those days..



An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman: Monday, 20 December 1875

The Queen's Theatre - Opera - Lucia di Lammermoor

'On Saturday, the last of our six nights of opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, was given to a tolerably good house.  To Scotch people, intimate, as all Scotch people are presumed to be, with the story of the Bride of Lammermoor, the liberties taken with Scott’s romance are apt to detract a little from the tragic character of the plot.  It certainly does violence to our early associations to see the function of constraining Lucy’s affections assigned to her brother instead of her parents, to find the illiterate and debauched laird of Bucklaw become a conspicuous political personage, whose marriage to Lucy has become his brother’s only safeguard against his redoubtable foe Ravenswood, and to have the picturesque catastrophe of Ravenswood ”stabling his steed in the kelpies’ floe,” superseded by the commonplace Italian denouement of his poinarding himself.

'More perplexing, however, is the historical jumble, which reaches its climax when “Lord Enrico Asthon” explains that King William (to whose party he was attached) has been ousted from the throne of Scotland by Queen Mary!  The absurdities of the plot are, indeed, barely condoned in respect of the merits of the setting, which, along with some extremely common-place choruses, contains some of the most melodious music that Donizetti has written, over-loaded, however, with technical difficulties that have made the character of the heroine a test part for singers of exceptional executive powers.

'Of the many impersonations of Lucia that recur to our memory, there are very few that we would incline to rank so high as that of Mdlle Albani.  Mdlle Nilsson’s appearance corresponds more to Scott’s description of the heroine; but, on the whole, Mdlle Albani’s conception of the part seems to us quite as true and more original.  At the outset she gave a very fine rendering of her first cavatina and its brilliant pendant, and she produced a great sensation in the duet with Edgardo that closes the first act.  She was intensely touching throughout the sextet, and in the impassioned close of the second act.  But her chief triumph was in the mad scene of the third act, where, without ever indulging in exaggerated gesticulation, she showed a marvellous power of depicting deep and rapidly-changing emotions. While her voice lent itself without the smallest appearance of effort to the difficult feats of agility that the music demands, we were more than ever impressed with the flute-like quality of her upper notes.  Were it possible to discover a fault in so finished a performer, it would be that she makes rather too frequent a use of her singular power of sustaining high notes.

'In Signor Pavani we had a satisfactory Edgardo, who threw a good deal of fervour into the malediction, and thoroughly enlisted the sympathies of the audience in the famous “Fra poco.”  Signor Medica acquitted himself well as Enrico, giving the two airs in the first act with considerable finish, though with more indulgence in tremolo than we quite liked.  The other parts were well filled.

'The instrumental accompaniments were creditably played, including the beautiful flute obligato.  The choruses were in tune, and the scenery about as good as could have been looked for, the ancestral tombs, however, being left out.  There were frequent bouquets flung on the stage, and the performers had a call in front of the curtain at the close of each act.  If, however, there was a good deal of enthusiasm in some parts of the house, a large number of the occupants of the gallery seem to have been utterly insensible to the charms of the performance, as they began a deafening entr’acte of discordant sounds each time that the curtain fell, and continued it until it rose again.'

Performance Cast

Enrico Lord Henry Ashton

Signor Medica (Dec 17)

Raimondo Bide the Bent, the Ashtons' chaplain

Signor Proni (Dec 17)

Lucia Lucy Ashton, Henry's Sister

Emma Albani (Dec 17)

Edgardo Edgar, the Master of Ravenswood

Signor Pavani (Dec 17)

Arturo Lord Arthur Bucklaw

Signor Bolli (Dec 17)

Performance DatesLucia di Lammermoor 1875

Map List

Queen's Theatre | Edinburgh

18 Dec, 20.00

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