Lucia di Lammermoor' tragic tale of love, feuds, deception, madness and murder has thrilled audiences since its premiere in 1835. It boasts a fast-moving plot, a strong cast of characters, a brooding Scottish Gothic horror setting and some of Donizetti' m
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For Glass Harmonica Buffs and the CuriousFeb. 14 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This live recording preserves a decent rendition of the opera... a performance that would give more than a certain amount of pleasure if heard in the theater. However, as a recording to be preserved for posterity, it does not hold up well over time... and especially when compared with other recordings with more illustrious artits.
The main reason to get this particular version concerns the fact that it uses the glass harmonica in the Mad Scene... and to good effect. The other recording that does so is the recording with Beverly Sills...
Regarding other textual matters, the opera is performed in the traditional keys as opposed to the higher keys of Donizetti's autograph score. A number of small cuts are taken, as opposed to the Sills version which is note complete and also uses the traditional keys. The Sony recording under Mackerras boasts original instruments, uses all the original keys, and is absolutely complete. However, it features the flute in the Mad Scene.
Therefore, I recommend this recording as a supplement for those who want to hear how eerily effective the glass harmonica complements Lucia's madness and at the same time are not enamored with the overly embellished manner in which Beverly Sills interprets Donizetti's ill fated Scottish lass. Otherwise I would choose your favorite prima donna in the title role... be she Callas, Sutherland, or even Sills.
Addendum: Since this was released an additional recording of Lucia featuring the glass harmonica has been issued. That recording features Natalie Dessay and is conducted by Valery Gergiev. I have not heard the complete recording, but the excerpts that I have auditioned don't make me want to hear the remainder... and especially given its premium price. Still, it is another choice for those interested in the glass harmonica... or fans of the prima donna.