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Opera: Donizetti’sLucia di Lammermoor

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A Romantic Opera in 3 Acts
Performed in Italian with Chinese and English Surtitles
Libretto: Salvatore Cammarano
Based on a novel by Walter Scott

A Musica Viva Produciton


6 – 7 January 2012 (Fri to Sat) 7:45pm
7 – 8 January 2012 (Sat to Sun) 2:45pm
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall
$630, 460, 300, 150*

*The sightline of certain seats may be restricted


The Music

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) was the most gifted, productive and successful Italian composer during the interregnum between Rossini and Verdi.  He wrote more than 70 operas within the three decades of his active creative life.  All his works were composed to be performed by the great singers of the golden age of singing known as the ‘bel canto’ period.  The scarcity of this calibre of singers during the late 19th and early 20th century caused many of his operas to be forgotten. With the emergence of great performers like Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Monserrat Caballé in recent decades, there has been a glorious revival of Donizetti’s works and his genius is once again universally admired.

Lucia di Lammermoor is Donizetti’s greatest masterpiece, and one that has had a continuous success ever since its premiere in 1835.  The composition was completed in less than six weeks. Walter Scott’s then extremely popular novel was brilliantly adapted by Salvatore Cammarano into a concise and superbly constructed libretto.  Donizetti’s beautifully woven melodies flow spontaneously, reflecting every nuance of character, emotion and psychological motivation as the dramatic situations require.  His use of instrumental colours and orchestra effects is in turn subtle, powerful and exciting, and truly innovative in operatic music of the time.

Lucia’s ‘mad scene’ is the most magnificent of its kind in all operas.  It unites brilliant singing and dramatic expression in the most beautiful way imaginable.  The famous ‘sextet’ is the perfect model for operatic ensemble writing.  Within its harmonious unity, all the characters are able to express their thoughts and emotions individually, bringing the opera to a tremendous climax before the interval.

Enrico dominates the opening scene with rousing support from the chorus.  His imposing slow aria and exciting cabaletta both have strong appeal to the audience.  Lucia’s first appearance offers us a hauntingly lyrical aria followed by a tuneful display of florid coloratura that expresses the ecstasy of a young woman in love.  Edgardo’s tragic finale is justly acclaimed for its dignified pathos and eloquent beauty.  There are three great scenes featuring extended duets: first the ‘fountain’ scene in which Lucia and Edgardo exchange vows of love; then the dramatic dialogue in which Enrico forces Lucia to accept a marriage of convenience; and finally the often omitted ‘Wolf’s Crag’ scene (resorted for this production) in which Edgardo and Enrico swear to kill each other in combat.

The whole of Lucia di Lammermoor is, of course, more than the sun of its parts.  And the whole opera was composed as if in one breath, a truly inspired work of art of the bel canto era.

The Story
The action takes place in Scotland towards the end of the 17th century.  Lord Enrico of Lammermoor Castle is perpetuating a family feud with the Ravenswood clan.  Edgardo the young lord of Ravenswood, whose father was killed and whose estate usurped by Enrico’s father, is now a fugitive.

Act 1, Scene 1
On the grounds near Ravenswood Castle, Normanno, the chief huntsman of Enrico, urges his men to seek out the stranger who has lately been lurking about.  Enrico, entering with Raimondo, the chaplain, is preoccupied with his declining fortunes and upset that his sister Lucia refuses to marry the one man who can prevent his ruin.  Raimondo suggests that Lucia is still mourning her recently deceased mother; but Normanno declares that she is in love with the intruder being hunted down, whom he suspects to be Edgardo.  Enrico vents his anger in the aria.  The huntsmen return and report definite identification of the stranger as Edgardo, news that arouses Enrico to another outburst.

Scene 2
In the park of Ravenswood Castle, Lucia with her companion Alisa awaits Edgardo by the haunted fountain.  She tells Alisa the legend of the victim of a passion killing who haunts the fountain, whose ghost has recently appeared to her.  Alisa sees this as a dire omen and warns Lucia, who remains convinced of Edgardo’s sincerity.  Edgardo enters and bids Lucia farewell, as he must leave that night on a political errand to France.  Edgardo is determined to ask Enrico for Lucia’s hand before he departs, but finally yields to Lucia’s dissuasion.  They solemnly exchange rings, pledge their mutual faithfulness in the love duet and separate in anguish.

Act 2, Scene 1
In the Castle of Lammermoor, Enrico, who has intercepted the correspondence between Lucia and Edgardo, now forges a letter proving Edgardo’s infidelity with Normanno’s help.  Lucia enters, reproaching her brother’s harshness.  Enrico produces the forged letter and Lucia is grief-stricken. Enrico enjoins Lucia to marry Arturo, his only hope of salvation, threatening that if Lucia should betray him, the executioners’ axe awaits him and his ghost will haunt her.

Scene 2
In the great hall of Lammermoor Castle, Enrico leads in Arturo, followed by the guests for the betrothal.  Arturo asks about the rumour that Edgardo had courted Lucia, but Enrico’s efforts to brush this aside are interrupted by the arrival of Lucia.  The marriage contract is signed with Lucia barely aware of what she is doing.  Edgardo bursts in to claim his bride.  In the famous Sextet, everyone reacts to this sudden intrusion.  Raimondo steps between the drawn swords, bidding them remember God’s law against murder, and shows Edgardo the marriage contract.  The furious Edgardo gives Lucia back her ring, snatches his from her and tramples it as he curses her.  The act closes with a headlong ensemble.

Act 3, Scene 1
The wedding guests continue rejoicing in the great hall.  Raimondo enters with the shocking news that Lucia, apparently out of her mind, has stabbed Arturo to death in the wedding chamber.  The gathering hope that this dreadful deed will not call down upon them the punishment of heaven. Lucia appears, imagining in her madness that she has been happily united with Edgardo, and conjuring up a vision of the nuptial altar.  Enrico arrives and is filled with remorse at this tragic sight.  Lucia declares that heaven will be empty for her until she is joined there by Edgardo as she falls dying into Alisa’s arms.

Scene 2
Edgardo, musing among the tombs of the Ravenswoods, declares he has no desire to live without Lucia, and longs to die on Enrico’s sword so as to join his ancestors.  News comes that Lucia is dying, and Edgardo is frantic with grief when he hears the death-bells tolling.  Raimondo enters to confirm Lucia is really dead.  Edgardo prays for reunion with Lucia in heaven and stabs himself.

Artistic Personnel and Performers

Conductor: Lio Kuokman
Director: Lo Kingman
Lucia: Sang-Eun Lee+, Anne Carolyn Bird*
Edgardo: Todd Wilander+, John Daniecki*
Enrico: Michael Corvino+, Nicolai Janitzky*
Raimondo: Freddie Tong
Arturo: Alex Tam
Alisa: Louise Kwong+, Carol Lin*
Normanno: Chen Yong

Set Designer: Allan Tsui
Lighting Designer: Maggie Law
Costume Designer: Yoki Lai
Chorusmaster: Raymond Fu

Chamber Orchestra: Hong Kong Virtuosi
Chorus: The Opera Society of Hong Kong

6/1, 7/1, 7:45pm
*7/1, 8/1, 2:45pm

(In case of indisposition or other unexpected circumstances, artists may be replaced at short notice.)

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Biographies of Artistic Personnel and Cast

Lio Kuokman


Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as ‘a startling conducting talent', Lio Kuokman has been sought after for his versatility as a conductor, piano soloist and chamber musician.  His most recent engagement includes a performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra as both conductor and harpsichord soloist this summer at the Mann Center.  Lio is a recent graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music with a double major in orchestral conducting under the instruction of Otto-Werner Mueller and harpsichord performance with Lionel Party.  After graduating from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, under the tutorship of Gabriel Kwok, with first-class honours, he was awarded a fellowship to pursue a Master’s degree in piano performance with Robert McDonald at The Juilliard School of Music, where he also studied conducting with Virginia Allen and chamber music with Michael Tree and Joseph Kalichstein.  Lio has served as assistant conductor and prepared the Curtis Symphony Orchestra for guest conductors such as James Conlon and Christoph Eschenbach.  He has been the assistant conductor of the Curtis Opera Theatre for productions such as Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen andWozzeck.  He has conducted in masterclasses for renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, Christoph Eschenbach and Alan Gilbert.  In recognition of Lio’s many achievements, he was awarded the Honorary Diploma by the Government of Macao in 2004.


Sang-Eun Lee


Brilliant Korean coloratura lyric soprano Sang-Eun Lee made her stunning early appearances in the principal roles in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Mozart’sIdomeneo and Die Zauberflöte with the National Opera of Korea.  She then sang the title roles of Lucia, Olympia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Madam Goldentril in Mozart’s The Impressario, and Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto with the International Vocal Arts Institute in Isreal, France, and Japan.  Other highly acclaimed appearances have included performances with the Natchez Opera Festival, Au Château de la Ferie in France, and the Institute Canadien d’Art Vocal.  Sang-Eun Lee specializes in the high coloratura soprano repertoire as well as in bel canto style and early music.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Seoul National University and a master’s degree from Mannes College, New York.


Anne Carolyn Bird


Anne Carolyn Bird made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007, singing two roles in a new production of Puccini’s Il Trittico.  She returned there in the following season to sing Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. In the immediate past season, she was invited by the Metropolitan Opera again to perform the role of Najade in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Other major opera companies’ productions which featured Bird in principal operatic roles have included the Spoleto Festival as Camille in Charpertier’s Louise, Dayton Opera as Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust and Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Carolina as Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Nashville Opera as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  Bird has been a recipient of grants and awards from many prestigious organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Oratorio Society of New York and the Santa Fe Opera. Twice a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, she holds degrees from New England Conservatory and the University of Georgia.


Todd Wilander


Todd Wilander made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 as Arturo in a new production ofLucia di Lammermoor under the baton of James Levine.  He has since returned as Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia, Beppe in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliaci and Harry in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West. He has won high critical acclaim for his performances.  The New York Times praised his ‘brave, vocally assured portrayals’, and Opera News his ‘clear and sweet lyrical tone’.  He has sung the principal lead roles in Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment for Netherland’s Opera Zuid; Mozart’s Die Entführung for Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon; Bizet’s Les Pécheurs de Perles for Dublin Opera Festival; Verdi’s Rigoletto for Russia’s Kazan State Opera; Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena, and Verdi’s La Traviata for festivals in the United Kingdom. He has also appeared with Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera and numerous important companies in Europe and across America. Todd Wilander holds a Bachelor’s degree from the California State University and a Master’s degree from the Northwestern University.  His many prestigious awards include those of the Licia Albanese / Puccini Foundation, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, the Metropolitan National Council, and the Houston Grand Opera Competition.


John Daniecki


A singing actor of the highest calibre, John Daniecki has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and most major opera companies in Europe and America as well as major symphony orchestras including Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Montreal, Toronto, Madrid and Moscow. The Washington Post wrote: ‘Daniecki has that rarest of all combinations, a good tenor voice and a strong stage presence’. His Decca recording of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana won a Grammy Award for best performance, while his debut appearance with the Spoleto Festival in the American premiere of Kurt Weill’s Die Burgschaftwas recorded and released by EMI to rave reviews and awards.  His performance in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’s Amistad was recently released on digital medium by Chicago Lyric Opera. Daniecki is best known as a specialist in roles that require a master of the highest vocal range, such as Tonio in La Fille du Régiment and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoorby Donizetti, the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Arnold in Rossini’s Gugliemo Tell which demands more than twenty high C’s in a single evening.  His major festival appearances include those of Aix-en-Provence in France, Spoleto in both Italy and USA, Wexford in Ireland, and Bergen in Norway.


Michael Corvino


During the 2010/11 season, Michael Corvino joins the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Verdi’s Don Carlo, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Richard Strauss’ Capriccio. Additional career highlights have included the principal baritone roles in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and Puccini’s La Bohème, Madama Butterfly andTurandot with the New York City Opera. He is one of the most sought-after specialists in the great dramatic roles of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas including Nabucco, I Masnadieri, Il Trovatore,La Traviata, Stiffelio, Un Ballo in Maschera, both French and Italian versions of Don Carlos, and Otello. He is particularly famous for his interpretation of the title role of Verdi’s Rigoletto, which he has sung all over the United States and in Europe. Michael Corvino is equally successful with operas of the bel canto period, including the title role of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Enrico in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.


Nicolai Janitzky


A native of California, Nicolai Janitzky was a young artist with Santa Fe Opera where he took on the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin on short notice and to high critical acclaim. Other roles he has sung include the title role of Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, Valentin in Gounod’s Faust, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème. With San Diego Opera, he has recently appeared in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Verdi’s La Traviata and Janáček’s Kàt'a Kabanovà. With Opera Santa Barbara, he sang the role of Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. During 2008/09, Janitzky made his debut with the San Francisco Opera as Shchelkalov in Boris Godunov, and with Opera Idaho as Gugliemo in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte.  A graduate of the Yale University Opera Program and the Music Academy of the West, Janitzky is the winner of several competitions including those of the George London Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index Foundation; and a finalist in Plàcido Domingo’s Operalia Vocal Competition.


Freddie Tong


Born in Hong Kong and based in the UK, Freddie Tong went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama after gaining a degree in economics and statistics at University College London. During his time at the Guildhall, he gained a First Class honours degree, a Master of Music degree, and graduated with Distinction from the Opera Course. Notable engagements include Nourabad in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Monterone in Rigoletto and the Cardinal in  The Duchess of Malfi for the English National Opera; Masetto in Don Giovanni for Opera Holland Park; Imperial Commissioner in Madam Butterfly at Royal Albert Hall; Colline in La Bohème, the  Speaker in  Die Zauberflöte, Il Frate in Don Carlo and Le Bailli in Werther for Opera Hong Kong; Dr. Bartolo  in Il Barbiere of Siviglia and Dr. Dulcamara in  L’Elisir D’Amore for Grange Park Opera; Sparafulcile in  Rigoletto and Sulpice in  La Fille du Régiment for Diva Opera / Opéra Les Azuriales, Nice; Dancairo in Carmen for  Singapore Lyric Opera; Figaro in  Le Nozze di Figaro and Il Commendatore in  Don Giovanni for Zeist Music Festival in Holland.

Tong made his debut with Musica Viva in 2010 singing  Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore.  Further engagements include returning to ENO for Les Pêcheurs de Perles.


Alex Tam


Born in Hong Kong, Alex Tam graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA), and the Royal Academy of Music in London (RAM).  In 1995, he entered the APA, majoring in voice under the tutelage of Derek Anthony and Michael Rippon.  He also workedwith renowned artists such as Georg Tintner and Enza Ferrari. Tam studied with Joy Mammen and Audrey Hyland at the RAM where he had sung in masterclasses by Dennis O’Neill and Robert Tear.  Tam has taken leading roles in concerts, operas, and other productions in Hong Kong and London.  He performed his first major role at the age of 19 as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. This success was followed by other lead roles such as Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Mozart in Mozart und Salieri, Pong in Turandot, Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, Testo in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Jenik in The Bartered Bride, Goro in Madama Butterfly and Tonio in La Fille du Régiment.


Louise Kwong


Hong Kong-born mezzo soprano Louise Kwong is currently studying with Sasja Hunnego for her Master of Music degree at the Amsterdam Conservatory.  After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong studying with soprano Chan Siu-kwan, Louise obtained her Post-graduate Diploma with distinction from the Royal College of Music, London, under the tutelage of Kathleen Livingstone.  She has sung for the Hong Kong Oratorio Society and Die Konzertisten such works as Saint-Saëns’s Christmas Oratorio, J.S. Bach’s St. John’s Passion, St. Matthew’s Passion and B minor Mass. She has performed with the György Ligeti Academy of Amsterdam and is engaged to perform in Karl Jenkins’ Requiem in February 2012, to be conducted by the composer in Hong Kong. She has also been selected a Samling Scholar for the 2012 Samling Master class, working with Sir Thomas Allen, Yvonne Kenny and others in February in Glasgow.


Carol Lin


Born in Hong Kong, Carol Lin has performed important roles in operas including the title role ofXerxes. In December 2008, Lin made her American debut as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro inthe Boston. She works frequently with major orchestras in Asia and America. Graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Carol earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performances from New England Conservatory, Boston.  She was also a vocal fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. She recently won the Yokohama International Music Competition first prize along with the Judges’ Special Award.


Chen Yong


After obtaining his Master’s degree in vocal performance from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts under the tutelage of Brian Montgomery, Chen Yong completed his postgraduate programme at the University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna studying with Professor Franz Lukasovsky. He participated in the Shanghai International Opera Masterclass series in 2004 and 2005 after winning the highest place in the scholarship contest.  In 2006, Chen Yong was selected to join the International Young Ambassadors for Opera Program and participated in performances of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with Brasov Opera Thearte of Romania. In 2007 he sang the role of Remendado in Shanghai Opera Company’s production of Bizet’s Carmen under the baton of Maestro Michel Plasson. During 2008-10, Chen Yong performed in Hong Kong the principal roles of Gianni Schicchi, Carmen, La Bohème and La Fille dù Régiment.


Lo Kingman


Lo Kingman was born in Hong Kong and educated at the Diocesan Boys’ School and the University of Hong Kong.  He won an Italian Government Scholarship for advanced studies at the University of Rome, where he also received training at the Opera Theatre of Rome and the Morlacchi Theatre of Perugia.  Since the 1960s, Lo King-man has written, directed and designed over a hundred stage productions ranging from opera, drama, to music and dance theatre, with performances in Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Europe and America.  During 2008-10, he directed ten major western opera productions for Musica Viva of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Beijing Music Festival, the Shanghai Opera House, the Zhou Xiaoyan Opera Centre of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Singapore Lyric Opera, all enthusiastically received with warm critical acclaim. Over the years, Lo King-man has made significant contributions to the Hong Kong community, not only in the performing arts but also in the fields of higher education and public service.  He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours from international academic and arts institutions as well as the HKSAR Government and several foreign nations.  In 2008, he participated in the creation of Musica Viva, an organization dedicated to nurturing young artists, and served as its Director-General.

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Opera Talks
Speaker: Lo Kingman

Post - performance Talk (Conducted in English)
Producing Donizetti's Lucia on the Hong Kong City Hall stage

7 January 2012 (Sat)
After the matinee performance
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

Pre - performance Talk (Conducted in Cantonese)
Donizetti and the Art of Bel Canto
8 January 2012 (Sun)
Exhibition Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

Free admission on a first-come-first-served basis

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Programme Length
Running time of each performance is about 2 hours and 30 minutes with an intermission of 20 minutes.
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Ticket and Concession

Tickets available from 11 November onwards at all URBTIX outlets, on Internet and by credit card telephone booking.

Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. (Limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis.)

Group Booking Discount
10% discount for each purchase of 10-19 standard tickets; 
15% discount for each purchase of 20 or more standard tickets.

Patrons can enjoy one of the above discount schemes for each purchase.  Please inform the box office staff at the time of purchase.

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Audience are strongly advised to arrive punctually.  No latecomers will be admitted until a suitable break or the interval in the programme.

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