"Lucia di Lammermoor", a romantic opera in three acts by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, will be staged in Hong Kong in January 2012.
One of the most gifted, productive and successful of Italian composers, Donizetti 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.
"Lucia di Lammermoor" is Donizetti's best known masterpiece, and was completed in six weeks. Walter Scott's then extremely popular novel was brilliantly adapted by Salvatore Cammarano into a concise and superbly constructed libretto.
"Lucia di Lammermoor" has found continuous success ever since its premiere in 1835. 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 orchestral effects is in turn subtle, powerful and exciting, and truly innovative among operatic music works of the time.
The story takes place in Scotland toward the end of the 17th century. Lord Enrico of Lammermoor Castle is perpetuating a family feud with the Ravenswood clan. The young lord of Ravenswood, Edgardo, whose father was killed and whose estate was usurped by Enrico's father, is now a fugitive.
Edgardo, ironically, falls in love with Enrico's sister, Lucia. They solemnly exchange rings, and pledge their faithfulness in the love duet.
Enrico enjoins Lucia to marry Arturo, his only hope of salvation to prevent his ruin. He even produces a forged letter to prove Edgardo's infidelity and make Lucia become stricken with sadness.
At Lucia's wedding banquet, Edgardo bursts in to claim his bride. However, when Edgardo finds the marriage contract, he furiously gives Lucia back her ring, snatches his from her and tramples it as he curses her.
The wedding guests continue rejoicing in the great hall. Suddenly, shocking news spreads: Lucia, apparently out of her mind, has stabbed Arturo to death in the wedding chamber. Lucia appears, imagining in her madness that she has been happily united with Edgardo and conjuring up a vision of the nuptial altar. As she falls dying into her companion Alisa's arms, she declares that heaven will be empty for her until she is joined there by Edgardo.
Edgardo 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 dead. Edgardo prays for reunion with Lucia in heaven and stabs himself.
The production is directed by Lo Kingman and conducted by Lio Kuokman. The main cast includes Sang-Eun Lee, Anne Carolyn Bird, Todd Wilander, John Daniecki, Michael Corvino, Nicolai Janitzky, Freddie Tong, Alex Tam, Louise Kwong, Carol Lin and Chen Yong, with the collaboration of the Hong Kong Virtuosi and the Opera Society of Hong Kong.
Performed in Italian with Chinese and English surtitles, "Lucia di Lammermoor" is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and produced by Musica Viva. It will take place at 7.45pm on January 6 and 7 (Friday and Saturday), and at 2.45pm on January 7 and 8 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall. Tickets priced at $630, $460, $300 and $150 are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis).
There will be two talks held at Hong Kong City Hall for the opera. The first (conducted in English) will be at 5.15pm on January 7 while the second (conducted in Cantonese) will be at 2pm on January 8. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis.
For enquiries on the programme and the talks, please call 2268 7321 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/music/0000031a.html. Ticketing enquiries can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings can be made on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk.
Ends/Friday, November 11, 2011