Israeli Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor

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Lucia di Lammermoor/Photo: Yossi Zwecker

The Israeli Opera will present Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, conducted by Carlo Montanaro, from January 5 – 13, 2024. The opera will be directed by Omer Ben Seadia, who not only began her career as an assistant director at the Israeli Opera, but fell in love with opera at age 15, when she participated in one of the Israeli Opera’s community operas. Ben Seadia has directed contemporary as well as classical operas, including The Snowy Day by Joel Thompson at the Houston Grand Opera and Steal a Pencil for Me by Gerald Cohen at Opera Colorado, and classical operas Carmen, The Magic Flute, Rigoletto and many more in opera houses throughout the United States. Lucia di Lammermoor will be Ben Seadia’s Israeli Opera debut as a director, in a new version of Emilio Sagi’s production.

Ben Seadia released a statement on the opera: “Lucia’s story centers on the tragic story of a young woman who is taken advantage of by those around her as a political and social tool, with devastating results. Lucia fights back in every way, struggling to make her voice heard against crushing forces, and at a heavy personal price. From this Gothic production that corresponds with Sir Walter Scott’s original novel, to Tel Aviv of our day, Lucia becomes a symbol of all women worldwide who fight for freedom, the right to love whomever they choose, and the right to determine their own fate.”

A leading composer in the bel canto style, Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848) composed almost 70 operas in his lifetime, including the popular L’elisir d’amore, Anna Bolena, La fille du regiment, and Maria Stuarda. Lucia is a pawn in her brother Enrico’s schemes. Having taken hold of the Ravenswood estates, he is concerned that the ascension of Mary to the throne of Scotland may alter his fortunes and seeks security through an alliance forged by Lucia’s marriage to Arturo. Lucia, however, is in love with Edgardo, whose home and fortunes Enrico took possession of, after killing Edgardo’s father. When Edgardo, now penniless, departs for France, Enrico takes advantage of the situation to further his schemes. Lucia, although grieving the recent death of her mother, is independent and unwilling to go along with Enrico’s plans. He seeks to break her will by gaslighting her, enlisting the pastor in these efforts to convince her, and telling her that Edgardo has found a new bride in France. Ultimately, Lucia reluctantly signs the marriage contract, yet just then, Edgardo appears, and thinking that she has betrayed him, curses Lucia. For Lucia, this is the blow that shatters her spirit, and she goes mad, resulting in one of the opera’s most famous scenes. The “mad scene” is known for its extremely challenging aria, and some of the best-known performances have been by Maria Callas, and Joan Sutherland.

Soloists in Lucia di Lammermoor include: Hila Fahima and Laura Ulloa alternating as Lucia, Oreste Cosimo and Giorgio Misseri alternating as Edgardo, Ionut Pascu and Oded Reich alternating as Enrico, Davide Giangregorio and Alexey Birkus alternating as Raimondo, Liviu Indricau and Anthony Webb alternating as Arturo, Tamara Navoth and Gal Kohav alternating as Alisa, and Anthony Webb and Anton Trotoush alternating as Normanno. The opera will be sung in Italian with English and Hebrew surtitles.

Tickets for Lucia di Lammermoor are available on the Israeli Opera website.