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Lucia Di Lammermoor

The Israeli Opera, Tel-Aviv

One name – Maria Jose Moreno – makes almost the full story of this production of Lucia, originally created for the Oviedo Opera House and first performed by The Israeli Opera five years ago. In her Israeli Opera debut, the Spanish-born soprano was a perfect fit to the role of Lucia, a statement that cannot be made easily with such a popular and demanding role. Her voice and her stage presence were of the highest quality. In Donizetti’s eternal Mad Scene I was totally convinced that the woman totally lost her mind, with very delicate both voice and gesture nuances. My vivid memory of Dame Joan Sutherland in her iconic role thirty-something years ago at the Met was not haunting me for one second. Bravo!

Moving sharply to the other extreme, a very annoying element of this production was, believe it or not – the lighting! Throughout most of Act I viewers sitting like me at the right-hand side of the hall were completely blinded by the metal-like wall on the left-hand side of the stage, reflecting the aggressive lights from the other side of the stage. When they finally went off, the back of the stage became one wall of bright light. In both situations it was very difficult to follow whatever was going on stage. I have no idea if this was poor implementation of Eduardo Bravo’s design or his original intention. In any event, it took away much of the pleasure. Generally speaking, the design of the set was too dull and unimaginative to my taste, with the exception of the wedding scene.

Back to the music, another notable performance was of tenor Alexei Dolgov in the role of Edgardo, Lucia’s lover. He enjoys beautiful and powerful voice, high dramatic skills and was a suitable partner to Maria Jose Moreno’s shining performance. Also notable, though is less central roles, were bass Dario Russo as the Calvinist Chaplain Raimondo, tenor Guy Mannheim as Normanno and mezzo soprano Anat Czarny as Alisa. Less convincing was baritone Mario Cassi as Enrico, Lucia’s brother.

The amazing music of Donizetti was very well served by conductor Daniele Callegari and his orchestra. Callegari is not a new face at the Israeli Opera and time and again he demonstrates his perfect command of the partitura. Kudos to chief flautist Adi Menczel, for her moving solo in the Mad Scene, as well as to the Israeli Opera Corus.

  • Opera
  • By Gaetano Donizetti
  • Original Director: Emilio Sagi
  • Revival Director: Javier Ulacia
  • Conductor: Daniele Callegari
  • Cast includes: Maria Jose Moreno, Alexei Dolgov, Mario Cassi, Dario Russo, Guy Mannheim, Anat Czarny
  • The Israeli Opera, Tel-Aviv
  • Until 3 February 2017
  • Reviewed by Shmuel Ben-tovim
  • 20 January 2017

About The Author

Reviewer (Israel)

Shmuel is the President of City TLV, a Director at Ben-Tovim Consultants Ltd. and a Board member of the International Harp Contest. His career has covered both the private and public sectors. From 2005 to 2010 he was seconded to the Embassy of Israel in London as Minister for Economic Affairs. Previously he had a tour of duty in New York where he became a regular at the Met. From 1998 to 2005 Shmuel served as Mayor of Kfar Shmaryahu, where he pioneered unique concert and theatre series. He holds a BA in Economics and an MBA from the Hebrew University.

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