In celebration of Monaco’s National Day on 19th November, Monte-Carlo Opera opens its 2009-2020 season with a performance of Gaetano Donizetti’s three-act tragedy, Lucia di Lammermoor, the weekend before.
Starring Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko in the title role, with Polish baritone Artur Ruciński as her domineering brother, Enrico, the opera also features Spanish tenor Ismael Jordi as Lucia’s secret lover, Edgardo.
In this new staging – a co-production with the New National Theatre Foundation of Tokyo – the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chorus of Monte-Carlo Opera are led by conductor Roberto Abbado. Direction is by Jean-Louis Grinda.
Gaetano Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style – in both Italian and French – during the first half of the nineteenth century, and Lucia di Lammermoor is considered by many to be his finest work. The libretto, by Salvadore Cammarano, is loosely based on Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, The Bride of Lammermuir, translated in 1826 by Gaetano Barbieri. The opera premiered at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on 26th September, 1835. It was first performed in Monte-Carlo on 12th February 1881, and most recently seen here on 16th February, 2003.
Taking place in the Lammermuir Hills in 16th-century Scotland, Lucia di Lammermoor is set against the rivalry of two families, which threatens to destroy the passionate love between Lucia and Edgardo. Ultimately forced to marry Arturo – who has been chosen for her by her brother – Lucia suffers a total breakdown on her wedding night. She completely loses her mind, which leads to what is regarded as one of the most unforgettable, and bloody, mad scenes ever created for opera – a highly dramatic and emotionally tragic climax which is a highpoint in the career of any coloratura soprano.
Since rising to international stardom, Olga Peretyatko has appeared on the stages of some of the world’s major opera houses, concert halls and opera festivals, and won awards such as the ECHO Klassik Award in 2015, the OPUS Klassik Award in 2018, and most recently the Premio Franco Abbiati della Critica Musicale Italiana. Having made her debut as Lucia at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this year – where she was described by The New York Times as “the luminous soprano Olga Peretyatko” – she follows her performances in Monte-Carlo with an appearance in the title role of Anna Bolegna at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, and will subsequently sing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at Teatro Real in Madrid, Elettra in Idomeneo at Staatsoper Berlin, and Matilde in Guillaume Tell at Vienna Staatsoper.
Baritone Artur Ruciński’s breakthrough to international stardom came when Daniel Barenboim invited him to appear in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Rolando Villazon at the Deutsche Staatsoper in 2010. Following Ruciński’s performance in Carmina Burana at Vienna Musikverein, the late music journalist Karl Löbl wrote: “…. take note of the name Artur Ruciński and go to every opera in which you can hear this singer”. Mr Ruciński has subsequently appeared in many opera houses and concert halls around the world, and appearances during this 2019-2020 season include the roles of Lescaut in Manon and Marcello in La Bohème – both at the Metropolitan Opera, the Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Germont in La Traviata at Teatro Real in Madrid, and Lord Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The role of Edgardo is taken by Spanish tenor Ismael Jordi, who has sung in many of the major opera houses of Europe, including Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opéra-Comique and Opéra Bastille in Paris. His repertory includes the roles of Tebaldo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia, Riccardo Percy in Anna Bolena, the title role in Roberto Devereux, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Alfredo Germont in La Traviata, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, the title role in Faust, and Des Grieux in Manon.
The cast also includes Diego Silva as Arturo, Nicola Ulivieri as Raimondo, Valentine Lemercier as Alisa, and Maurizio Pace as Normanno.
Conductor Roberto Abbado – awarded the prestigious Premio Abbiati by the Italian Music Critics Association – is Musical Director of Parma’s Festival Verdi, as well as the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia. While studying at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, he became the only student in the history of the Academy to be invited to lead the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia. He frequently appears with some of the best known orchestras in the United States, as well as many European orchestras, including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouworkest, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Orchestre national de France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig.
Jean-Louis Grinda, having directed over 50 operas and musicals during his career, has been Director of Monte-Carlo Opera since 2009. Since 2016 he has been Director of Chorégies d’Orange, and – together with Cecilia Bartoli – is the Co-Founder of Les Musiciens du Prince. Earlier this season, Mr Grinda made his American debut, directing Romeo and Juliet for San Francisco Opera – of which Operawire wrote that he “…. brought pointed finesse to the story detail, aiming to keep the original Verona setting as fresh as once upon a time”.
Décor for this production of Lucia di Lammermoor is by Rudy Sabounghi, costumes are by Jorge Jara and lighting by Laurent Castaingt.
Monte-Carlo Opera’s performances of Lucia di Lammermoor run at the Salle des Princes, Grimaldi Forum on 17th, 19th and 22nd November. Attendance at the 19th November performance is by invitation from the Palace only. Tickets may be reserved online.
Lead image courtesy Opéra de Monte-Carlo