* Notes *
Lucia di Lammermoor closed last Wednesday at San Francisco Opera with Albina Shagimuratova as the title character, substituting for Nadine Sierra, who was ill. Shagimuratova herself has been sick and had not yet performed her role as the Queen of the Night in the current run of The Magic Flute that ends November 20.
The performance of Lucia was tantalizing, Shagimuratova has a powerful voice that is a good match for the other great singers sharing the War Memorial stage with her. On the down side, she was obviously still ill, and no amount of wonderful singing could save the terrible production, which looks even worse in close quarters, I discovered.
Shagimuratova's voice is exceedingly dark but she has brilliant high notes. Her Lucia was less safe than Nadine Sierra's, and more emotional. Shagimuratova did lack the sweetness and innocence that Sierra brought to the role. That said, it was exciting to hear Shagimuratova, and we are lucky to be able to get such talent at the last minute.
Michael Cavanagh's staging is pretty darn silly. Ghosts appear nearly every time the word "ghost" is mentioned, and it made my date laugh almost every time, which is hardly an appropriate reaction. It interesting to see that the production team did not try to put Shagimuratova into Sierra's costumes, or even ones that approximated them. Since neither set of outfits really fit in with anything else on stage, it was perfectly fine.
* Tattling *
There were giggles heard not only from my opera companion, but in adjacent boxes and even from the Grand Tier, particularly when Arturo's body was revealed in the mad scene.