* Notes *
A new production of Lucia di Lammermoor opened last night at San Francisco Opera with local favorite and Adler alum Nadine Sierra in the title role. There was much beautiful singing and playing, but while there were many strong elements in the staging, it didn't add up to a cohesive performance.
Sierra cut short a run as Zerlina in Paris Opéra's Don Giovanni to replace Diana Damrau, who is on vocal rest. The young soprano started off the evening sounding slightly pinched, but recovered and has a gorgeous voice with excellent consistency. She looks fabulous as Lucia and her face is expressive, those doe eyes convey a lot. She lacks a certain raw intensity in her madness, which came off as very pretty but somewhat impassive, at least vocally.
One also missed the eerie glass harmonica that we heard in San Francisco Opera's 2008 production, though the flute player was strong, and even joined the cast and crew for a well-deserved ovation. Maestro Nicola Luisotti had the orchestra going rather fast, and got ahead of the singers, but only overwhelmed in volume once or twice.
Piotr Beczala sang Edgardo with warmth and brightness, and Brian Mulligan was completely convincing as the conflicted Enrico, his sound rich and emotional. Their Wolf Crag scene (Act III, Scene 1 pictured above, photograph by Cory Weaver) was arresting, and this was one of the more interestingly staged, on a black and white checkered floor that seems to be floating in clouds.
The production, directed by Michael Cavanagh, is efficient and has stylish sets and costumes, and some silly video projections (lots of water and huge statue heads). The mad scene takes place in the bridal chamber, and the set opens up to bring the chorus into the action. This works well, and the contrast of colors is striking. The green, blue, and purple of the chorus women's gowns with the grey set is attractive, and they wear enormous flower-shaped hats which is always a plus.
* Tattling *
Was happy to run into an opera devotee who recently moved to San Francisco from New York. He was accompanying a young lady to her first opera.