Met Summer Encore: Lucia di Lammermoor Movie Reviews
User reviews on Met Summer Encore: Lucia di Lammermoor
Sometimes I wonder why every opera has to be so tragic. But then I guess it makes sense since every love story set in the era when opera was created was about how a woman could not choose her mate but was instead told what to do and what to say and who to marry. The same is true in this slightly offbeat staging of the classic opera by Donizetti. They've remade it as a ghost story but the primary plot is essentially the same: a girl named Lucia falls in love with a young man named Edgardo who hails from a clan that Lucia's family has had a centuries long standoff with. It's basically the same premise as Romeo and Juliet, except that this time the brother of Lucia is the main obstacle in the way between the two lovers. The singing is fantastic and the music has to be heard to be believed. I'm not totally convinced that seeing this on screen is any different than seeing it live, it felt like I was watching the actual live performance the whole time. A great way to introduce your kids to opera if they haven't yet been exposed.
Ah, to be in love, Italian style! As an Italian girl at heart, I know how the language and the culture can be so seductive that you wonder why anyone would ever want to be a part of any other culture in the world! Okay, yea, I'm biased . . . mi scusi! But even a contemporary opera set in ancient Scotland and given a British Victorian twist cannot dilute the essential Italian-ness of the whole thing. This production really gets the whole thing right, in showing that love and pain are really just two sides of the same coin. The actress who plays the lead of Lucia is absolutely breathtaking in her role, making you wonder how on earth anyone can possibly sing like that. She isn't just a songbird, she's a whole sky full of singing songbirds, so powerful are her vocals. The two guys who play her lover and her brother are amazing too, but next to her even they fade into the distance. I hope they release this on DVD asap!
Sometimes I think that Italian operas are really just soap operas with a lot more singing. This movie kind of proves my point, though I have to admit that it's a lot more fun than watching "General Hospital" or "All My Children". It's set in Scotland though this time they're reinvented it as a ghost story which I'm guessing some people will like and others will hate. With all the vampire-werewolf-wizard movies out lately, I think that people just are into the whole supernatural being thing. It's not at the level of "Twilight" of course (Lucia doesn't mope around like sad eyed Kristen Stewart) but it is a story about a girl who's torn between two extremes: love and hate. She loves a man from a family her family hates, so we all have heard this story before. But it's not just Romeo & Juliet. Anna Netrebko who plays Lucia can belt out those tunes like nobody's business, so I suggest you prepare to have your eardrums blown off. Hey, it's what a great singer is supposed to do: shatter glass, blow the roof, and give you tingles all over your body.
Few operas are as stirring or as heart rending as Lucia di Lammermoor. It has all the elements of a great, classic story, including a tragic heroine named Lucia who is torn between her desire to be true to her family and to be with her lover, Edgardo. Of course, since this is an opera you can expect it to be tragic throughout, but what sets it apart is the magnificent spectacle put on display by Mary Zimmerman. She really know how to stage the production so that the true spirit of the piece comes through: you aren't just watching a stylish costume drama, you're watching larger than life figures rend their souls on stage because of the folly of hatred. Even though this was originally broadcast in 2009, it feels as fresh and alive as if it were a modern story. Thanks in part to the fact that it has been slightly tweaked and presented as a Victorian ghost story, the performances really haunt you long after the final credits have rolled. It's a long movie, clocking in at almost two and a half hours, but it feels like a scant 45 minutes. Really, truly masterfully done. BRAVA!
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