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Review: 'Lucia di Lammermoor'

Art Snob Blog

Anchorage Opera’s production of “Lucia di Lammermoor” has a handsome kind of plainness. The dress is agreeably contemporary, more or less. Yoshinori Tanokura’s sets use few props but make the most of projections with images of bare trees, interiors and cemeteries illuminating the curved back wall. The stage direction, by Kristine McIntyre, is straight-forward and mostly credible.

In the title role, Amanda Hall lived up to her billing as a solid Lucia. Her delivery of the long, acrobatic mad scene, on which the part and the whole evening hinges, mastered both the high notes and flourishes, on pitch and convincingly paced both musically and dramatically.

Scott Ramsay, who played Lucia’s secret and doomed lover Edgardo, sang securely in his middle range but sounded raw up top on Friday night. He compensated somewhat with emotion, but there were more than a few spots where one wished for a more clarion sound. Perhaps it was due to the oncoming winter weather, but I seem to recall he sounded better last year in “Mrs. President.” 

Jonathan Beyer made a marvelous Enrico. He has a clear, authoritative baritone, strong in both the upper registers and in the cellar of the score. His confrontation with his sister, the soon-to-be murderously insane bride, provided a true high point to the show. He delivered the characters numerous misrepresentations so suavely that one could easily see how the other characters fell for them.

Unheralded Kirk Dougherty was a pleasant surprise. He delivered a young and dashing Arturo and had a fine vocal presence in his brief solo. 

Local voices included competent production in short roles by Lisa Willis as Alisa and Resty Yongco as Normanno. Martin Eldred’s Raimondo seemed unsettled, wobbly and weak at some points, on target and under control at other spots. 

The orchestra sounded quite good, though the conducting of Tyson Deaton seemed perfunctory on opening night. The chorus was on the small side, but had sufficient oomph for the wedding and mad scenes. The sextet, with singers in a formal line at the front of the stage, was textbook.

Tanokura and McIntyre deserve special credit for the success of the show. The simple stage designs, with lighting by Lauren MacKenzie Miller, are nonetheless intriguing, sometimes shifting in front of our eyes. And the action, while it rarely fell out of sync with the music, kept things from getting static. 

The Ravenwood scene is cut from this production, which runs three hours with two intermissions. Anchorage soprano Jane Drebert will take over the title role on the Sunday performance.

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR will be presented at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Discovery Theatre. Tickets are available at centertix.net.

Reach Mike Dunham at mdunham@adn.com or 257-4332.

 


Mike Dunham
Anchorage