Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor opera to libretto by Salvadore Cammarano. Directed 2016 by Katie Mitchell at the Royal Opera House. Stars Diana Damrau (Lucia), Charles Castronovo (Edgardo), Ludovic Tézier (Enrico), Taylor Stayton (Arturo), Kwangchul Youn (Raimondo), Rachael Lloyd (Alisa), and Peter Hoare (Normanno). Daniel Oren conducts the Orchestra (Associate Concert Master Ania Safonova) and Chorus of the Royal Opera House (Chorus Director Renato Balsadonna). Designs by Vicki Mortimer; lighting design by Jon Clark; Movement Director and Associate Director Joseph Alford; Fight Directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown. Directed for screen by Margaret Williams. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 Dobly Digital sound. Grade: NA
The team of Mitchell, Mortimer, and Clark that did the downstairs/upstairs split stage in Written on Skin now brings you a split-stage version of Lammermore with, per Mitchell, a "strong feminist agenda." Mark Mandel, writing in the March 2018 Opera News (pages 53-54) says "Some will find this Lucia too bloody or too busy, but [for Mandel] it goes beyond even Callas and Sutherland . . . in bringing Lucia to dramatic life." Well, with that expert seal of approval, this Lucia has just shot to the top of my next buy list. But, hold your horses, Mark Pullinger, writing for the January 2018 Gramophone (pages 86-87) notes that the Mitchell approach to this work got both boos and applause on opening night. Pullinger says the split screen was frequently annoying in the opera house, but works better on screen with Margaret Williams "cutting between shots lke a TV drama." Well, whatever you think about Mitchell's update, there's little doubt about the worthiness of the singing cast and the orchestra---so this should be a good addition to your bel canto library to go along with the A+ traditional version we have from the Met with Netrebko in the role of Lucia.
Here are two helpful YouTube clips about this production: