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Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Natalie Dessay (Lucia), Piotr Beczala (Edgardo), Vladislav Sulimsky (Enrico), Dmitry Voropaev (Arturo), Ilya Bannik (Raimondo), Zhanna Dombrovskaya (Alisa), Sergei Skorokhodov (Normanno), Orchestra and Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev (Conductor)
Recording: The Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia (September 12-16, 2010) – 131’ 05
Mariinsky #MAR 0512 – Booklet in Russian, English, French and German; libretto in Italian and English

Natalie Dessay created quite the sensation this year at The Met in Mary Zimmerman’s returning production of Lucia di Lammermoor. The spry Dessay, well suited for lighter roles (such as Zerbinetta and Marie), has also proven success in works of a more tragic nature. Mariinsky satisfyingly captures her credible portrayal as the doomed Lucia from Gaetano Donizetti’s best known opera.

Not vocally weighted as Callas or Sutherland, Dessay’s full-bodied voice shines with a distinctly youthful brightness, making her a quintessential Scottish heroine. In trademark fashion, Natalie Dessay envelopes Lucia’s inner feelings with sincere passion and expressive fragility that unfolds as the opera progresses. But she’s undoubtedly at her best during The Mad Scene, adding heightened dramatic underpinnings when accompanied by a glass harmonica. The scene’s cavatina, though deliberately slow in tempo, hits us with mesmerizing effect. Soon to follow is Dessay’s rendition of “Spargi d’amaro pianto” featuring a splendid cadenza of coloratura fireworks that ends when she hits the final E-flat in assured fashion.

Piotr Beczala’s crystalline tenor voice nicely compliments that of Dessay while Vladislav Sulimsky’s Enrico carries a steely edge alongside a pontifical interpretation of Raimondo, sung by Ilya Bannik and the pleasingly pristine quality of Dmitry Voropaev’s Arturo.

Highly regarded Valery Gergiev does an exceptional job in conducting Donizetti’s score, maintaining a respectful balance between orchestra, principals and chorus members. One senses an influx of broodiness due to a predominance of Russian influences, making this a well-grounded recording, a nice artistic dimension for those fans relishing Donizetti. A five-star.

Christie Grimstad




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