Un Italiana in Scozia
Grand Théâtre de Genève
03/16/1999 - et 19*, 22, 25, 28, 30 March, 2 April 1999
Gaetano Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Mariella Devia (Lucia), Anna Steiger (Alisa), Marcello Giordani (Edgardo), Roberto Frontali (Enrico), Giorgio Surján (Raimondo), Marc Laho (Arturo), Alain Gabriel (Normanno)
Choeurs du Grand Théâtre, Orchestre de la Suisse romande, Antonello Allemandi (conductor)
Graham Vick, Marina Bianchi (director)
Sober but beautiful, these three words can translate the best last nights performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. Paul Brown’s nightly decor is set in a grate blue frame with a Scottish atmospheric background at its worst. This scenery alternates with clear nights illuminated by a big bright moon moving as the events unfold. All this gives to the scenes a misty and mysterious fragrance. At the beginning of the famous scene of madness, a grate gate opens like a diaphragm in the middle of which Lucia la matta appears in hear gown splashed with blood. The ideas are innovative, but at the same time traditional, like the costumes. Men in 18th century uniforms and Scottish chieftains in their kilts move about on the stage, and then appears Arturo to wed Lucia with his suite clad all in white, just as if they had arrived from that moon behind them. There is something of a Rosenkavalier in this Arturo, but who is not awaited by his future and fatal wife.
The star of the evening, the Italian born Mariella Devia’s interpretation was astonishing. With grate technicality she led us, after la Divina (Callas) and la Stupenda (Sutherland), through the coloratura whirls of one of the most difficult challenges of bel canto. It was not only in this scene that she showed us the quality of her art. In the first act, when she describes her vision in the park to Anna Steiger as Alisa, she was already more than convincing, maybe just a bit too much vibrato here and there. Her voice as her act translate the character she plays with the same professionalism. Male singers play a grate part in this opera, since there are only two feminine roles in this opera. Marcello Giordano (Edgardo), though he was strongly praised after the premiere, wasn’t at the best of his shape. He still managed the highest notes with skill. Roberto Frontali’s Enrico and Giorgio Surjan’s Raimondo were both of grate distinction.
In the pit, the Orchestra of Suisse romande was in the best of its shape and in grate symbiosis the conducting of Maestro Allemandi. Here again the performance was a success. The arias were followed by ovations, that is quite rare from the self-controlled and restrained Geneva audience. This is the true sign that they were extremely satisfied, so was I.