Review: L.A. Opera facilities a Donizetti heroine in a troubled U.S.

Company is the required phrase that all the time comes up with “Lucia di Lammermoor,” which opened Los Angeles Opera’s new season on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Saturday evening. This time in a startling new manufacturing up to date to the present-day disenfranchised Rust Belt America.

There has by no means been the slightest doubt about whose aspect we’re on within the almost two centuries since Donizetti’s hottest opera, written in 1835, has been constantly on the lyric stage. Pressured right into a loveless political marriage, Lucia merely kills her undesirable groom on their nuptial mattress and goes mad.

It’s, in fact, not easy, in any respect. Should madness be the excuse for company? Can we pity Lucia as a result of, effectively, she’s a dreamy, weak lady and has one of the vital exquisitely transporting mad scenes in an artwork kind that has made an business of manufacturing mad scenes for girls? Is company merely singing like a chook, with mind-bending coloratura?

Clearly not. The best Lucia on file is Maria Callas, who was not a freak of nature however a pressure of nature. Essentially the most persuasive, in addition to brilliantly sung, efficiency of “Lucia” I ever witnessed was Beverly Sills’. The good American soprano made it clear that she was the sane one, a pawn in a sick patriarchal society. Her mad scene proved a transcendental quarter-hour of lucidity, an illumination of the world because it was meant to be.

In Simon Stone’s new manufacturing — a co-production between L.A. Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, which first introduced in Could — an oxycodone-addicted Lucia shares a home along with her older, no-good brother, Enrico. She is saved from an tried rape by a man who works within the native comfort retailer and is her brother’s enemy, Edgardo. They immediately fall in love.

It’s a nasty, decaying small city, filled with indignant individuals. They don’t precisely appear to be the Jan. 6 rioters, however they rile simply sufficient that you simply get the purpose. The automobiles and pickup vans are outdated (when have you ever final seen a Pinto?). The pawnshop is open 24/7.

Though Netflix describes, “The Dig,” the function that Stone directed final 12 months for the location, as “understated,” the Australian director who lives in Vienna is something however that in opera. He exposes the poisonous underbelly of recent society, be it Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” or Kaija Saariaho’s distinctive newest opera, “Innocence,” regarding a college mass capturing.

The Lucia updating doesn’t all the time work. The parallels between the mores of the nineteenth century and people of our period are hardly actual. The final half century of feminism has brought about appreciable pondering and rethinking about interpretations and implications of “Lucia.” Many productions over the past three a long time have been been directed by ladies, together with a very efficient one by Katie Mitchell at Royal Opera that’s now on video.

Two earlier L.A. Opera productions have been by the German actress Marthe Keller and most lately, in 2014, by Elkhanah Pulitzer, the director of the brand new John Adams opera “Antony and Cleopatra” in San Francisco. Martin Bernheimer dubbed the corporate’s first “Lucia” in 1993, directed by Andrei Serban on a wasteland of concrete slabs, “Our Lady of the Petrified Dung Heap.”

We’ve come a great distance. However not all the way in which. The opera’s authentic depressingly gloomy Scottish setting, the place Lucia is compelled into a wedding for monetary and political causes, nearly seems to be good in contrast with what Stone gives. Within the nineteenth century, Lucia had no choices for company. On this new manufacturing, you surprise why she lets her brother pressure her hand. Why don’t she and Edgardo simply hop into his pickup and take off. Why? As a result of she’s on oxycodone, he’s off to hitch the Military and Enrico exhibits her doctored social media footage of an untrue Edgardo.

This then turns into a “Lucia” meant not for pity however outrage. Reasonably than bemoaning the mores of the British empire a few centuries in the past, Stone exhibits a perturbed image of America simply when the U.Ok. is momentarily trying admirable, collective in its mourning the demise of Queen Elizabeth II.

Nonetheless, it’s a hanging manufacturing, probably the most theatrically participating that L.A. Opera has mounted in a while, and likewise with probably the most constantly wonderful forged, the excellence being in each the singing and the appearing.

The motion takes place on a revolving set, regularly altering perspective. A video display screen above Lizzie Clachan’s reasonable set reveals dwell pictures of the singers, typically close-ups of them onstage, typically in rooms or locations not seen onstage.

Stone is definitely glad by his visible creativeness. A decrepit drive-in movie show screens a 1947 noir spoof, “My Favorite Brunette,” for seemingly no different purpose, presumably, than that Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour get locked up in a sanitarium. At its worst, the disconnect between the outdated libretto and the updating (the translations on the projected titles can also be up to date to higher conform with the manufacturing) brought about viewers laughs within the flawed locations.

The singers want a powerful presence all through to take their very own company in relation to the viewers’s divided attentions. All however one within the forged are L.A. Opera veterans and/or alumni of its Domingo-Colburn-Stein Younger Artists Program. All however one singer is American. What’s new is that Saturday marked the primary efficiency of Lina González-Granados’ in her new position as L.A. Opera resident conductor, and L.A. Opera refrain’ first efficiency below its new director, Jeremy Frank.

Amanda Woodbury’s is a hardened Lucia with a candy, full, radiant voice. She does little or no to point out off Donizetti’s coloratura, however fairly all flows from her as if with out effort. She sings her mad scene, replete with the otherworldly glass harmonica fairly than the extra common flute, in what seems to be a narcotic fog fairly than insanity. She gives an arresting cadenza, however yet one more studied than instinctive.

The affect of the scene, although, is additional lessened by displaying what’s occurring in her thoughts on prerecorded video. As Lucia wanders in her blood-soaked white wedding ceremony robe like somebody out of a horror movie, we see her fortunately with Edgardo, dutifully illustrating what each word she reveals of her creativeness.

Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz is an ardent Edgardo, intense onstage and vibrantly sung. The foremost debut is that of Alexander Birch Elliott, who’s Enrico because the drunken lout of your nightmares. The commanding presence and exacting singing of Eric Owens, the chaplain Raimondo who tries to convey a way of purpose to the group, is luxurious casting. Anthony León, Madeleine Lyon and Anthony Ciaramitaro, within the small roles of the troublemaker Normanno, Lucia’s good friend Alisa and the woe-begotten bridegroom Arturo, all be sure that their smaller roles matter.

González-Granados appears to have received over the orchestra, which performed with suave magnificence. However her reference to the stage was, at this primary efficiency, uneven. Sluggish tempos and a normal sense of cautiousness resulted in a scarcity of dramatic propulsion.

For its half, the refrain sounded on edge, however acted disconcertingly on the cash, as if effectively practiced in igniting fears of nationwide unrest in a rustic the place a way of lack of company could possibly be reaching the disaster level.

‘Lucia di Lammermoor’

The place: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 S. Grand Ave., L.A.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sept. 28; 2 p.m. Oct. 2 and 9. (Liv Redpath is Lucia Sept. 28-Oct. 9)

Tickets: $20-$324

Information: (213) 972-8001 or

Operating time: 3 hours, 20 minutes