A Donizetti's absolute masterpiece, based on Salvatore Cammarano's libretto and taken from the novel “The Bride of Lammermoor” by Walter Scott, a frequent author used by opera subjects. This opera is so famous to be quoted by writers in novels such as Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary and it is therefore become a point of reference for opera seria of the the whole century. The first debut took place in Naples on the 26th September 1835 and in 1837 it inaugurated the summer season at Teatro Reale dell'Opera of Rome, located in the archeological and historical structure of the Baths of Caracalla. Lucia of Lammermoor wasn't the first great success by Donizetti in this genre: Anna Bolena (1830) and Lucrezia Borgia (1833) had already been successful. However, Lucia of Lammermoor is still part of the most common repertoire. To be noticed is the particular destiny which connects Donizetti to the theme of many of his operas: in fact, after having described and told about folly, he died at the age of 51 in Bergamo, his hometown, in a state of insanity.
Synopsis Lucia di Lammermoor
In a park near Lammermoor Castle, Lord Henry Ashton of Lammermoor's retainers prepare to search for an unknown trespasser. The captain of the guard, Normanno, remains behind to greet Henry, who tells him about his sister Lucy's rejection of Lord Arthur. The girl's old tutor Raimondo suggests that the girl is distracted by the pain caused by her mother's death but Normanno reveals that Lucia has been discovered to have secret meetings with a hunter. He reckons the hunter is Edgard of Ravenswood. Henry is furious and when the suspects are confirmed he wants to take revenge. At a fountain near her mother's tomb, Lucy, scared of her brother, waits for Edgard. She tells her confidante Alisa the tale of a maiden's ghost that haunts the fountain and has warned her about a tragic end to her love for Edgard. However, Lucy can't restrain her love and when Edgard arrives he tells her he must go to France on a mission but he wants to reconcile himself with her brother so they can get married. Lucia, knowing her brother will not agree, begs Edgard not to reveal about their love and in spite of his feelings, he agrees. The lovers say goodbyes.
At Lammermoor Castle, Henry plots with Normanno to force Lucy to marry Arthur. As the captain leaves, Lucy enters and her brother shows her a forged letter, supposedly from Edgard, where he proves himself unfaithful. Lucy is destroyed and Henry insists on her marrying at once to save the family fortunes. Also Raimondo urges her to get married, asking her to respect the family's desperate situation and reminding her there are heavenly rewards for earthly sacrifices. In the great hall of Lammermoor, as guests hail the union of two important families, Arthur pledges to restore the Ashtons' prestige. As soon as the girl enters and is forced to sign the marriage contract, Edgard bursts in. Returning earlier than expected, he has learned of the wedding and come to claim his bride. Raimondo commands the rivals to put up their swords. Seeing Lucy's signature on the contract, Edgard curses her and rushes out. Lucy collapses.
As a storm rages, Edgard sits in a chamber at the foot of Wolf's Crag tower. Henry rides there to confront him. They agree to meet at dawn among the tombs of the Ravenswoods to fight a duel. Raimondo enters the remaining celebrations of the wedding to announce that Lucy has stabbed and killed Arthur in the bridal chamber. She has gone mad and doesn't recall what has happened and she imagines herself being married to Edgard. When Henry rushes in, he is silenced by the sight of her condition. Believing herself in heaven, Lucia falls dying. Edgard, last of the Ravenswoods, laments Lucia's supposed betrayal and awaits his duel with Henry, which he hopes will end his own life. Guests leaving Lammermoor Castle tell Edgard about Lucy and wanting to reconcile with her in heaven, Edgard stabs himself and dies.