The experience of the Met in H.D.

The Met H.D. production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, shown originally at Cinema 9 on Feb. 7, was by far the most highly integrated production on any of the other operas that they have presented so far this year. In particular, Mary Zimmerman, who produced the opera, gets a great deal of credit for the overall coherence of the production, from the set to the costumes to the actual staging. I'm looking forward to her production of La Sonnambula, because if it is anywhere near her conception for Lucia, it will be a genuine treat.

As to the singers: the replacement of the original tenor in the cast because he was ill; he was replaced by the Polish tenor, Piotr Beczala, already at the Met in the production of Eugene Onegin. He sang with true Italian flare, and its added do at with Enico at the opening of the third act was so well sung by the two that it more than justified placing it back into the score. Bravo to him for an acting and singing job of great stature.

Anna Netrebko, the Lucia, proved herself to be in the grand tradition, and deciding to leave some of the added top notes in which other sopranos have reveled, choosing instead to use these very high notes only once or twice during the evening, to the betterment of the story and the music. Never once was her performance purely a musical tour de force, and she is a gifted actress, as her entire performance demonstrated. She is certainly one of the top Lucias of the new century, and her double gifted acting and singing was gratefully received by yours truly, who has a comparable performance the first Los Angeles performance of Joan Sutherland in the title role of Lucia. Netrebko also to be commended for her complete mastery of Italianate singing.

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