In the world of opera, no operatic venue bespeaks consistent excellence of quality and elegance of performance does that of the ancestral home of the wealthy Christie family, Glyndebourne, today a mecca for serious opera lovers. I mention this because it has been a summer opera home, much like Green Mountain Opera Festival, now in its fifth year.
Glyndebourne is noteworthy for elegant picnics, which is a one thing that is absent from Green Mountain Opera Festival and on the strength of the last two years, I'm beginning to think that we are capable of producing world-class opera productions that need not depend on opera singers and of the first magnitude. There was no single performance in GMOF's last two productions that would not have graced any operatic stage in the world..
This year's production, Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor", advanced beyond the excellences of last year's "The Marriage of Figaro", which was the finest production of that opera this reviewer has ever seen, and remarkable for the total unity of conception which started from the terrific sets designed and executed by Warren, Vt., resident, Gary Eckhart. I chanced upon him in the lobby prior to Friday night's opening performance of Lucia and told him once again how excellent the production of Marriage had been. He told me if I thought that was true of last year's production, I should, in effect, hold onto my hat, because I was due for some really pleasant surprises.
He was more than correct. What he had devised were sets which suggested the various scenes called for in the opera libretto.
They were like huge steles in a graveyard, and in the production they were quickly, and I do mean quickly, put into place by the members of the chorus, who also performed the function of the curtain sometimes in order to block the audience's view of the chorus members' activities. The fluidity that was gained by using the curtain only to close the end of the first act and the end of the opera itself was immeasurable, and had a notable positive Impact on the forward motion of the libretto.