A stellar Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Massimo, protagonists Elena Mosuc and Nadine Sierra, conductor Frizza debuts the opera. Tomorrow evening the premiere, today at 6.30 pm the dress rehearsal in favour of Ail.

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Two opera stars for Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which makes its debut at the Teatro Massimo tomorrow, Wednesday 30 March at 8.30 p.m., directed by Gilbert Deflo (today at 6.30 p.m. the dress rehearsal in favour of Ail). They are the Romanian Elena Mosuc and the American of Portuguese and Puerto Rican descent Nadine Sierra, one in the first cast, the other in the second cast, both of great calibre. Elena Mosuc has a huge career all over the world behind her and arrives in Palermo for Lucia, her workhorse. Nadine Sierra, contended by all the international theatres, is a rising star who sings this role in Italy for the first time, after Rigoletto at La Scala. And Riccardo Frizza, who is on the podium, also makes his Lucia debut, just as Giorgio Berrugi is in the role of Edgardo for the first time. The Lucia di Lammermoor of excellent debuts. Sets and costumes by William Orlandi, lights by Roberto Venturi, choreography by Giuseppe Bonanno, Orchestra, Chorus and Corps de Ballet of the Teatro Massimo (Chorus Master Piero Monti). Staging by the Teatro Massimo in co-production with the Teatro delle Muse in Ancona.

But there is another reason for the exceptionality of this production of the opera, which Donizetti wrote in just five weeks and which was first performed in 1835: it is the use of the harmonica a bicchieri (or glasharmonika) – an instrument with a hypnotic timbre that is very rarely used and was once said to cause nervous breakdowns in those who played it – in the protagonist’s scene of madness. Lucia goes mad after killing Arturo, the man she was forced to marry at the behest of her brother. She loves Edgardo, despite the fact that their families are torn by an ancient hatred. Donizetti chose to accompany the famous madness scene with the harmonica in order to render the arcane ‘celestial harmony’ heard by Lucia, but also to suggest to the listeners the connection with psychic illness. Playing it, Sascha Reckert. In most productions, the instrument is replaced by the flute.

Lucia was the opera that sanctioned the artistic partnership between Gaetano Donizetti and librettist Salvatore Cammarano. Already from the first staging, there was enthusiastic acclaim thanks also to the great performers. In the role of Edgardo, tenor Gilbert Duprez, who went down in history as the inventor of the ‘do di petto’.

“The subject is taken from Walter Scott’s Gothic novel The Bride of Lammermoor, who set his novel in 1689 Scotland. Its fame also echoed in literary circles, so much so that it was mentioned in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Director Gilbert Deflo places it in the era of its creation, the 19th century. ‘The cycle of hatred and revenge,’ the director explains, ‘is a recurring theme in 19th century melodrama, representing its eternal return. The fatal effects that the male world exerts on the female soul are emblematically embodied in the figure of Lucia, who responds to this with the only antidote at her disposal: the abandonment of body and soul. By setting Lucia di Lammermoor in the era of its creation, I wanted to bring this madness to life in an authentic way, to transform the illusory fiction of the opera into an absolutely real event’.