Lucia di Lammermoor, a cherished piece of the operatic repertoire, is a gem of bel canto. The piece is a masterwork affording the cast moments of vocal fireworks expressing the most intense of human emotions.
The heart and soul of the piece, our heroine, Lucia, is often described as fractured or weak from a combination of grief over the death of her mother and just general soft character.
In delving into the piece, I find no evidence of weakness of heart or mind in this strong-willed woman. In fact, her lengthy resistance to the demands of her brother and her clan, staying true to her vows and her heart against huge odds reveal a plucky and incredibly strong woman.
When Lucia understands how she’s been tricked into betraying her love and breaking her vow – that her strong will has been crushed by the demands of her community–this is the breaking point. Not allowed a moment to recover or plan and instead forced into a bridal chamber she never wanted, Lucia meets violence with violence. She defends herself, and in doing so, her mind is broken by the multitude of betrayals by her brother, her faith leader and worst of all, herself.
The tragic results are the harvest of treating women as objects to be used for political gain. She is overwhelmed by her brother’s manipulation.
Lucia’s story and her strength move us today in the twenty-first century because we witness it still in the news and around the world. The strength of women will change the world just as Lucia changes her clan forever.
These notes will also appear in the printed program book at Lyric Opera’s performances of Lucia di Lammermoor, March 7, 11, 13 & 15. Tickets start at $29, available here.
Director Shawna Lucey is making her Lyric Opera of Kansas City directorial debut with Lucia di Lammermoor. Recent directorial engagements include Tosca for The San Francisco Opera, The Pearl Fishersfor The Santa Fe Opera and The Pirates of Penzance for Skylight Music Theater. Later this season, Lucey directs Die Fledermaus for Opera Theatre of St. Louis.