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Lucia di Lammermoor at Greek National Opera Stavros Niarchos Hall

One of bel canto masterpieces, Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor returns to the Greek National Opera after 37 years, in its first co-production with the Royal Opera House. From 14 March 2018 and for eight performances, the impressive Lucia, which stirred things up in London, comes to the Greek National Opera’s Stavros Niarchos Hall in the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Foundation Centre, staged by Katie Mitchell, conducted by Giorgos Petrou and Zoe Tsokanou, and sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Lucia di Lammermoor is based on one of the most popular 19th century novels, the Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott. The work received its premiere in 1835 at Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli, and it was so successful that there’s good reason to consider that it has brought out Donizetti’s talent, despite the fact that the composer had already produced many important works before that, such as L’ elisir d’ amore, Lucrezia Borgia, Anna Bolena etc.
The opera tells the love story between Lucia and Edgardo of Ravenswood, who is utterly hated by her brother Enrico Ashton. Determined to ruin their relationship, Enrico arranges the marriage of his sister with Arturo Bucklaw. At the time of the wedding ceremony Edgardo arrives and mad with fury curses Lucia. She loses her sanity, and then murders Arturo and collapses. When Edgardo hears of his beloved one’s death he commits suicide.

Although Lucia is mostly famed for the female protagonist’s “mad scene”, it also stands out for a series of other reasons. Donizetti’s contribution to the shaping of the Romantic tenor’s special characteristics has been of key importance. The final scene for Edgardo has no precedent in the history of Italian opera and it has paved the way for Verdi’s characters. In combination with the heroine’s “mad scene”, it constitutes one of the top tragic units of the 19th century Italian opera. In fact, the choice not to have the opera completed with an impressive aria or a soprano scene, but to have Lucia’s death followed by the agony and then the suicide of Edgardo, indicates the shift from the operatic convention of the “happy ending” to the dramatic truth.

Lucia has been the first cooperation of the renowned director Katie Mitchell with the Royal Opera House in a co-production with the Greek National Opera. It premiered in spring 2016, triggering discussions in London about Mitchel’s director’s take, while a few months later it was rerun with huge success, as the first time.
Mitchell, one of the most authentic and interesting voices in European theatre, has directed works for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre in London, while since 2000 she directs operas in the greatest opera houses worldwide, such as the Royal Opera House, the Dutch National Opera, the Théâtre National de l' Opéra-Comique, the Berlin State Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Munich festival etc.

Mitchell tries to probe into the 19th century’s woman’s world and watch the story through the eyes of the central female character. As a contrasting foil to the dark, male-dominated world of the North-as conceived by Sir Walter Scott, Mitchell brings to the foreground the woman’s viewpoint and sets the entire work within the context of that era’s literature, in an atmosphere of works, like the ones of the Brontë sisters.

Mitchell in collaboration with the top British set and costume designer Vicki Mortimer, puts forward the use of a stage space, separated in two parts, which allows us to watch not only what is happening in every scene, but also the facts occuring simultaneously, throughout the story, filling thus the gaps. In other words, the performance presents us not only the story as described in the libretto, but its entirety, namely, including the facts occurring in other rooms, while the known narrative is being unfolded.

The Greek National Opera’s production of Lucia has two celebrated conductors of the younger generation, Giorgos Petrou, conductor of the Armonia Atenea - The Friends of Music Orchestra, and Zoe Toskanou, artistic director of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra.

The especially taxing title role -both in terms of vocal and acting skills- will be performed by the distinguished Greek sopranos Christina Poulitsi in the first cast and Vassiliki Karagianni in the second cast.

For more information, please visit the official site of the Greek National Opera.


Lucia di Lammermoor at Greek National Opera Stavros Niarchos Hall

14/03/2018 - 28/03/2018

Hours - Comments
14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 28 March 2018 Starts at 20.00 Greek National Opera - Stavros Niarchos Hall Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (364, Syggrou ave, 17674 Kallithea)

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