An Opera With ‘cracker’ Songs – Rockdale Opera Presents Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor

When:  From 06-Aug-11 to 14-Aug-11, at Saturdays 6th and 13th August 8 pm, Sundays 7th and 14th August 2 pm
Where:  Rockdale Town Hall, 448 Princes Highway, Rockdale NSW 2216
 

Opera buff Paulo Montoya steps behind the scenes to preview this upcoming production


Inspiring music, moving stories, forbidden love, political intrigue, dysfunctional families, deceit, insanity and murder- these are the essential ingredients of great Italian opera! Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor does not disappoint on any of these counts, and Rockdale Opera is preparing to stage this iconic work of the Italian bel canto repertoire as part of their 2011 season. It’s the story of a young Scottish girl, Lucia, who has fallen in love with her brother’s sworn enemy. She has recently lost her mother and her family’s financial, political and social position has taken a nosedive- forcing her brother, Enrico, to marry her off to a rich nobleman. When Edgardo, Lucia’s lover, discovers this, things get ugly.

  Operas composed during the bel canto era (around the first half of the 19th century) focus on the voice as the music’s primary expressive vehicle, and so demand singing that is not only beautiful and technically accomplished but imbued with dramatic purpose. The role of Lucia will be played by Wollongong-born soprano Kerry Nicholson, a past winner of the Australian National Operatic Aria Competition and a Telstra Wholesale Young Artist at Pacific Opera. Her part is regarded as one of the most vocally and dramatically demanding in the Italian repertoire. “It’s a challenge because of the extended length of the role, so it requires a lot of stamina vocally and physically. All the high notes are at the end! And with the mad scene, there are so many emotions involved but you don’t want it to become crass”, explains Nicholson.   

Even though the libretto is originally in Italian, Rockdale Opera’s practice is to perform every work in English. This has its pros and cons, as the artists are quick to point out. Daniel Sloman, playing the role of Edgardo, is an emerging tenor appearing regularly in operas, concerts and cantorial works in Australia and internationally. He emphasises that “Donizetti linked the words, each of the syllables, to the music he wrote. It’s always difficult with translations- a great deal of dramatic meaning can be lost because the words no longer gel perfectly with the music.” However, a good translation can make the story more understandable and effective without greatly obstructing the musicality of the piece.  

Behind the scenes at Rockdale Opera rehearsals

 One of the most interesting aspects of this opera is the emotional and dramatic depth of each of the main characters, which is in turn reflected in the complexity of their music. For example, unlike traditional operatic ‘villains’, Enrico expresses remorse for his behavior quite early in the proceedings, flinging him into a moral tug of war which ultimately breaks him. Baritone Raphael Hudson, who made his operatic debut as Escamillo in Carmen in 2007 and performed the same role for Rockdale Opera in 2010, has enjoyed discovering the different sides to the troubled Enrico: “The music allows you to highlight the differences in his character- there are soft passages with legato lines as well as dramatic outbursts. The words govern the intention of the musical phrases when combined with the notes.” Edgardo and Lucia also carry great psychological baggage, having both recently lost a beloved parent and now torn between their love for each other and loyalty to their families. “I think every character is filled with torment and anguish right from the very beginning. They are under a lot of emotional stress and then get caught up in very difficult external circumstances” says Sloman.

  Opinions are divided on why Lucia has become one of the most well-known and loved operas in the repertoire. Hudson sees it from a musical perspective: “There are so many cracker songs in it, so many awesome tunes! It’s a powerhouse. In many ways it’s the first Romantic opera. It’s in the bel canto era but it verges on verismo for me in some parts”. Indeed, the dramatic impetus of scores like Lucia and Bellini’s Norma paved the way for Giuseppe Verdi’s development of a new approach to the relationship between music and drama, exemplified through works like Macbeth, Rigoletto and later Otello. Sloman thinks Lucia is so powerful precisely because “it is such a great marriage between music and drama. There’s something for everyone- you get to hear great music but you also get the catharsis of going through all that drama and having your heart pulled each way as each of the scenes develop.” Few things are as powerful as the combination of emotive words with beautiful music, and Rockdale Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor promises thrilling amounts of both! –Paulo Montoya  

 Rockdale Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, opera by Gaetano Donizetti; directed by Ralph Bott and conducted by Sadaharu Muramatsu.  

 Tickets $38/$30 Book at MCA Tix 1300 306 776 or on line at:

   http://boxoffice.mca-tix.com.au/ticketing/SearchKeyword.aspx?SearchType=Keyword&Keywords=rockdale   


 Paulo Montoya is a music writer and aspiring opera director from Sydney. He was recently an observer and assistant at Opera Australia’s production of Capriccio, directed by John Cox. Paulo is also Editorial Intern at Limelight Magazine and won the 2010 Pacific Opera Young Critics Award. You can follow him on Twitter at @operarules.


















Opera buff Paulo Montoya steps behind the scenes to preview this upcoming production

Inspiring music, moving stories, prohibited love, political intrigue, dysfunctional families, deceit, insanity and murder- these are the essential ingredients of great Italian opera! Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor does not disappoint on any of these counts, and Rockdale Opera is preparing to stage this iconic work of the Italian bel canto repertoire as part of their 2011 season. It’s the story of a young Scottish girl, Lucia, who has fallen in love with her brother’s sworn enemy. She has recently lost her mother and her family’s financial, political and social position has taken a nosedive- forcing her brother, Enrico, to marry her off to a rich nobleman. When Edgardo, Lucia’s lover, discovers this, things get ugly.

 Operas composed during the bel canto era (around the first half of the 19th century) focus on the voice as the music’s primary expressive vehicle, and so demand singing that is not only beautiful and technically accomplished but imbued with dramatic purpose. The role of Lucia will be played by Wollongong-born soprano Kerry Nicholson, a past winner of the Australian National Operatic Aria Competition and a Telstra Wholesale Young Artist at Pacific Opera. Her part is regarded as one of the most vocally and dramatically demanding in the Italian repertoire. “It’s a challenge because of the extended length of the role, so it requires a lot of stamina vocally and physically. All the high notes are at the end! And with the mad scene, there are so many emotions involved but you don’t want it to become crass”, explains Nicholson.  


Behind the scenes at Rockdale Opera.

 Even though the libretto is originally in Italian, Rockdale Opera’s practice is to perform every work in English. This has its pros and cons, as the artists are quick to point out. Daniel Sloman, playing the role of Edgardo, is an emerging tenor appearing regularly in operas, concerts and cantorial works in Australia and internationally. He emphasises that “Donizetti linked the words, each of the syllables, to the music he wrote. It’s always difficult with translations- a great deal of dramatic meaning can be lost because the words no longer gel perfectly with the music.” However, a good translation can make the story more understandable and effective without greatly obstructing the musicality of the piece.  

One of the most interesting aspects of this opera is the emotional and dramatic depth of each of the main characters, which is in turn reflected in the complexity of their music. For example, unlike traditional operatic ‘villains’, Enrico expresses remorse for his behavior quite early in the proceedings, flinging him into a moral tug of war which ultimately breaks him. Baritone Raphael Hudson, who made his operatic debut as Escamillo in Carmen in 2007 and performed the same role for Rockdale Opera in 2010, has enjoyed discovering the different sides to the troubled Enrico: “The music allows you to highlight the differences in his character- there are soft passages with legato lines as well as dramatic outbursts. The words govern the intention of the musical phrases when combined with the notes.” Edgardo and Lucia also carry great psychological baggage, having both recently lost a beloved parent and now torn between their love for each other and loyalty to their families. “I think every character is filled with torment and anguish right from the very beginning. They are under a lot of emotional stress and then get caught up in very difficult external circumstances”, says Sloman.

 Opinions are divided on why Lucia has become one of the most well-known and loved operas in the repertoire. Hudson sees it from a musical perspective: “There are so many cracker songs in it, so many awesome tunes! It’s a powerhouse. In many ways it’s the first Romantic opera. It’s in the bel canto era but it verges on verismo for me in some parts”. Indeed, the dramatic impetus of scores like Lucia and Bellini’s Norma paved the way for Giuseppe Verdi’s development of a new approach to the relationship between music and drama, exemplified through works like Macbeth, Rigoletto and later Otello. Sloman thinks Lucia is so powerful precisely because “it is such a great marriage between music and drama. There’s something for everyone- you get to hear great music but you also get the catharsis of going through all that drama and having your heart pulled each way as each of the scenes develop.” Few things are as powerful as the combination of emotive words with beautiful music, and Rockdale Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor promises thrilling amounts of both! –Paulo Montoya  

Rockdale Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, opera by Gaetano Donizetti; directed by Ralph Bott and conducted by Sadaharu Muramatsu.

 Tickets $38/$30 Book at MCA Tix 1300 306 776 or on line at:

  http://boxoffice.mca-tix.com.au/ticketing/SearchKeyword.aspx?SearchType=Keyword&Keywords=rockdale 


 



 



 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Paulo Montoya is a music writer and aspiring opera director from Sydney. He was recently an observer and assistant at Opera Australia’s production of Capriccio, directed by John Cox. Paulo is also Editorial Intern at Limelight Magazine and won the 2010 Pacific Opera Young Critics Award. You can follow him on Twitter at @operarules.



















































 
Posted on August 1, 2011 @ 4.21
 

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