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Truly, madly, terrific – Lisette Oropesa in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House

09 November, 2017 — By Sebastian Taylor

Rachael Lloyd as Alisa, left, and Lisette Oropesa as Lucia. PHOTO: © ROH/Stephen Cummiskey

Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa does a terrific mad scheme in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House.

At times she’s wistfully exquisite, singing with delicacy rather than menace; at other’s, she’s sobbingly lost in her memories, singing with anxiety. Dressed in her blood-stained wedding dress, she’s ever-more distracted in her descent into madness.

It’s a Katie Mitchell production so it’s no surprise it’s given a strongly feminist slant. Men are the villains, that’s for sure.

The production uses the artifice of splitting the auditorium into two distinct halves – one where the singing happens, the other where scenes are acted out in silence. So, before the mad scene, we see Lucia engage in a bit of BDSM with the husband she’s been forced to marry. Then, once he’s tied up, she kills him with furious intent. We also get to see Lucia having her miscarriage, blood everywhere, again a man to blame.

Oropesa gets great support from tenor Charles Castronovo as her luckless lover and Christopher Maltman as her bullying brother.

Italian conductor Michele Mariotti has a sure touch in delivering the Donizetti score.

• Lucia di Lammermoor is at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on November 11, 15, 20, 24 and 27; 7.30pm, 020 7304 4000, www.roh.org.uk

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