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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2015
Although staging an opera outside the time period for which it was originally composed can work very well without causing any annoyance, this is not the case with this production, chiefly due to two very silly and unnecessary innovations. One of these was the taking of photographs at the wedding and the other was the administering of an injection into Lucia's arm to calm her down, neither of which procedures had been invented in the century earlier period intended by Donizetti. Ridiculous innovations such as this stick out like a sore thumb and ruin even the best of productions simply because they make such a deep impression on the mind. It's as if someone from the New York Times has been sent to take a photograph to be published in the next day's edition.

It also needs to be realised that this work was composed by Donizetti as a top grade, bel canto work requiring matchless bel canto singing, which we don't get here. Although Anna Netbreko performs well in the lead role of Lucia, she does so in her own style rather than in the true bel canto style, which is very disappointing for those of us who have special enthusiasm for that style. We may not be musical experts, but we listen to so much opera that we become experienced in knowing how things should be done. It's almost as if Ms Nebreko has taken over, determined to do things her way, never mind the rest. It's almost as if she's not relaxed enough and is trying to overdo things.

For these reasons, two stars have gone already. Sadly, if the lead role is 'de-belcanto-ised', the whole work is ruined no matter how good either the other performers or the orchestration are. Piotr Beczala is certainly of the best in the role of Edgardo, but we don't have the right chemistry between him and Anna Netrebko (Luici). In fact, all the other singers are top quality as is the orchestration. It's a high quality Blu-Ray recording with excellent sound quality, a fact which inevitably enhances the weak points as well as the strong ones and yet another reason for getting the bel canto right. Happily, some viewers will not mind the flash photography and the lack of bona fide bel canto, but I certainly do, which means a generous three stars from me and one star for him and I don't blame him for that. Deary me!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 August 2013
Despite the negative reviews I found this production both enjoyable and very well sung. Okay the "photographer' sequence is rather ill judged but it sure didn't spoil the overall experience for me as much as it has for others. Having sat through so many really weak and contrived "concept" performances I would have been more than happy to have seen this version on stage. I also purchased it for a bargain price - which always helps!
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on 12 January 2015
I read the other five star reviews and felt this was a must have performance. I sometimes find the Met sets out to impress and overdoes it, by contrast this is one of the finest performances of Lucia that I have ever seen and the Met delivers a memorable performance. Netrebko combines the singing prowess of Sutherland and the acting skills of Callas. Roland Villazon was due to sing Edgardo but was taken ill. A tenor unknown to me Pyotyr Beczala stepped in and was superb. All the singers delivered a stunning performance. The conductor and orchestra also delivered a 5* performance. The set, although 19th century in style, worked well. The use of camera was handled well. This is not Bel Canto, it is Belissima Canto.
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on 30 August 2014
Netrebko is astounding .Picture quality and sound quality excellent.Especially good orchestra balance.
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on 3 June 2013
Being not so much of a `less is more-opera' kind of guy, (actually I am a `less is bore-opera' kind of guy), I quite liked this lavish Lucia and was soon won over by the believable stage direction. The production, by Mary Zimmerman, was broadcasted in HD and has now been put on disc. Originally a theatre director, Zimmerman often turns to opera. She placed the action of the Scottish family feud in the second half of the 19th century, some 200 years on from the libretto's era. The opening scene with the hunters is given and lit not unlike a crime series, which works. The second scene, with Lucia's first appearance, has the ominous forest unchanged (by the way, bravo for Mariko Anraku on the harp!). The fountain structure sits in a dilapidated corner. It's all Wuthering Heights, with a `materialized' ghost, rather than one just sung about. This means a more faithful approach to Sir Walter Scott's novel, as Zimmerman explains in the short but informative extras on the disc. She makes an interesting remark about the ghost taking revenge on Edgardo through Lucia: A second ghost, at the opera's end, is Lucia's spirit. In an act of ambiguity she ensures Edgardo uses his knife on himself, making her an instrument of the family feud as well as claiming him for herself in the hereafter. The scene with Enrico, whose machinations of course lead to his sister's demise, is full of tension, possibly with a hint of the sexual (the incestuous touch is experiencing a success tour among current opera productions, e. g. in Manon Lescaut). The sextet with all the diverging emotions is played out while a photographer is trying to arrange a family portrait. It should have bothered me but it simply didn't; the photograph symbolizes progress which the family, clinging to its petty feud, cannot be part of. The huge staircase on which the Mad Scene was played out could have been backed by a more naturalistic decor, in line with the rest of the production.
Naturally, the MET wields casts consisting of the world's best singers, and Lucia's is no exception. Anna Netrebko plays her effete character well. She is already slightly unhinged during the Fountain Scene. When Enrico produces the forged letter about Edgardo's infidelity she snaps right away, and from then on her eyes lose any vitality they might have radiated before. Despite her admirable account of the difficult part, the Russian soprano appears to have lost some of the vocal agility from her days as Glinka's Ludmila. And here I cannot refrain from paying homage to Dame Joan Sutherland's Lucia, in my book still unchallenged. Do I sound older than my 48 years in regretting not having been present at her historical 1959 Covent Garden debut? The men surrounding Netrebko are no less than magnificent: The ardent Piotr Beczala (replacing Rolando Villazón at short notice as Edgardo) sung mellifluously, as did Ildar Abdrazakov, who tuned down his forceful bass to suit the careful Raimondo. Mariusz Kwiecien, as the make-things-happen Enrico, boasts a flexible baritone voice and uses it to colour the vehement lines of his Lord Ashton. The voices blend beautifully together too, conductor Marco Armiliato brings out all the subtleties of Donizetti's lovely score, and for once the camerawork leaves nothing to be desired, capturing all the emotions from the most ideal angle(s). On the Blu-ray disc: The sound is as one might expect from this product. The picture comes with some (very) sparse hazy shots, as if someone forgot to brush these up, but to me this feels negligible. Honestly, this is a work of art and a labour of love we should feel happy about - and that at a little over twelve quid.
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on 1 October 2015
Excellent quality!
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on 2 June 2013
This is a perfectly good production. It has its weak points (some of the directorial gimmicks distract from the action, but not all that badly; some of the supporting roles could have a bit more oomph) but on the whole this is a slick and fairly middle of the road production. Nothing is likely to offend unless you are the sort of opera bore who attends operas with the sole intent of comparing them with an (in reality imaginary) golden age from some time in the past. Ultimately, I think the production could have done with a bit more fizz and vim. Like most of Donizetti's work, the music is glorious and the plot is daft, but that is no reason to apologise for the silliness of the plot by damping down the ardour. If you want a blu ray of Lucia in your collection (and at the time of writing this it's at a reasonable price) I would say get this without qualms.
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on 19 February 2014
Netrebko is at the top. Beczala that was called to sobstitute Villanzon was giving an unespected good performance, Recomanded .
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on 5 February 2016
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on 5 December 2014
This is an wonderful production from the Met with excellent singing and beautiful orchestral playing. It's good to see the outstanding Anna Netrebko in a sensible production.
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