Lucia di Lammermoor

OQ Lucia di Lammermoor Jessica Pratt photo by Murray SummervilleComposed in 1835 by Gaetano Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor is a three-act opera based on Walter Scott’s 1819 Scottish novel, The Bride of Lammermoor.

Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian libretto for the haunting, dramatic tragedy.  The surtitles in English are of crucial assistance to non-Italian speakers, such as myself.

The original story moves across various settings which revolve around the interior and exterior of a Scottish castle. This includes lavish apartments, a fountain, a graveyard and grandly dressed characters.

This production, directed by Patrick Nolan utilised a pared back approach. There were no scene changes. The setting remained constant: a darkened stage comprised primarily of a large platform with steps. The audience had to imagine the fountain, the churchyard and the bridal chambers being referred to in operatic song.

The costumes were also minimalist, even subtly futuristic. Excepting Lucia, the characters were clad in dull, dark, mainly grey robes.

This choice of costumes and staging heavily emphasised that this opera was a dark tragedy with menacing elements. However, it did make differentiating between the male protagonists very difficult, at least for me.

Obviously, there were different male voice ranges. The shared denominators were incredible vocal strength and formidable power of delivery. Their impressive bios outline their prestigious training and performance histories.

Central to the success of this production was Jessica Pratt as Lucia. Her presence alone dominated the theatre and her divine soprano voice and incredible range is beyond words of description.

The renowned ‘mad scene’ when she appears in a blood-stained bridal gown was both mesmerising and petrifying. Pratt had the entire audience in a state of prolonged breath holding. When she fell to the ground, the intense silence was replaced by rapturous applause.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Richard Mills. The acoustics in the Concert Hall at Queensland Performing Arts Centre are a credit to the venue and it’s designers. The production, unsurprisingly, received a standing ovation.

Lucia di Lammermoor
Concert Hall – QPAC, Cultural Precinct, South Bank (Brisbane)
Performance: Saturday 20 April 2024
Information and Bookings:

Image: Jessica Pratt in Lucia di Lammermoor – photo by Murray Summerville

Review: Michele-Rose Boylan