which opened the 2007-2008 Metropolitan Opera season has not been received with universal enthusiasm by the opera going public.
There are aspects of it which are slightly troubling, and certain inconsistencies with the libretto.
The same thing happened to John Relyea in Raimondo's aria in Act III, Scene 2, and it is difficult to see what his alternative was, since he was getting next to no response from the chorus to the shocking events he was relating.
Zimmerman does appear to have paid significant attention to the chorus during the Sextet in Act II, Scene 2, where they have the function of acting as gossips, observing what should be a tense dramatic situation following the sudden entrance of Edgardo after Lucia has signed her marriage contract with Arturo.
Unfortunately, tension is lacking from this scene owing to some very distracting staging.
Although I do think having a photographer at the wedding is an idea which could have worked very well, the decision to use it during the sextet was misguided.He was assisted by some very sympathetic and subtle conducing from Joseph Colaneri who ensured Filianoti did not have to linger any longer than necessary outside of his comfort zone.Indeed, Colaneri gave great support to the whole cast in what is inevitably a voice-led opera, allowing them the freedom they needed to create effects consistent with the bel canto style.Having been dramatically underwhelming in Act I, Dessay grew in stature during Act II and proved herself to be a strong actress during the duet with Enrico and the wedding scene.But nothing had prepared me for the impact she made in the mad scene.The run on the repetition of 'da' tuoi nemici' was very expressive, accompanied by a physical spasm which made it a totally convincing manifestation of her extreme mental state.Countless examples of this abounded throughout the scene, but the top B flat she let out as a cry of pain when she received a shot in the arm from the doctor was particularly deeply affecting, and the rage and victimisation she conveyed through the embellished second verse of 'spargi d'amaro pianto' in response to this was almost painful to watch, so thrillingly immediate did the drama seem.Zimmerman has staged it so that at his first reference to having to leave, Edgardo gives Lucia a quick peck on the cheek and attempts a hasty exit.The rest of the duet is played out as Lucia attempting to delay his departure for as long as possible, extracting more kisses and promises of devotion, catching his hand every time Edgardo tries to go.The look of the whole production, with the exception of the Wolf's Crag scene where the set is rather perfunctory, is fantastic.Act I, Scene 2 in particular, the fountain in the woods, has a set of breathtaking realism, with snow falling throughout the harp solo, and some excellent lighting design to show dawn breaking and the sun gradually rising throughout the love duet.