|Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor: Complete Opera (with full libretto and translation)
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This Lucia was recorded in 1970, when Beverly Sills was at the peak of her vocal and dramatic powers. She had been singing the role of Lucia on stage for six years, and she knew the character. Here is a manic-depressive who is slightly crazy from the start, and Sills's embellishments to the vocal line (and there are tons of them; hardly a line is left as written), mostly composed especially for her, are always at the service of the drama. She is a far cry from the chirpy Pons and Peters (and even Sutherland, whose just-plain-singing of the role is unmatchable, but who was never all that interested in building character) and comes closer to Callas, but without the great Greek soprano's huge palette of colors or, for that matter, vocal limitations. Sills is gloriously fluent in the coloratura, the high notes are impeccable, and her reading of the words is truly involved and involving. Carlo Bergonzi has everything as Edgardo, while Piero Cappuccilli's Enrico is snarling and cruel. Schippers leads a very tight, exciting, complete performance, and for the first (and only) time on CD, the glass harmonica Donizetti asked for is used in the Mad Scene. This is a must for lovers of great singing. --Robert Levine
- A Masterpiece Of Opera: Undoubtedly The Greatest Recording
Why Lucia Di Lammermoor is great opera:
Historic: Gaetano Donizetti's most famous opera, Lucia Di Lammermoor, stands as a monument on to itself. Donizetti composed numerous operas, many of them great, and he was the most prolific composer in the early 19th century. He composed operas within weeks, besides symphonies and orchestral pieces that are not well known and newly discovered treasures. Donizetti was inspired by Sir Walter Scott's novel "The Bride Of Lammermoor." The works of Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe, Rob Roy) were the most popular rage at the time in Europe. The Bride Of Lammermoor was based on a true account of a murder that took place in Scotland in 1669. The Viscount Fair was the most prominent man in the countryside society of property-owning lords. His daughter Janet Dalrymple was forced into a marrige of convenience (to further the Viscount's status and his need for money) with the wealthy David Dunbar. But Janet was already engaged to a man she truly loved- Rutherford. They said she killed David Dunbar and went insane, dying out of the grief for not being wed to the man she loved. This intense melodrama was perfectly suitable for opera.
About The Recording: Beverly Sills is the greatest Lucia. Her voice is crystal, lyric, her coloratura perfectly expressive of madness and ecstasy. Everyone in this recording is in top vocal shape and great actors. It was 1970. Lucia was Beverly's debut in London's Covent Garden. Carlo Bergonzi's tenor role of Edgardo is the best, compared to many to Enrico Caruso, his voice dramatic, romantic and rich. Piero Cappucilli's baritone role of the scheming and ambitious Enrico is unforgettable. Even Justino Diaz' Normanno, also a tenor, is incredible. His tenor voice is introduced to us after the tragic overture, when the hunters belt out a chorus. The music to Lucia has been influential to such composers as Verdi. It is expressive of human emotion, in particular tragic love. Lucia's theme is introduced as an extended passage for harp. She then enters with her handmaiden Alisa (mezzo soprano Patricia Kern).
Beverly's rendition of "Regnava nel Silenzio" is outstanding. She relates in funereal tone her encounter with a ghost by the fountain. Towards the end of the aria, she uses pulsating vibrato. Her mental stability is already breaking at this point and the following "Quando Riposi in Estasi" is a coloratura jewel full of richness. Lucia's duet with Enrico is exquisite, it's a rather lengthy but flowing duet that ends in a powerfully high pitch from Beverly. Her greastest moment of course is towards the end. She has killed Arturo on their wedding night and before the guests, rants and raves about ghosts, altars and a marriage that never took place to her beloved Edgardo. The Mad Scene is the most famous in all of opera. Donizetti, however, had used the Mad Scene technique in his first hit- Anna Bolena (Anne Boylen). At the end of the opera, Anne Boylen goes mad, hallucinates about a marriage. It's structure is not as well done as Lucia's Mad Scene, but it must have clearly inspired Donizetti to expand it- it does seem strikingly similar- there is use of flute, stormy orchestral effects and a mournful, funeral type chorus. The Mad Scene on here features the glass harmonica Donizetti tried to use but due the instrument's rarity in Europe was never able to use. The glass harmonica heightens the eerie and chilling effect for the Mad Scene. It begins to play as soon as Lucia sadly cries "Il dulce suono" and continues through the elegant length of the Mad Scene "Ardon Incensi". The coloratura trills and roulades in unison with the fast pace of the flute is still used here.
Finally, Lucia has great chorus and ensemble numbers. The Sextet is the most beloved and most frequently performed ensemble piece. It feature six voices, it is a moment of profound distress. Edgardo has entered the castle and discovered Lucia signing the wedding contract to Arturo. Although it's one main melody, all six singers express diverse emotions. The sextet seems to have two parts, for the scene ends in a turbulent ensemble after the immense tension of the scene- Lucia faints, Edgardo accuses her of betrayal and damns the Ashton family. Edgardo's greatest moment comes towards the end of the opera. Depressed, in pain, he comes to the tomb of his ancestors. There, before a crowd of guests, he discovers that Lucia did love him after all and he cannot live without her- so he stabs himself.
Tragic opera with a capital T. And this is the recording to get....more info
- Beverly's Finest Hour ?
Excellent recording of a noteworthy performance. The glass harmonica adds a special charm.
- A sutherland and Callas fan compliment Sills' Lucia
If you have bash Sutherland's Lucia, Daughter, and others, read this. And if you've bash Callas's Tosca and her new cd, also read this.
I love Sills' Lucia, and I do have it. I also love Sutherland's and Callas's. There are all great. Please stop this diva war, it is upsetting many good people.
Don't you think enough is enough? Both Sutherland, Callas, and Sills are great singers. I've read the negative reviews here, and I apologize to the Sills fans for them. But I see most of these as being from Callas fans or Caballe fans. Yet I've counted over 100 negative reviews from either the Sills fans criticizing Sutherland and Callas.
I never wrote a negative review of Sills. I think she's America's great diva. But I'm offering good will to you to stop this. I can't stop others from attacking Sills. But I don't see too many recent attacks in this Lucia and other Sills staple roles. I think this is silly and unproductive. I think this has to end, and now. If you are a good person, I can't see trying to destroy a great diva's reputation without feeling a little bit of guilt. Remember what goes around comes around. God bless....more info
- you DO need THIS recording of "Lucia"!
There are many recordings of "Lucia di Lammermoor", and, many are very good, some are excellent, and then, there are some that would not be missed.
This, luckily, is not one of the last group. Neither, is it from the very good group! Which leaves excellent for our rating!
Sills is truly great in this role. Her coloratura is spot on, her entire personna for Lucia comes through as a living, breathing, person. Now, let's face it, she's not Sutherland (who owns the role), but, nevertheless, she bests Dame Joan in that her Lucia is human, which, Sutherland's was not necessarily. She could spin the notes beautifully, but her characterizations were always wooden, 2-dimensional cut-outs (it's just the way she was). But, Sills gives us a believable Lucia...3 dimensional, and one you can feel for as a real person. She simply is wonderful. Period.
Bergonzi, luckily for us, was before his unravelling, and is in clear, crisp tone here, demonstrating everything that Edgardo should be. He is in charge of himself, and on top of everything. A great characterization and "performance" that can stand up to anyone's.
Cappucilli, here, is in particularly great form. His turn at Enrico is a gnarly, nasty piece of work, perhaps just a touch over the top, but it sure works here, set against Sills and Bergonzi. While I have always "given it up" for Merrill in this role, Cappucilli, in truth, is just wonderful, an admirable performance, for sure.
Schippers, at the head of it all, as always, turns in a wonderfully thought-out, completely cohesive reading of Donizetti's score. Never uneven or "episodic" (patchy) as many conductors are wont to do with this tragic work. Schippers, sadly, passed away very young, and would, surely, have come to have inherited Toscanini's mantle, I believe. We are fortunate indeed to have this reading of this great work with him conducting.
One of the high-points of this recording, and that which makes it special over every other one, is the inclusion of the glass harmonica in the mad scene, as Donizetti wrote it...not the flute. This is the only recording that includes this eerie, surreal instrument, and it DOES work wonderfully! Even if the recording and the singing of the artists were not at the top of the list, you would still need to make room on your shelves for this recording, just for this aspect. If you are not familiar with this set, by all means, do go in with both feet and order it. You will never be sorry after you have heard "Lucia" as written by Gaetano....more info
- The Best Studio Recording Of Lucia Di Lammermoor
Arguably the best. Tune in to this recording and you'll see why. Beverly Sills in fine singing voice, the great Carlo Bergonzi is generally regarded as the finest interpretor of Edgardo and a superb cast, orchestra as well as tribute to Thomas Schippers a formidable conductor who tragically died of cancer in the late 70's. There have been many outstanding Lucia studio recordings dating back to the LP Era long before digitally remastering and cd recordings. Lucia is the most famous opera of the Donizetti repertoire. It is a great vehicle for the soprano singing Lucia and tenor singing Edgardo. Over the years, many remarkable singers have come across Lucia Di Lammermoor - Lily Pons, Maria Callas, Roberta Peters, Joan Sutherland, Edita Gruberova, Anna Moffo, Cheryl Studer and many others dating back to the early phonograph/victrola days of the early 1900s among them Adelina Patti, Dame Nellie Melba, Louisa Tetrazzini and Amelita Galli-Curci. It is almost a rite of passage. During its day, Donizetti's Lucia became so popular that Donizetti had to rewrite the opera in French to cater to the French opera lovers in Paris. Donizetti's music is a colorful array of emotions and melodrama perfomed in the typical romantic flair that the Romantic Era was so famous for, The tragic story is drawn from the Walter Scott novel supposedly inspired by actual events. A young woman, with a penchant for romance, falls in love with her family's enemy a la Romeo and Juliet. The Ashtons and the Ravenswoods have long feuded over property and social position in the bleak Gothic moors and misty woods of Scotland. Lucia, the quintessential tragic heroine, is forced to marry a man she does not love (Arturo) in accordance to her brother Enrico's wishes. Enrico has plotted and schemed by forging letters and managed to seperate Lucia and Edgardo. During Lucia's wedding to Arturo, she loses her mind and stabs him. Edgardo commits suicide at the opera's finale. It's tragic drama at its best.
On this recording, Thomas Schippers and the London Symphony Orchestra produce a high calibre score in much the same dramatic vein that Herbert Van Karajan pulled in the classic recording with Maria Callas. Plus, it provides a chilling, frightening effect in the Mad Scene with the use of the glass harmonica in addition to the orthodox flute that accompanies the scene. There is also a "storm" effect, both musically and with the studio sound of thunder and lightning in a latter scene in which Edgardo broods melancholically in his castle the night of Lucia's wedding. Dramatically and vocally this studio recording is the finest. Beverly Sills proves that you don't have to be a large voiced Maria Callas or Joan Sutherland clone to sing the role of Lucia. Beverly's light but well-schooled and well-trained voice becomes aptly dramatic and convincing in all the range of emotions Lucia turns on - haunting and raving in "Regnava Nel Silenzio" and full of ecstasy in the coloratura showpiece "Quando Rapito", tearful, sorrowful and resigned in her duet with Enrico "Soffrivi Nel Pianto". Note also that during the recitatives and dialogue exchanged between Sills and baritone Piero Cappuccilli- specifically in the lines "Al'otro uomo e giurado mia fe" "To another man I have already pledged my love" she inflects pure drama when she pushes her voice to a chest register. Piero Cappuccilli's finest moment is in this duet and in the preceding Vengeance Aria. As for Justino Diaz, his baritone vocals are equally as masterful as today's Samuel Ramey. Justino Diaz voice is rich and full and blends gorgeously with Beverly Sills in their duet "Cedi Cedi"- a duet which Sills tops off with a high F.
The Mad Scene is incredible. It is not unrestrained, nor hysterical, but deeply moving in its pathos and unbearable sorrow. We feel pity for Lucia's condition and Sills does not overact. Carlo Bergonzi is a superb Edgardo, joining the ranks of Enrico Caruso who was personally fond of the role and dubbed it his best. Carlo Bergonzi has a masculine, ringing, earthy and dramatic voice that is perfect for the role of the tragic hero Edgardo. Only Placido Domingo sings it as good. The moving finale, in which Edgardo has learned that Lucia has died and true to her love for him, he commits suicide by stabbing himself, determined to join Lucia in the afterlife. His poignant "Tu che a Dio " is lyric, emotional and the sad effect enhanced by the repetition and dominant use of the strings. There is nothing left to say but go out and buy this recording....more info
- As close to a perfect Lucia as we're likely to hear
Having read some of the other reviews, I'll try to get through this without any diva-bashing...
Lucia is perhaps my favorite opera, so I've seen and heard it performed many times by many casts. Everything about this performance gels into a seamless masterpiece. Sills' strength was her acting and bel canto vocal skills, and this is a perfect showpiece. The only Lucia I've heard that compares is Callas'. I'm not overly partial to Sutherland, so I'm not too inclined to say too much about her, other than to note that while her technique is impeccable, this is a role that requires an actress above all else. Studer was pretty good, and the only times I've heard Scotto sing the role, it wasn't to my liking, but that could have been the direction as much as anything else.
With the advent of the "3 Tenors" phenomenon, too many people have forgotten the great Carlo Bergonzi who joins Sills in this performance. I have heard all three of the tenors in that popular series sing Edgardo, and Bergonzi's performance is impeccable. The only other I've heard do justice to the role was Placido Domingo, but I heard him with Cheryl Studer and the production/direction was obviously inferior to this production.
The measure of a good Lucia to me is if, whether you're moved to tears or not, you get a palpable sense of the characters' pain in the Mad Scene and the "Verrano a te" duet (arguably the most beautiful love song ever written). This performance has it all - great music, great voices, great direction and production values, and great acting. I saw Sills perform this in person and I've cherished it on LP for years - and now cherish it on CD....more info
Bravro, Beverly. God must be in heaven with you there now . Oh, of course, God is already in Heaven---You just made it better !
Tears just flowed at your Mad Scene---And then there was Carlo Bergonzi ! Does it get any better ??? Maybe, but I don't think so--Magnificent !
Thank you Beverly Sills for all you gave us with your Beauty and tenacity
Owls Head,NY...more info
- Just amazing!!!
This is a great recording of "Lucia di Lammermoor". Everyone is involved and the conducting cannot be bettered. Get it now!...more info
- In defense of a great artist
Sills had the ultimate trill. Sills had the fastest runs. Sills' staccati are a bit smudged in this recording, but on other recordings, her staccati are very fast. In the aria "Da tempeste in legno infranto" from her recording of "Giulio Cesare", Sills hits a series of lightning-fast staccati that the orchestra then tries to outdo. Go listen to that aria. Sills is amazing. Also, listen to her awesome "Pianger¨° la sorte mia" and "Se piet¨¤ di me non senti". She is incredible in conveying Cleopatra's sadness. Tell me if Sutherland could do that. And could Sutherland seduce with golden trills and flawless legato in the seduction aria "V'adoro pupille"? As for Sills' high notes, yes they are tiny and shrill, but she has a small voice so the high notes are not as spectacular as Sutherland's. This recording of "Lucia" is the best on the market. The sound is superb and the orchestra is fantastic. You have a great conductor in Thomas Schippers and a terrific supporting cast led by Carlo Bergonzi and Piero Cappuccilli. This set is, in my opinion, Sills' best studio recording besides her fabulous "The Ballad of Baby Doe". Stop complaining about Sills' shrill and tiny high notes. When she sings, she draws you into the story. Her Mad Scene is like no other. She transports you into the realm of the demented. Having the sounds of a glass armonica also helps. Listen to the lines, "Ogni piacer pi¨´ grato mi fia con te diviso..." Sills makes those two lines sound very haunting. Also, listen to the glass armonica when she sings those lines. Very eerie and effective.
I regret writing the Great Trill Debate found at the end of a previous review. It diminished the quality of Sills' unbeatable trills. Sorry Beverly!
Someone wrote a review of Sills' recording of "Art of Beverly Sills" attacking her staccato. I will take it upon myself to defend her staccato on this site instead of that one because this one is more popular. Sills' staccati are not bell-like pinpricks of sound like Sutherland's. Therefore, they do not sound piercing to the ear. They have a mellow edge to them, which may make listeners believe that she has a poorer staccato than Sutherland has. This is completely false. Sills' staccato is every bit as good as Sutherland's.
Another thing. Sutherland only could trill as good as Sills when her voice was still fresh and girlish i.e. the period from her first performance of "Lucia" to 1961....more info
- Sills made this role her own!
All I've got to say is, look at the majority of genuine reviews written for this recording: most are 4 or 5 stars, very few less than 4. They are more often than not descriptive reviews that go to lengths to explain WHY they feel this Lucia deserves 4 or 5 stars. What of these one or two star hateful, brief reviews that have come in washes and waves recently? They have been written by Sutherland/Callas fans who are retaliating against Sills's fans that bashed Sutherland/Callas recordings, and therefore do not speak of their true feelings toward this Lucia (but instead reflect their hatred of Sills b/c of anger of negative reviews for their respective admired artist). These bashers continually make up lies such as the smallness of Sills's voice and use the same old arguments over and over and over and over and over to bash Sills. Let's review the complaints: 1) Sills has a small voice, she can barely be heard, the orchestra has to play softer just for her; in recordings such as the live L'assedio Corinto and Fille du REgiment Sills is drowned out a lot of the time. Let me respond by saying that I could use these arguments to fertilize my lawn. I've heard Sills live, in opera house and concert hall, 9 times over the course of 10 years. Yes, you read right, Sills bashers, 9 TIMES!!! And EVERYTIME, I heard her just fine, and the orchestra played as loud as when I went to see Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Marilyn Horne, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. And Sills was drowned out only occasionally in the greatest crescendos and fortimissi/ffff. You Sills bashers are lying through your teeth, because I heard her live, not in bull feces land. I've been to her legendary Giulio Cesare in 1966, 1967 Hoffmann, 1970 Lucia, 1970 and 1975 Roberto Devereux, 1969 Fille, 1972 Maria Stuarda, 1975 L'assedio di Corinto, and in one concert, in 1976. Sills's voice has a bright timbre, but that doesn't make it as small as you say it is. Sills had great projection and breadth. And another review (for "Art of Beverly Sills") put it accurately: if you are accustomed to hearing Joan Sutherland's larger than usual coloratura voice, or to Callas, then of course Sills's voice comes off as small. But as a coloratura voice, Sills has a sizable voice capable of excellent things, such as this Lucia.
Complaint 2) Her voice is shrill, squeaky. I don't know what you're harping on, because I certainly don't have a grudge against the sharp timbre of her voice. It may be an acquired taste, but it will not in anywise blow out your eardrums like you would have people believe. Her voice has a natural tanginess to it, so of course high notes are going to be a bit shrill. In addition, Sills's voice is one of the most energetic and invigorating voices I've ever heard.
Complaint 3) High notes above C are tiny. Perhaps in a recording here and there the notes above high C are smaller than usual, but those are NOT the trademark Beverly Sills high notes. In the times I heard her live she nailed EVERY high note above C with projection, precision, and enough volume to match Sutherland's latter year high notes.
This Lucia really does stand out as the best. Beverly Sills adds the best mix of dramatic and musical integrity, doing justice to this opera in the best way imaginable. Disregard the disrespectful and hurtful reviews, as those reviewers in greatest probability have not even listened to this recording to give an honest evaluation (citing specific parts and scenes to fault, instead of using false generalizations)....more info
- Sills' is a Donizetti Goddess!!!!
Once again, an evil Sutherland fan bashes Sills' extraordinary trill. I love Sutherland's trill. However, Sills' trill is the better of the two. Sills' trill has been described as perfection by many music critics. The same can be said of Sutherland's trill. To hear Sills' masterful trills at their best, check out her recording of "Giulio Cesare" and her live recording of "The soldier tir'd" from her "Sillsiana" disc, released by Gala. The trills in the "Artaxerxes" aria are mechanically accurate and truly bird-like in their precision. To be fair to Sutherland, Sill's recording of Juliette's Waltz Song from "Sillsiana" is inferior to Sutherland's smooth, effortless version on her famous 16-aria recital disc (it's called "The Art of the Prima Donna"). Sills' French diction, normally superb, suffers due to singing in the very high, original key of G of the aria. Some of her coloratura suffers too. Sutherland's French sounds more idiomatic in the aria due to her facility in singing in very high keys. Also, in this aria, Sutherland has slightly better coloratura than Sills has.
Sills has more accurate coloratura due to her smaller voice. Sutherland can only be so accurate with that huge voice of hers. As for technique, Sills is every bit as good as the 1960's Sutherland or, if you prefer, the in-her-prime Sutherland. Both sopranos have EQUAL coloratura techniques. Stop bashing Sills' technique. Sills is better at acting Lucia than Sutherland is. On her second studio recording of "Lucia di Lammermoor", Sutherland makes a brave attempt at characterization, but it pales in comparison to Sill's portrayal. I have heard Callas' live 1955 recording, and to tell you the truth, Callas shows her poor coloratura in the Mad Scene and unconvincing acting throughout. Compare Sills' Mad Scene with Callas' and there is a big difference. Callas just sounds out of sorts. Sills sounds truly demented and makes every word sound haunting. Callas is so overrated as Lucia. Really, even Sutherland is more convincing as Lucia. I love Carlo Bergonzi. He makes a fine Edgardo. Piero Cappuccilli is a sinister Enrico. Justino D¨ªaz is an appropriately hypocritical Raimondo. Thomas Schippers is awesome in the orchestra pit. He makes this score come alive. Herbert von Karajan turns Donizetti's score into sleep-inducing music. Richard Bonynge makes a horrifying mess of the score. Enough said....more info
I bought this as a present for my husband who is an "opera maven". It is considered to be a rare recording as it is not only the complete (unabridged) opera but features Beverly Sills and a glass harmonica (rarely used). He loves the recording...more info
- The Art Of Singing Drama
Donizetti's "Lucia Di Lammermoor" has been a popular opera for years. The tragic story of thwarted love (a la Romeo and Juliet) based on the Walter Scott novel became a smash hit in the 19th century. This is the very best of "bel canto drama", a winning combination of beautiful melody and powerful drama. For a number of years, Lucia was regarded as romantic fluff, with light orchestration and no substance to the drama. It was long considered merely a showcase for the soprano singing Lucia and many sweet-voiced divas have sung the role throughout it's history - Jenny Lind in the 19th century and Lily Pons in the World War II Era. It was not until the 60's and 70's that this tragic opera was revived and emerged as a powerful work of art. Finally, Donizetti's musical score was so much more. At the hands of composers like Herbert Van Karajan and Sir Thomas Schippers on this recording, the score to Lucia became vibrant and dramatic. The conductors and their respective orchestras treated the opera with lyric and dynamic integration so that it sounded like a Wagner opera.
The leading Lucia of the immediate post World War II Era- the 50's, was Maria Callas. She is still considered the best Lucia by many, but it's always a matter of taste. Maria Callas was a sensational actress, who immersed herself into every role she tackled. It is said that Maria Callas' version of Lucia's Mad Scene was so authentic that it looked like she had really gone insane at the end of the opera. After Callas, Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills successfully performed Lucias in their careers. Unfortunately, the press or these singers' fans created a fake feud between them, claiming that Sutherland and Sills were rivals. This is not true. Again, it's a matter of taste. If you are a hardcore fan of Joan Sutherland, then stick to what you enjoy best. Her voice is rich, larger-than-life, beautiful and exciting. But do not fan the flames of hatred and bash Beverly Sills. If you like Beverly Sills, do not bash Joan Sutherland. Beverly Sills was equal to Joan Sutherland and although both singers were naturally not the same (occupying different bodies after all) they were still fantastic in their own individual way.
Beverly Sills sang Lucia for her debut in London's Covent Garden in 1970. She gave an incredible performance. Her Lucia was subtle, dynamic and she blended bel canto singing - with its legato, flowing lines and vivid coloratura, with credible acting technique. This was always Beverly's strengths. She could really act and she gave a hundred percent to all her performances, emphasizing acting and connection with the audience. From the moment she enters the stage as Lucia, she convinces us that all is not well when she raves about a ghost she has seen by a fountain that spurted blood. This is the haunting aria "Regnava Nel Silenzio". This is followed by an impressive coloratura showpiece, "Quando rapito en estasi" in which she describes her love for her family's sworn enemy Edgardo. In her self-sacrifice she is noble (the duet with her brother Enrico "Cedi, Cedi") and in the famous Sextet her voice rises high and clear with beautiful expression. The rest of the cast and chorus are excellent. Carlo Bergonzi sings the love-struck and heartbroken Edgardo and the magnificent baritone Piero Cappuccilli sings the scheming Enrico. Beverly's finest hour comes during the Mad Scene. Following the original plans Donizetti had in mind for this scene, the glass harmonica is featured. The glass harmonica adds an appropriately eerie and bloodcurdling effect. Beverly sings the Mad Scene with true acting prowess, real sadness, lyric elegance and spiraling coloratura. Many sopranos fail to understand that although Lucia has gone crazy, she has not lost her dignity. A lot of the Mad Scene is beautiful but melancholy. Some sopranos have even gone overboard with the hysteria by doing such things as falling over backwards on stage. There is no need for that much hysteria- only when she sees the ghost and raves "Il fantasma! Il fantasma!" should sound slightly hysterical. Beverly Sills does this well. Finally, her "Spargi D'Amaro Pianto" is dazzling to hear.
There is no reason why you should not buy this recording. It's a lovely addition to the other Lucias you may already own. This recording is so good because all its singers have put so much effort into it- from Carlo Bergonzi's Edgardo (listen to his sad suicide aria which ends the opera) and Piero Cappuccilli's baritone villanous ways. Again, Thomas Schippers conducts an impressive score with his London Symphony Orchestra, making this a very powerful and dramatic opera....more info
I usually don't write reviews but this is a worthy recording. I have heard about eight different recordings of Lucia Di Lammermoor (including popular Callas and Sutherland ones) and this is by far my favourite. Sills' voice is beautiful, melodic, and dances right on the edge of chaos as every good Lucia should. This is THE performance of Lucia di Lammermoor....more info
- Beverly Sills is the greatest!!!
Beverly Sills' artistry can be summed up in seven arias. They are "Non disperar; chi sa", "Pianger¨° la sorte mia", "V'adoro pupille", "Se piet¨¤ di me non senti", and "Da tempeste in legno infranto" from "Giulio Cesare"; "Il dolce suono mi colp¨¬ di sua voce...Ardon gli incensi...Spargi d'amaro pianto" from "Lucia di Lammermoor"; and "Always through the changing" from "The Ballad of Baby Doe". Sills takes the listener on a roller coaster ride of emotional states, from joy to love's entrancement to despair to madness and finally, heartbreak. With no other soprano will you find a better combination of vocal technique, singing, and vocal acting. Sills' voice is infinitely more human than Sutherland's and a lot more pleasing to the ear than Callas'. Do not listen to the Sills bashers. They are just jealous Callas and Sutherland sycophants who are rightly afraid that their sopranos' stars will be eclipsed by Sills' much brighter one....more info
- an excellent Lucia
Lovely and well done album, I can recommend it wholeheartedly....more info
- A standard Lucia
This version of Lucia is so good I strongly feel it's the standard to which future Lucias ought to be measured to. Miss Sills is very dramatically gripping. Her singing could not be better, with such fluency in coloratura. The others back up Sills well and the tempi are ideal making this recording the greatest of all....more info