Utah Opera performs ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ for the first time since 2007

Mackenzie Whitney, playing Edgardo, left, and Abigail Rethwisch, playing Lucia, right, performing Utah Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City at the final dress rehearsal on March 9. (Jenny Lee)

The moment the red stage curtains opened, the audience at the final dress rehearsal of “Lucia di Lammermoor” could see the lit floors fill with smoke as they were taken back to 17th century Scotland. The stage set depicting realistic castle grounds was revealed.

The Utah Opera Company will present a traditional production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” for the first time in ten years, at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on March 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19.

“Lucia di Lammermoor” is a gothic tale of two lovers, Lucia and Edgardo, who are from opposing families and have madly fallen in love with each other. Enrico, Lucia’s brother, coerces her into marrying another nobleman, Arturo.

Lucia, feeling betrayed and heartbroken, begins to lose her sanity, which ultimately leads to a devastating and climactic scene in the performance.

Utah Opera’s Resident Artist Abigail Rethwisch covered the role of Lucia for the final dress rehearsal and will be performing the role opening night, Monday night, and as needed thereafter.

Nicole Haslett, who was originally to take on the role of Lucia, will be unable to perform on opening night and Monday evening.

Mackenzie Whitney took on the role of Edgardo and this will be his debut for Utah Opera.

Director Tom Diamond in company with conductor Gary Thor Wedow led the Utah Opera and the Utah Symphony in a harmonious performance and brought this tragic story to life.

“The music takes you into the mood that you want to be in so as soon as you hear that music you are really in the style of the piece, regardless of what the piece is,” Diamond said.

Wedow said Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” is really is a “perfect” opera and is something people can relate to.

“It’s beautifully constructed, it’s a wonderful story and sympathetic, something people can sympathize with today,” Wedow said.  “A forced marriage, an unhappy marriage, kind of feminine power and its saddening that it’s still happening today.”

Diamond said this performance shows what may happen when people aren’t allowed to be their authentic selves.

“Lucia is not allowed  to be the woman she wants to be and she’s forced into a kind of mold with devastating consequences, so that kind of lesson has a lot of reverberation in the 21st century,” Diamond said.

BYU graphic design student Noelle Baer attended the final dress rehearsal and said it’s a performance many people should go see.

“The set was incredible, I really liked the staging and thought it looked really good,” Baer said. “It was really beautiful music, I loved the arias and thought the orchestra did a really good job accompanying the singers.”

Diamond said this is a famous, classic opera that people are going to want to see.

“One of the things that I am hoping does overwhelm people is just how amazing it is for somebody to sing that way, ” Diamond said. “It’s just amazing.”

To find more about the performance, visit the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera website.

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