Last night I saw as the encore the Lucia of Natalie Desssay, having had to miss the first Live Simulcast earlier in March. While I saw/heard her as Marie in Fille du Regiment - AND LOVED her in it, I also saw/heard her a La Traviata in Santa Fe and was not as taken by that.
Now comes Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met under the baton of HGO's own Patrick Summers.... and it was a powerful presentation..
And Dessay as Lucia - the role for which she is totally suited IMHO. Her acting simply overwhelmed.
Dessay will remain etched in my eyes as THE most visual Lucia, the frail, the mad one-her acting was THAT stunning. Her, not quite perfect, voice yet made a deep impression as well, especially as she sang alone, without the flute duet as usually done. Perhaps the imperfections in her voice were what added so much to the realism and showed indication of the frailness of her LUCIA. She acted out the encroaching madness convincingly, embellished the aria, at times spontaneously, to make us feel her pain as we watched and listened. The emotional impact of her performance lingered and lingered
I have see/heard others in this role - now, for me THE Lucia -vocally- was and will be, until proven otherwise, Joan Sutherland. I can listen, with closed eyes, to her singing, the beauty of her sound forever. I hear her voice when thinking of 'Lucia'.I have heard Callas, (impressive with emotions, but perhaps not beautiful by voice), seen/heard Netrebko (Beautiful to look at, vocally very pleasant, but lacking that emotional impact) and most recently Shagimuratova here at HGO, brilliant singing, less convincing acting, but she is young and may grow into this role as time goes by.
The baritone, Ludovic Tézier, as the schemer, manipulator and overpowering 'man of the house' delivered all implied, most convincingly... the longer he sang, the more he grows on one :-).
He, too, seemed to have a touch of what sent Lucia over the edge. A doomed family, for sure influenced by the gloominess of the endless moors!
Raimondo was sung by Korean Kwangchul Youn, with a rich, round bass voice full of dignity, yet with a variety of expression from persuasive menace to stricken guilt!
And I really liked the death scene with Lucia's ghost. It totally worked..Mary Zimmerman directed.