Bel canto opera, which I would also loop early (and maybe some mid-) Verdi into, is probably my favorite type of opera to listen to – the melodies are simple, but exquisite (and not to mention, quite catchy too). Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the most well-known works in the bel canto repertoire, and I got to see a new production of it at Lyric. This is Lyric’s second opera of the season, and they are off to a rolling start – much kudos to Anthony Freud, whose contract as General Director was just extended for another 5 years, and who, coincidentally, I got to meet before the performance started! It’s pretty cool that he chats with people on the main floor, regardless if you’re a big donor person or not. Like seriously, I can’t tell you the number of times where I’ve seen the heads of big arts organizations, (for example *cough cough* the Salzburg Festival), who literally could care less about people who aren’t VIPs or donors. Luckily though, Lyric has a leader who is absolutely one of the nicest people in the business 🙂
Anyways, I’ll keep this post short, but this was definitely one of my favorite performances I’ve been to at Lyric so far – and it’s probably because the two lead singers carried out Donizetti’s music with such technique, control, and clarity. I’m referring to: 1) Albina Shagimuratova, who has sung this role to great acclaim all around the world (she was the first Russian singer to sing Lucia at La Scala, and fun fact – Shagimuratova made her debut in Europe at the Salzburg Festival under Maestro Muti!), and 2) Piotr Beczala, whose voice really reminded me of a young Domingo in his prime. These two were brilliant, whether in their own scenes or in scenes with each other – I can’t list the number of times where I was just so absorbed by their singing – this is definitely a key aspect of the bel canto style and why so many people enjoy listening to it. To be honest, it’s one of the coolest experiences sitting in a large and full, but dead silent, Civic Opera House, listening to a voice just ring out into the hall, with no amplification. Literally just pure voice hitting note after note – that’s what makes the mad scene in the opera so famous, and such an experience to witness live in performance.
And to top off the already fun evening, I got to meet Beczala after the performance (see photo below!).
Tonight, I’m headed to CSO to hear Maestro James Levine, the legendary music director of the Metropolitan Opera, conduct some Mozart and Berlioz (a great way to end the school week!).