This weekend, Palm Beach Opera closed its 50th anniversary season with an impressive interpretation of Gaetano Donizetti’s tragic opera, “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Two distinct singers, Mexican-born Maria Alejandres and Hungarian soprano Valentina Farcas, alternated the title role of the fragile young woman caught between her power-hungry brother Enrico and her true love Edgardo in 17th century Scotland.
Salvadore Cammarano’s Italian libretto is dry to say the least but the story redeems itself in the epic climax where Lucia becomes unhinged and kills her new husband. The opera’s third act mad scene sets the standard for the entire repetoire and is perhaps the most famous display of vocal acrobatics in all of opera. Needless to say, the role of Lucia is a daunting task for the lead soprano and Saturday night’s Lucia, Valentina Farcas, took on the challenge honorably. Farcas’ steady voice hit each and every note with ease, including the dizzying high E-flat at the end of the mad scene. Georgy Vasiliev gave a stand out performance as Lucia’s lover Edgardo.
Massimo Gasparon’s direction faired well against the backdrop of the sets from the Dallas Opera, which captured the gothic grandeur of Scotland. Despite the awkward pauses for scene changes mid-act, the action flowed well throughout the performance.
Conducted by Bruno Aprea, the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra played with enthusiasm and ease, complementing the chorus’ energy.
Once again, Palm Beach Opera proved its ability to provide South Florida residents with world-class opera.