Lucia Di Lammermoor
In three acts by GAETANO DONIZETTI.
Text from Scott's romance by SALVATORE CAMMERANO.
This opera is Donizetti's master-piece and except his "Figlia del
reggimento" and "Lucrezia Borgia" is the only one of his fifty operas,
which is still given on all stages abroad. The chief parts, those of
Lucia and Edgardo, offer plenty of scope for the display of brilliant
talent and Lucia in particular is a tragic heroine of the first rank.
In the libretto there is not much left of Scott's fine romance.
Edgardo, the noble lover is most sentimental, and generally English
characteristics have had to give place to Italian coloring.
Henry Ashton, Lord of Lammermoor has discovered that his sister Lucia
loves his mortal enemy, Sir Edgardo of Ravenswood. He confides
to Lucia's tutor, Raymond, that he is lost, if Lucia does not marry
another suitor of his (her brother's) choice.
Lucia and Edgardo meet in the park. Edgardo tells her, that he is
about to leave Scotland for France in the service of his country. He
wishes to be reconciled to his enemy, Lord Ashton, for though the
latter has done him all kinds of evil, though he has slain his father
and burnt his castle, Edgardo is willing to sacrifice his oath of
vengeance to his love for Lucia. But the lady, full of evil
forebodings, entreats him to wait and swears eternal fidelity to him.
After having bound himself by a solemn oath, he leaves her
half-distracted with grief.
In the second act Lord Ashton shows a forged letter to his sister,
which goes to prove that her lover is false. Her brother now presses
her more and more to wed his friend Arthur, Lord Bucklaw, declaring,
that he and his party are lost and that Arthur alone can save him from
the executioner's axe. At last when even her tutor Raymond beseeches
her to forget Edgardo and, like the others, believes him to be
faithless, Lucia consents to the sacrifice. The wedding takes place in
great haste, but just as Lucia has finished signing the
marriage-contract, Edgardo enters to claim her as his own.
With grief and unbounded passion he now sees in his bride a traitress,
and tearing his ring of betrothal from her finger, he throws it at her
Henry, Arthur and Raymond order the raving lover to leave the
castle and the act closes in the midst of confusion and despair.
The third act opens with Raymond's announcement that Lucia has lost her
reason and has killed her husband in the bridal room. Lucia herself
enters to confirm his awful news; she is still in bridal attire and in
her demented condition believes that Arthur will presently appear for
the nuptial ceremony. Everybody is full of pity for her, and her
brother repents his harshness, too late, alas!--Lucia is fast dying and
Eliza leads her away amid the lamentations of all present.
Edgardo, hearing of these things, while wandering amid the tombs of his
ancestors, resolves to see Lucia once more. When dying she asks for
him, but he comes too late. The funeral-bells toll, and he stabs
himself, praying to be united to his bride in heaven.
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