Dear Listers, 7/9/98
I was privileged to attend the 20th C. stage premier of Donizetti's
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR at the Teatro Reggio di Torino in May of 1978.
The title role was sung by the unknown Lela Cuberli and the work
was brilliantly conducted by the same Italian meastro who conducted
SFO's brilliant FIGARO in '69 or '70 with Te Kanawa, von Stade,
Blegen, Evans, Wixell et al. I simply have blocked his name.
I heard him conduct 5 of the FIGAROS, this historic LUCIA and a
DON GIOVANNI in the early 80's. He was the best Italian conductor
of Mozart since Giulini and a gorgeous elegant man, fairly young.
I cannot tell you the balance of the all Italian cast except I
think the poorish Edgardo was Alberto Cupido. Cuberli was
marvelous and had no difficulty at that stage of her career with
the terrifying tessitura.
There were many changes from the "traditional" score--the
"Wolfscrag Scene" for Edgardo and Enrico, a long and difficult
aria for the basso, a lengthy scene for the basso and Lucia, several
cuts openend in the mad scene, and many expanded recitatives.
It was a much better opera than we knew from any Callas OR
Sutherland performance--a real music drama. It did not however
feature a glass harmonica in place of the flute--which is correct??
The audience at this dress rehearsal was thrilled with the
performance--I think maybe Zancanarro was the superb Enrico
and there was much discussion of this original score versus
the traditional score. If I remember correctly there was about
40 minutes more music than on Callas's first commercial set.
Can anyone help me remember the excellent conductor and tell me
why he didn't have Muti's career. He was so much greater in
Mozart and Donizetti.
Michael Barclay, D.Lett. [log in to unmask]
Opera Education International/OEI, Berkeley, CA www.operalover.net
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