Sunday, March 22, 2020

Lucia di Lammermoor

One bright spot amidst the current darkness is that the Metropolitan Opera, which had to shut its doors due to COVID-19, has been streaming operas online for free every night.

I caught Bizet's Carmen and Verdi's La Traviata, and last night watched Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. That last opera is based on a Sir Walter Scott novel, The Bride of Lammermoor.

Though I've never read the novel, I do have a copy of Scott's poetry that I picked up at John K. King Books in Detroit. It contains some of the poems that Scott interpolated into the novel. For instance, Lucy Ashton (the Lucia of the opera) sings this song in Chapter II:

               Look not thou on beauty's charming,
               Sit thou still when kings are arming,
               Taste not when the wine-cup glistens,
               Speak not when the people listens,
               Stop thine ear against the singer,
               From the red gold keep thy finger;
               Vacant heart and hand and eye,
               Easy live and quiet die.

If that's not ominous enough for you, a prophesy appears in Chapter XVII that doesn't sound too good for her lover Edgar, who is Master of Ravenswood:

               When the last Laird of Ravenswood to Ravenswood shall ride,
               And woo a dead maiden to be his bride,
               He shall stable his steed in the Kelpie's flow,
               And his name shall be lost for evermoe!

Hey, no one ever said this was going to be a comedy! Kelpies, by the way, are shape-shifting water spirits, and the Met's production had a wonderfully creepy ghost that appeared by an old fountain.

Tonight, they're showing Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, so I should tune in now!