Scott Ramsay

Portland Opera review: Lucia di Lammermoor

Portland Opera's production of Donizetti's opera is a bloody good time

 

Elizabeth Futral in Portland Opera's Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo: Ken Howard

Elizabeth Futral in Portland Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo: Ken Howard

by ANGELA ALLEN

Scottish moors and forbidding towers have ways of inspiring violence and insanity. Even Lady MacBeth’s blood-stained dress pales against Lucia’s blood-soaked wedding gown in Portland Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which opened Friday at Keller Auditorium for a two-weekend run. 

Opera is about excess, at least this sort of tragic singer-centric opera where a cold-hearted, insecure brother like Enrico (baritone Weston Hurt) wants to break up true lovers—his family enemy, Edgardo (tenor Scott Ramsay), and his sister, Lucia (Elizabeth Futral). If you can’t go over the top with this production, you will be left in the Keller’s lobby, drinking. So go with it, and go with abandon. Speaking of lifeblood, this Lucia, prolific Gaetano Donizetti’s most-performed opera, brings crucial bold new blood to PO, including leads Futral (Lucia), Ramsay (Edgardo), stage director Doug Scholz-Carlson, set designer Christine Jones and lighting “recreationist” Scott Bolman.

This production milks to the hilt blood and the dynamics of broken, betrayed and mis-timed love. When wired-up, thoroughly charged soprano Futral emerges in the third act—blood-smeared head to toe, eyes glassy, a distraught nutty smile—to sing Lucia’s extraordinary 15-minute “mad-scene” aria, the opera reaches its peak of piling it on.

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