Opera Scotland

Lucia di Lammermoor 1974Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Lucia di Lammermoor

After the Edinburgh Festival Alceste, with its brief excursion to Aldeburgh, Scottish Opera's autumn tour in 1974 centred on the first revival of the 1971 Der Rosenkavalier using the Scottish National Orchestra, and being sung this time in German. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra played in further performances of Elegy for Young Lovers and The Magic Flute. With the addition of some more players the SCO became the Scottish Philharmonia, who were in the pit for the new production, Lucia di Lammermoor. The tour took in Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle and Aberdeen. In October, a strongly cast revival of The Barber of Seville was taken to Stirling and Ayr. Then in December the company played in Edinburgh, when Rosenkavalier and Lucia were supplemented by a revival of La bohème, not seen since 1967.

John Copley’s production of Lucia was excellent, and, astonishingly, the first occasion he had worked with Scottish Opera. This staging, along traditional Scottish baronial lines, had previously been used by the Netherlands Opera, and was the second element of a proposed long-term collaboration which continued rather erratically. A similar production by Copley and his design team was also mounted in the Sydney Opera House for Joan Sutherland, and recorded for video.

The one criticism of this production is, however, a major one, in that it treated the composer with scant respect. The opera was subjected to what used to be termed “standard cuts” – i.e. no Wolf’s Crag scene and large cuts everywhere else. The composer's carefully planned development of tension, especially in the second act leading to the mad scene, was largely destroyed. It was only for the production’s last revival in 1981 that the score was at last performed complete.

Within those restricted terms this staging worked very well. Roderick Brydon's conducting was idiomatic, with chorus and orchestra on excellent form. The centre of attraction was the Lucia of Elizabeth Harwood, a beautifully rich-toned, creamy soprano with excellent handling of the drama. By December, David Hillman's Edgardo was ideally doom-laden and dramatic, with a superbly gripping account of his final suicide. Robert Lloyd and Michael Langdon were luxury casting for Raimondo. Langdon had sung the part many times in London, and created a warmly sympathetic character. Perhaps the only relative weakness was the slightly soft-focussed baritone. Again, Delme Bryn-Jones had sung the part in the Zeffirelli staging at Covent Garden, but his voice didn't quite have the edge required to project the nastiness of the character.

Performance Cast

Normanno the Ashtons' forester

John Robertson

Enrico Lord Henry Ashton

Delme Bryn-Jones

Raimondo Bide the Bent, the Ashtons' chaplain

Robert Lloyd (Sep, Oct)

Michael Langdon (Dec)

Lucia Lucy Ashton, Henry's Sister

Elizabeth Harwood

Alisa Ailsa, Lucy's companion

Claire Livingstone

Edgardo Edgar, the Master of Ravenswood

David Hillman

Arturo Lord Arthur Bucklaw

Frederick Donaldson (Sep, Oct)

David Fieldsend (Dec)

Performance DatesLucia di Lammermoor 1974

Map List

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

27 Sep, 19.15 2 Oct, 19.15 4 Oct, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

8 Oct, 19.15 11 Oct, 19.15

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

6 Dec, 19.30 11 Dec, 19.30 14 Dec, 19.30

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