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Posted by angela On April - 21 - 2017 0 Comment

Lucia di Lammermoor’s Synopsis

Text from the Opera a cura di Angela Migliorati Novek

Lucia di Lammermoor by the Italian Composer Gaetano Donizetti

Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano


ACT I – Part 1           Scotland, 1680

The noble family of Ravenswood has lost their estate due to the ambitions of their rival, Enrico of Ashton.  Enrico’s sister, Lucia, is in love with the only remaining Ravenswood heir, Edgardo.

The opera begins with Normanno, Enrico’s advisor, who is searching for Edgardo to destroy him, since he is the last remaining threat to Enrico’s newfound fortunes.

Raimondo, Lucia’s instructor and clergyman, tries to dissuade Enrico from marrying off his sister immediately for political reasons, because she is still mourning for the death of their mother.  Normanno contradicts the old priest and states that Lucia refuses to marry not because she mourns her mother, but because she has a lover who she meets in the park (Cruda funesta smania). 
When he adds that Lucia’s lover is none other than Edgardo of Ravenswood, Enrico goes red with rage, and swears that this affront to his family will not go unpunished (La pietade in suo favore).

Scene II:      

At the park’s entrance, next to the fountain, Lucia enters accompanied by her lady-in-waiting Alisa, to wait for Edgardo’s rendez-vous.  While they wait, she recounts the macabre legend of the fountain: a Ravenswood, blinded by jealousy, stabbed his lover there, and now her ghost haunts that place, and one day it even appeared to her in a dream (Regnava nel silenzio).

When Alisa tells Lucia that she has a bad feeling about this affair, and suggests that she forget about such an illicit love, Lucia answers that she has never felt such happiness like young Ravenswood has given her (Quando rapita in estasi).

Edgardo arrives, and Alisa wanders off to leave the two young lovers alone.  Edgardo reveals to Lucia that he is about to leave for France, as ambassador for Scotland.  Before leaving, he wishes to ask Enrico, Lucia’s older brother and his father’s murderer, to make peace, and to grant Lucia’s hand in marriage.  Frightened, Lucia tells him that their love must remain a secret, but that they could make a betrothal vow by exchanging family rings.  At this proposal, the two young lovers momentarily forget their precarious situation, and imagine that their profound love will succeed in bridging the distance between them while separated (Verranno a te sull’aure).



First Act, Second Part: The Marriage Contract

Later, in a room in the Ashton castle, Enrico waits for his sister, to tell her that her marriage to Arturo, Lord of Bucklaw, has been arranged for later that same day.  Normanno, his malicious counselor, has assured Enrico that Lucia will accept the proposal because Edgardo left a while ago for France, and all of his letters to the girl have been intercepted and destroyed.  To guarantee success, the two have decided to forge a letter from Edgardo, and to give it to Lucia to prove his unfaithfulness.

When Lucia enters she is very pale.  Enrico tries to persuade her to marry Arturo for the benefit of the family, but Lucia admits that she has promised herself to another (Il pallor funesto).  Furious, Enrico hands the false letter to Lucia, who reads it and remains shocked.  Enrico then forces her to accept Arturo’s marriage proposal  (Se tradirmi).

After, Raimondo speaks to Lucia, and he convinces her to resign herself to her destiny, and to marry Arturo for the good of the entire Ashton clan.  (Ah cedi, cedi, o più sciagure)


Scene II

In the ballroom, all the guests are preparing for Arturo and Lucia’s wedding.  Arturo arrives at the castle with his retinue  (Per te d’immenso giubilo) and offers his hand to Enrico as a sign of friendship and protection, and then he asks after Lucia.  Enrico answers that she is late because she is still mourning the death of their mother.  Finally, Lucia arrives, and she backs away from her future husband in revulsion, but Enrico forces her to sign the marriage contract.


Edgardo has returned unforeseen from France, and he breaks into the castle ballroom to declare his love for Lucia despite the fact that she has betrayed him  (Chi mi frena).  Threatened by Enrico and Arturo, Edgardo refuses to yield without a fight, but Raimondo intervenes and begs all parties not to spill blood on a holy day.

Edgardo says that Lucia is his, that she has sworn her faith to him, but the old guardian shows him the just signed marriage contract.  Shocked and betrayed, Edgardo roughly returns Lucia’s ring to her, and he demands his back as well, as he damns Lucia and her entire house.  He then says that he would be happy to die fighting right in front of the betrayer, but Enrico answers that he will get even for this affront at a later time  (Esci, fuggi, il furor che m’accende).       END OF ACT I





Categories: OPERA, Opera in English

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