Scottish love triangle in ‘Lady of the Lake’ opera in Breckenridge
Special to the Daily
If you go
What: Gioachino Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago” (“Lady of the Lake”), part of the 2014-15 “Met Opera: Live in HD” broadcast season
Where: The Finkel Auditorium at the Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge campus, 107 Denison Placer Ave., Breckenridge
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, March 14
Cost: $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and Met Members and $10 for students and children
More information: Light snacks and beverages will be provided at intermission, donation requested. For ticket information and purchase, call the National Repertory Orchestra Office at (970) 453-5825. Ticket purchase may also be made online by visiting the NRO website at www.nromusic.com.
Rossini’s melodic and enchanting opera “La Donna del Lago,” set in the medieval Scottish highlands and based on Sir Walter Scott’s classic novel “Lady of the Lake,” will be broadcast at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge on Saturday, March 14, beginning at 11 a.m., as part of the 2014-15 “Met Opera: Live in HD” broadcast season.
The opera opens with “Lady” Elena (performed by superstar Joyce DiDonato) singing an enchanting aria “Oh mattutina albon” (“O early morning light”), expressing her love for one of the highlanders, Malcolm Groeme (to be sung in a trouser role by Daniela Barcellona). Next on the scene is Uberto, in reality the disguised benevolent King James V of Scotland (performed by Juan Diego Flórez), who has left his hunting party to pursue this beautiful young lady whom he has seen in passing during previous visits to the nearby forest.
Elena, believing the disguised King to be a hunter who has lost his way, offers him hospitality, and they depart for her home. In a series of scenes to follow, it is disclosed that Elena’s father is Duglas d’Angus (Oren Gradus), member of the Highland Clan, in opposition to King James’ rule. Duglas has announced that his daughter is to be betrothed to Rodrigo di Dhu (John Osborn), chief of the Highland Clan, enacted for political reasons. Act I ends with a chorus of the Highland warriors, who gather to welcome their leader, Rodrigo. Malcolm and Elena, in a side set, again profess their love for each other. News arrives of an attack by the King’s army, and Rodrigo and his warriors depart for battle. Scotland is at war.
Act II is the interplay among three suitors, each hoping to win Elena’s love. For one, “Uberto,” King James still in disguise, searches desperately for Elena, hoping to protect her from the coming bloodshed. When found, she once again rejects his advances. He then gives her a ring, which he claims was given to him by the King, providing for her protection from the King’s forces. Rodrigo, who has overheard the conversation, attempts to have his soldiers kill the stranger, but Elena intercedes.
Malcolm, leaving the battle also in search of Elena, is informed that she has followed Duglas to Stirling Palace seeking peace. It is reported that Rodrigo has been killed, with the Highlanders now facing certain defeat. Malcolm, in his quest to save Elena, is captured and taken prisoner. Elena enters the castle, determined to save the lives of her father, Malcolm and Rodrigo, using the ring received from “Uberto” to gain access to the King’s chambers.
She is surprised to see nobles surrounding “Uberto,” who, in revealing his true identity, softens his attitude toward Elena and pardons both Duglas and Malcolm. Elena and Malcolm are finally united in a happy ending, with Elena singing the word “felicità” (“happiness”) in sparkling bel canto style, along with a chorus rejoicing as a new peace reigns in Scotland.
In a recent review, DiDonato was described as emerging triumphant, “being among the world’s greatest singing actors of any voice type.” Florez, in this performance of the King, was also described as being one of the “wonders of the current operatic world.” Of note are the melodic ascending and descending high register bel canto notes sung by both soprano and tenor voices. Michele Mariotti, a fast-rising young Italian conductor, was commended for drawing “hushed, gentle and transparent playing from the inspired Met orchestra.”
Scottish director Paul Curran produced the staging, with setting in a co-production with Santa Fe Opera, site of the premier performance one year ago. The stage is described as an open, decorated floor simulating the Scottish countryside, on which can be placed, in addition to performers, a variety of objects in which dramatic situations can unfold, such as trees simulating a forest or banners at times of battles. Effective lighting produces a highly atmospheric background environment with moody twilight skies. One reviewer indicated, “If you miss this opera, you miss an event.”
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.