Lucia di Lammermoor at Cutler Majestic Theater

Cutler Majestic Theater of Emerson College, (c)

The absolute pouring rain + thunder + lighting + snow-melted flood last night didn’t keep me from venturing to the Cutler Majestic Theater in the theater district of Boston for a performance of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor by the Teatro Lirico D’Europa company. It’s a non-profit opera company from Bulgaria that tours every year in the US and Europe. This is their 12th consecutive tour here, although I heard next year they won’t be in boston any more 😦 . The theater is very beautifully decorated on the inside and seats 976 people. I hope it was the bad weather that kept the patrons away because the theater was about 1/3 empty, so they allowed me to move to the front Mezzanine (i was below the surtitles!!). As soon as the curtain opened, I wish I were here last year to see Tancredi with Ewa Podles! The view was fantastic, I could see the eye make-up of the lead singer (which is to say I was VERY close).
The complete cast:
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Teatro Lirico D’Europa company
Enrico — Plamen Dimitrov
Lucia — Melodi Alesi
Alisa — Viara Zhelezova
Edgardo — Igor Borko
Arturo — Yuri Nikolov
Normanno — Arseni Arsov
Raimondo — William Powers
Krassimir Topolov conducting

Igor Borko has a very nice and strong voice and he sang pianissimo wonderfully as well.

The orchestra accommodated the singers very well even though at the beginning I was afraid it was too loud. When Edgardo was singing softly, the accompanying violin was as soft as little mice on their toes. Lucia is sung by Melodi Alesi. I can’t say I’m quite fan of her voice; it’s not in the warm family. However, she sang superbly beautiful in the duet with Edgardo during the rings exchange. The mad scene (my first time seeing/hearing it) was as dramatic as you can get, the poor woman! It helps that she already looked a bit like a mad woman when she was sane (something in her look), so you can almost predict the inevitable. There was also a sextet (I think, seems like all major characters were singing) when Lucia signed her death wish–wedding certificate and Edgardo barged in

very nice mix of voices! (how cool, Colin Lee is in that clip! I like him!!) The sextet last night was not as good vocally as from this clip but offered more drama (something about the zooming cameras here that takes away the big picture).
The production is very simple with just a staircase at the center (what you see in the clip with Igor Borko singing above, i like it a lot, less distraction). Here are some pictures provided by the company (with a different lead singer). Since I was close enough, i could see the singers having to pay attention going up and down those little steps. It reminded of me an interview where Vivica Genaux said producers love steps but they’re nightmares for singers. Altogether, a very nice evening, totally worth getting wet (was soaked by the time i got home). They’re performing again today, with Olga Orlovskaya in the title role. If I hadn’t signed up for a dance class already, I’d show up to hear her voice. The company will have another production, La Traviata, coming up early March. I’ll be there. Here’re a couple of curtain call photos from last night performance.


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

6 Responses to Lucia di Lammermoor at Cutler Majestic Theater

  1. Woman! You’re blogging every day! I need to up my ante! And the quality of images that you make… amazing. Must be my awful camera: if I zoom in, my image is inevitably blurred.

    • thả diều says:

      i still wish i were here 1 yr ago ago when Ewa Podles was in that exact theater! it’s such a small and intimate theater, though i don’t like the balcony overhanging more than 1/2 of the Mezzanine.

      u know it took me ages to sort out those low light pictures! since i ended up taking pix all the time in low lights, my criterion was a good low light camera when my last one broke. anyhow, once you’ve got your hand on 1, the trick is 1) flash off, 2) timer on 2 sec, 3) hold very still, aim and click (2 sec delay b/c of timer, but less blurry that way). I managed 1st 2 nights of Alcina but couldn’t manage at all that last night. it also depends how long the singers stand still. if noone cares for them, they bow quickly and leave, then no chance to snap snap! if all fails, capture a movie, then extract the frames 🙂

    • Now if I can only find the timer settings, I’d be sailin’…

  2. Purity McCall says:

    Hey you are making me so regret the times I have been in Boston for work and not done the cultural scene as spent all my money in NYC! But now I know what to look out for over there, thanks!

    So glad the move has gone well. I guess it helps you know the city, a friend recently moved from Edinburgh to Bangalore and is clinging to some reserach that says it takes 21 days to put down a routine in a new context, and then it begins to feel better. Have to say though with the amount of travelling I do I think I have that down to 21 hours (find wifi, find nice bar with view of people/streets/local life, get to know at least one person on staff at hotel/bar/cafe on first name basis). But still, the upheaval is always disconcerting.

    I wonder how smaller places like Boston will ride out the ongoing financial storm around the arts? Is the Bulgarian no-show part of that?

    • thả diều says:

      Purity, welcome back from trip. i’m shocked to hear that you came to boston only to fly to NY! 😉
      and can you believe it, I just found out Boston Lyric Opera will perform a free Agrippina at the Boston public library this March! and Ingeborg Danz and Bernada Fink will be here in April and May and I’ll get to hear them live for $20 thanks to the BSO $20<40 program. And i haven't looked through the Longy School of Music canlendar of performance yet! Ja, if there's a town i can take anyone on a proper tour, this would be it :-).

      Yes, i think the economy is what driving the Bulgarian out of town 😦 at least i heard from 1 newspaper (that they're being driven out.) That's too bad because these companies make operas a bit more affordable. And i read somewhere these traveled-musicians hardly make any money. there's a nobel-prized economist who'll give a talk this week i think about why so many people are out of job at the same time when so many jobs are available, i should look it up and attend the talk.

      your routine of getting to know a town is pretty efficient indeed. mine usually involves finding wifi, looking immediately for a noodle-soup place, buying bread so as not to starve in middle of the night due to jet-lag, then finally searching for fun things to do in town :-).

  3. Eyesometric says:

    “producers love steps but they’re nightmares for singers.”
    How true. Audience members can forget that each set of steps on stage has a corresponding set behind or in the wings. Long or bulky dresses, strange shoes, swords and other hazards when mixed with dim light or darkness are a recipe for disaster. If the singers do a good job then nothing of the internal worry they feel will be apparent. The steps, stairs or gantries are favoured by directors as they make for good pictures with different levels and can be effective (and cheap) !
    Hear, hear – excellent pix.

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