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Orpheus 1/1975 Opera letter from America excerpt: NYCO - Lucia di Lammermoor - August 1974 English Translation © Heidi Hochstein Because the highlights of the Met season were scarce in the first few months, one had to go to the other side of the Lincoln Center where the New York City Opera, under their imaginitive boss JULIUS RUDEL offered a more wide-ranging selection. Certainly, even at the City Opera, there are performances that should be avoided, many young singers start here and not everyone lives up to ones' expectations. But the repertoire is so irrisistibly unusual and also it costs half as much than at the Met. No wonder that the City Opera has found a particularly devoted permanent audience.
The season started brilliantly. BEVERLY SILLS and JOSE CARRERAS were marvelous as the unhappy lovers Lucia de Lammermoor and Edgardo de Ravenswood. I believe that today no other singer and other theatre are in such harmony with each other as Sills is with City Opera. The cleverness of the clearthinking and far sighted Julius Rudel is the reason that New York can experience and admire the singer in her almost unbelievable diversity of roles. In this autumn season alone she sang the threesome of the Donizetti Queens in Roberto Devereux, Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda as well as Lucia de Lammermoor and Bellini's I Puritani.
The Lucia in TITO CAPOBIANCOS interesting 1969 staging was a real horror story, very much structured after Walter Scotts romanticism, even provided witches, directly from McBeth. A heaviness hung over the scenes, shrouded in mist so that it was clear right from the beginning that Lucia was a bit feeble, a bit crazy. She clung to Edgardo in hysteria, confronted her brother in agonizing dispair and already seemed to have lost her senses in the sextet, that the mad scene, as a logical conclusion, "crowned" her very short life. So, that was the stubborn Lucia by Beverly Sills. She sang with her usual style but sometimes did have difficulties with the added high notes above the high C.
A sensation in the truest meaning of the word offered the young Spanish tenor. Jose Carreras, who in 1972 began his international career without a fanfare at the New York Opera. His lyrical voice with a velvety timbre sounds secure in all registers, he possesses a unusually high musicality, looks gorgeous and acts convincingly.
A baritone from Puerto Rico, PABLO ELVIRA as Enrico Ashton sang his best, was impressive with his smooth voice, an important gain for the City Opera. Whereas the Italian MAURIZIO MAZZIERI with a wooden bass and stiff acting (in the mad scene, Sills had to hold the dagger right under his nose before he finally took it) was a sad failure. And it would have to happen in this staging that the role of Raimondo was done without lines!