|Brenda Rae | Photo credit Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera|
Zachary Nelson’s stentorian voice embraced the character of Lucia’s wicked brother Enrico with obsessive determination. His visceral expressiveness was matched equally well by Mario Chang in the role of Lucia’s lover Edgardo. Christian Van Horn’s basso profundo terrifically anchored the countenance of Chaplain Raimondo. Sarah Coit wonderfully conveyed steadfast yet cautionary advice as Lucian’s companion Alisa. Stephen Martin’s Normanno supported Enrico with loyal fervor. Carlos Santelli fulfilled the role of the bridegroom who was murdered by Lucia on their wedding night. Because of the excellent casting, all of the ensemble numbers, including the famous sextet at the ill-fated wedding, were stunning.
|Mario Chang and Zachary Nelson| Photo credit Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera|
Also under Daniels’ direction, the chorus seemed completely disengaged when the blood-stained Lucia appeared in front of them. No one showed any sign of shock or surprise even briefly. It was as if they expected her to join them in a merry glass of brandy.
The scenic design of Riccardo Hernandez featured high walls on three sides of the stage, which conveyed the imposing yet prison-like confinement of the castes. But projections designed by Peter Nigrini that should have presented the outdoor scenes were not effective. Lighting designed by Christopher Akerlind deftly evoked a fountain of blood when Lucia related her dream of a murdered young woman.
The orchestra, led by Corrando Rovaris, sounded terrific, balancing deftly the voices throughout the evening, The star of the orchestra, though, was Kern, who is a magician with the glass harmonica.
Bottom line, Brenda Rae was in her element as Lucia. She has been making a name for herself in European opera houses and hopefully she will be back in the States soon.
|Christian Van Horn and Opera Chorus | Photo credit Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera|