The Lucias of San Francisco Opera
Gaetano Donizetti’s beloved bel canto opera Lucia di Lammermoor returns to the War Memorial Opera House stage this October after seven years. The new production will be directed by Michael Cavanagh and stars soprano Nadine Sierra as Lucia and Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as Edgardo.
Donizetti’s fiftieth opera debuted in Naples on September 26, 1835, and this year marks its 180th anniversary. Salvador Cammarano, stage director and house librettist for the San Carlo Royal Theater in Naples, based the libretto on Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel The Bride of Lammermoor.
The most recent production, from 2008, featured the Company debut of French coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay in the title role. The live simulcast at AT&T Park that year drew about 23,000 attendees.
Lucia has been performed in 23 previous seasons at San Francisco Opera and to celebrate its return, here is a photo journal of the many distinguished artists who have performed the title role. Some of these photographs are from one of the most horrific and haunting scenes in the operatic repertoire, when Lucia goes mad at the end of Act II (“Il dolce suono…”) because she thinks that her suitor Edgardo has betrayed her by renouncing his love for her.
Natalie Dessay, 2008. Photo: Terrence McCarthy Tracy Dahl, 1999. Photo: Len Friedman
Ruth Ann Swenson, 1994. Photo: Marty Sohl
Gianna Rolandi, 1986. Photo: Ron Scherl
Ashley Putnam, 1981. Photo: Ron Scherl
Beverly Sills (Lucia) and Luciano Pavarotti (Edgardo), 1972. Photo: Ken Howard
Margherita Rinaldi, 1968. Photo: Margaret Norton
Joan Sutherland, 1961. Photo: Carolyn Mason Jones