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
 

Visit our Lucia di Lammermoor page for tickets, more details, audio examples, media spotlights and a full synopsis.