CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua Opera begins its 2012 season with a new production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday. This is a one-night-only special event in the Amphitheater.
Gaetano Donizetti's most famous opera will be presented by Chautauqua Opera accompanied by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Set in the craggy moors of Scotland, two men control the destiny of Lucia of Lammermoor Castle. Her brother Enrico, in order to further his own political ambitions, demands that she marry a stranger, while Edgardo, the man she secretly loves, too easily believes that she is unfaithful. As she is pulled apart by these opposing forces, the fragile Lucia is driven insane, with violent results.
Making her Chautauqua Opera debut as Lucia is the remarkable soprano Rachelle Durkin, who recently appeared in the Metropolitan Opera production and HD broadcast of Philip Glass' "Satyagraha" as well as the national radio broadcast of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale." Joining Durkin onstage are tenor Gregory Carroll as Edgardo, who thrilled Chautauqua audiences in Verdi's "Luisa Miller" last year; Todd Thomas, a favorite both at Chautauqua Opera and on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera, as Enrico; and bass-baritone Richard Bernstein, also a Metropolitan Opera mainstay, in the role of Raimondo. Three 2012 Chautauqua Opera Young Artists join the cast: Jason Wickson as Normanno, Courtney Miller as Alisa and Adam Bonanni as Arturo.
"Lucia di Lammermoor" fills Chautauqua's historic Amphitheater with melodic invention and the most famous "Mad Scene" in opera. This new production will be staged by Jay Lesenger, general/artistic director. Maestro Joseph Colaneri returns to Chautauqua to conduct the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. He has previously conducted 10 Chautauqua Opera productions and numerous productions at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera.
"Lucia di Lammermoor" will be sung in Italian with English surtitles. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at www.chqtickets.com or by calling 357-6250.
Chautauqua Opera is the oldest continuously operating summer opera company in the United States. Each season it presents a variety of events for opera lovers of all ages, including fully staged productions at Chautauqua Institution's historic Amphitheater and Norton Hall, featuring nationally recognized casts.