Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” was staged recently at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with a cast and artistic team composed of singers and artists of different nationalities, which truly speaks of the universality of music.
At the gala, the singing of Philippine-American tenor Arthur Espiritu as Edgardo was faultless.
His voice was in full radiance in the two arias he sang almost in succession in the last act; they towered above the tutti of the orchestra. His cadenza in “Fra poco a me ricovero“ was met with astounding shouts of bravo. His singing was so moving it brought a big lump in everyone’s throat.
Armenian-Spanish-French soprano Melody Louledjian cut a regal, patrician presence on the stage that befitted Lucia’s aristocratic bearing. There was ease in her acting and her singing disclosed a light texture that was well-oiled in the middle register.
Obviously, Louledjian reserved her vocal might for the rendition of the mad scene aria “Il dolce souno” and the ensuing cabaletta, “Spargi d’amaro pianto” that lasted for almost 20 minutes, complete with running around the stage and rolling on the floor!
Baritone Byeong-In Park essayed the role of Lord Enrico with finesse, capably projecting resonant high notes. Likewise, Chinese bass Shi Zong, as the Calvinist minister, projected well his voice with much depth.
Camille Lopez-Molina was a capable Alisa and rendered “Regnava“ with compelling interest. Ivan Nery as Arturo intoned the cavatina, “Per poco fra le tenebre,“ brilliantly. Nohmer Nival as Normanno sang with equal ease. Viva Voce and Friends, showed impressive vocal intonation.
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra conducted was Alessandro Palumbo delivered well. Direction by Vincenzo Travaglini showed an intelligent understanding of the score, marking well the orchestral part for the action to commence. A full opera production is no joke cost-wise and “Lucia de Lamermoor” was made possible by support from the Rustan’s Group of Companies led by Zenaida Tantoco; Filipinas Opera Society Foundation Inc. chaired by Fredesvinda Consunji; and the Italian Embassy led by Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino. —CONTRIBUTED