• Lucia di Lammermoor Educator Guide

What to Expect from Lucia di Lammermoor

The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor unfurls a tight tapestry of family honor, forbidden love, heartbreak, madness, and death. Mary Zimmerman’s exploration of Sir Walter Scott’s shocking 1819 novel The Bride of Lammermoor led her down winding roads in Scotland, where her imagination was fed by the country’s untamed vistas and abandoned castles. That journey shaped her ghost-story-inspired vision for the production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. The character of Lucia has become an icon in opera and beyond, an archetype of the constrained woman asserting herself in society. She reappears as a touchstone for such diverse later characters as Flaubert’s adulterous Madame Bovary and the repressed Englishmen in the novels of E.M. Forster. The insanity hat overtakes and destroys Lucia, depicted in opera’s most celebrated mad scene, has especially captured the public imagination. Donizetti’s handling of this fragile woman’s state of mind remains seductively beautiful, thoroughly compelling, and deeply disturbing. Madness as explored in this opera is not merely something that happens as a plot function: it is at once a personal tragedy, a political statement, and a healing ritual.

  • Classroom Activities

    Two full-length classroom activities, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.
  • Musical Highlights

    Three "Musical Highlights" designed to focus briefly on bits of music from Lucia di Lammermoor to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts.

Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met

The tale is set in Scotland, which, to artists of the Romantic era, signified a wild landscape on the fringe of Europe, with a culture burdened by a French-derived code of chivalry and an ancient tribal system. Civil war and tribal strife are recurring features of Scottish history, creating a background of fragmentation reflected in both Lucia’s family situation and her own fragile psyche. Director Mary Zimmerman and set designer Daniel Ostling visited Culzean Castle in Scotland for inspiration for the production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Zimmerman has loosely set the drama in a time that edges towards the Victorian period, a time which exerts a kind of pressure on the female form as well as the psyche, thus creating the perfect backdrop for Lucia. In the Met’s HD presentation, superstar soprano Anna Netrebko bring her signature glamour, vocal excitement, and dramatic conviction to the title role.

This guide is designed to help students understand the craft, appreciate the art, and experience the passion that have endeared Lucia di Lammermoor to generations of operagoers. Through a variety of activities involving close listening and analysis, the guide seeks to enrich young people’s enjoyment of The Met: Live in HD production.

The synopsis can be found here.