Lucia di Lammermoor: Live in HD Transmission Transcript

READ: Costanzo Show Intro

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Hi, I'm Anthony Roth Costanzo.  Now if you're wondering what's up with the shaved head, the answer is Akhnaten. Welcome to today's performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti's 19th century classic that has been a staple of the Met's repertory ever since our first season in 1883.  Based on the Sir Walter Scott novel, Lucia has a heroine beset with tragedy., forced by her own brother into an unwanted marriage that drives her to desperate measures.

While past Met productions have honored its historical setting in the Scottish Highlands, this new Lucia shakes out the cobwebs.  Director Simon Stone's riveting production takes place right in the present, in a depressed, Rust Belt town in the heartland of America.  It provides an immediacy to the story that just grabs you and won't let you go.

The citizens of this town are suffering from the ills that plague other declining cities – crime, apathy and opioid addiction.  Soprano Nadine Sierra vocally a Lucia for the ages is our heroine, hoping that her love for Edgardo will be her chance for a way out.  Dazzling tenor Javier Camarena is Edgardo, who reciprocates Lucia’s love, but sadly doesn’t stand a chance.

And stentorian baritone Artur Ruciński is Lucia’s manipulative brother Enrico, determined to force Lucia into a marriage with a man she doesn’t love for his own financial gain.  Maestro Riccardo Frizza is ready to go to the pit.  Here is Lucia di Lammermoor.

Stage Manager Cue

STAGE MANAGER:  Maestro to the pit, please.  Maestro to the pit.

TRANSITION: Cam 22 carry Sierra & Camarena from bed to DSR


INTERVIEW: Costanzo w/ Nadine Sierra & Javier Camarena


JS:  Hi, sorry, sorry, sorry. 


JS:  I’m like, lost.  I’m like, where am I supposed to go?

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Where am I – that was amazing.

JS:  Thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Javier, that was so amazing.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  What an incredible first act, you two.

NADINE SIERRA:  Thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  So okay.  I want to ask.  I need to know.  I have questions.



ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  How does this contemporary telling of Lucia change the understanding of, of your characters?

NADINE SIERRA:  Yeah, it changes a lot.


NADINE SIERRA:  Well, and I think because – so we’re modern-day people.  We’ve lived modern day things.  And because this setting is modern day, in a way I think we can put more of ourselves into it.  So in a way, we’re, we’re relating more to it because literally we’re acting like ourselves, but just through the characters.


NADINE SIERRA:  Giving the characters our own modern-day heartbeat, literally.


JAVIER CAMARENA:  Yeah, yeah, no first of all, hola Mexico and hola to my family in Switzerland.

NADINE SIERRA:  And mine in Florida.  Hi.

JAVIER CAMARENA:  Yeah, woo.  So, um, yeah, it’s, it, it becomes more human.  That’s, that’s my, my, my feeling.


JAVIER CAMARENA:  It’s somebody you can relate to, somebody you can, uh, be, you know, in, in contact –


JAVIER CAMARENA:  -- in your daily life.


JAVIER CAMARENA:  So I think that’s, that’s most, uh, important.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And we really feel that.

NADINE SIERRA:  That’s good.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It comes straight across to us.  But another unique thing about this production is you have cameras everywhere following you around, tracking your every move.

NADINE SIERRA:  Yeah, oh yeah.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  How does that affect your performances?

NADINE SIERRA:  It, it just makes it, um – maybe it makes it a little bit more intense because right, you’re, you’re trying to put in certain details in your face in, in any expression that you do, since the camera lens is so close-up.  It’s very believable.



NADINE SIERRA:  Um, and, and true to yourself, genuine to yourself.  So perhaps, hopefully for the audience out there, it makes, it makes it a bit more touchable, more tangible.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Yeah, and you’re so natural.  It’s incredible.

NADINE SIERRA:  I try, I try.


NADINE SIERRA:  Oh, I try my best.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  How do you feel with the camera looking, bearing down on you?

JAVIER CAMARENA:  I don’t have the camera following me so, so much.


JAVIER CAMARENA:  But I think it’s, it’s a great resource for the audience –


JAVIER CAMARENA:  At least, I don’t know how it’s looking, everybody in the HD, but here, the – at the theater, you can relate and be closer to the, to the characters because their story is happening at the same time.


JAVIER CAMARENA:  And then you can see Lucia being herself without the influence of the brother.


JAVIER CAMARENA:  And you know, it's –

NADINE SIERRA:  You just see it more up close.





NADINE SIERRA:  Which is something we don’t get in opera a lot.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It’s so true.  Now your voices, they blend so beautifully.  I mean, that duet we just heard is amazing.  How much of that happens naturally and how much do you have to kind of work and listen and adjust?

NADINE SIERRA:  I don’t know.  I think it happens – I mean, we’re just –


NADINE SIERRA:  Yeah, we’re just being ourselves.


NADINE SIERRA:  And I think Javier and I, we have a – I know I for Javier have a very big respect.

JAVIER CAMARENA:  (indiscernible) –

NADINE SIERRA:  Not just for –


NADINE SIERRA:  Yeah, not just for Javier as an artist, of course, but, but really as a person, as a human being.  And I think, I don’t know, already with that respect and sort of that love for each other, um, perhaps the voices just mix well because of that.  Simply because of that.

JAVIER CAMARENA:  The Latin heart as well.

NADINE SIERRA:  Yeah, the Latin heart.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  The Latin heart is going to carry us through.  Well, Nadine, Javier, what a great performance.  Thank you for speaking and –

NADINE SIERRA:  Thank you.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  -- Nadine, I’m going to see you at the second intermission.

NADINE SIERRA:  That’s right.



READ: Costanzo throw to tape

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  As we just heard, this bold new production has unlocked new aspects of the characters for our principle artists.  We recently spoke to the Director Simon Stone and Set Designer Lizzie Clachan about why they chose to relocate Lucia’s setting, and what they discovered in the process.

ROLL-IN B: Lucia Creative Team

SIMON STONE:  So the original, uh, Lucia took place in 18th century Scotland and the fall of the aristocracy. It was really important to the original opera is this notion that, that, uh, the end of a glorious era in the Scottish aristocracy, uh, brings with it all kinds of poverty and decay and using women to kind of regain a certain kind of power.

I always try and set any opera that I do in the country that I'm putting it on in, because I'm always trying to somehow speak to the audience that, that, that are, um, matching it.  Uh, in this case, uh, I was trying to find a place in America where I thought it reflects that sense of, of, a bygone glorious era. Immediately, uh, the most evocative place that I thought of was the Rust Belt.

LIZZIE CLACHAN:  We've chosen the kind of Rust Belt sort of Michigan area. It’s a place that has experienced great prosperity and wealth and has gone into a decline. And there are real sort of struggles in the community, and all that feels really ripe for the Lucia story, the human story.  But also it's, uh, an area which is, you know, has so much iconography in terms of the kind of great American capitalist past, I think of sort of movies screens and you know, the big industrial plants. I'm watching documentaries about the opioid crisis. I'm learning about the Flint water crisis. I'm learning about the steel industry and the automobile industry in Detroit.  And also, you know, we understand a lot of this area to be very boarded up, shuttered down. So there's a lot of texture and it really allows you to sort of examine the story from a contemporary sense.  And, uh, from a political, cultural sense, it's just a whole different way of, of designing for the piece.

SIMON STONE:  We're trying to go through a trip through a whole town, get a sense of the whole world of this opera.

LIZZIE CLACHAN:  So we have multi locations, we have a house and a, a pharmacy, a supermarket, a movie theater, a waterworks.

SIMON STONE:  So the audience can make all sorts of associations. All of a sudden, uh, with what traditionally is set in one room for per act.

LIZZIE CLACHAN:  Well, Simon and I have done – both done quite a lot of work with revolves and sort of understanding how it can sort of deliver theatrically.  And you have this very sort of ever evolving sculptural sort of experience. So it feels like you're on this epic journey, I think throughout the piece. Because we're looking at this on a large screen, as well as on a large stage, it really means that it's constantly juggling between doing a sort of cinematic finish, on some of these set pieces, as well as then also being able to read in a large opera house with the stage very far away. So, there’s a real mixture of the epic and the very small and, and it's, it's, it stands the test of time on, on, on the camera.

SIMON STONE:  Well, the video is about creating a sense of Lucia’s perspective. A lot of the opera is a group of men singing about the future or the destiny of, of a woman but, who just kind of responds to what she’s told to do. And certainly that kind of giving a voice to the person who has their voice stolen from them is really important in the production and really important politically. So we use the video because we can't change the libretto and we can't give her more scenes. But what we can do is make sure that people are seeing the parts of her personality that are not just from the male perspective. I came in, I explained that the concept of the production, we started rehearsing it. We, we we'd rehearsed the whole thing in three days, the singers were – they were just like, okay, great, great, fantastic. Oh, maybe I could do that then maybe I could do that there. Maybe I could do that there. They're just so inventive.  When you're a director, you don't want your ideas to be the end of the process. You want it to be the catalyst, the beginning of the process. And if the work can't get better than the ideas that you've had, then it'll only be one person's imagination. But this production is the imagination of every single person that worked on it because everyone responded by saying yes and let me try this as well. And I think you can witness that in the kind of multifaceted, uh, myriad, uh, details, uh, of, of the work that we've all created. And that is very much the work of every single person that worked on it.

INTERVIEW: Costanzo w/ Jason Hamilton

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I’m always fascinated by the creative process.  And this production’s constantly rotating turntable set is certainly complex.  The additional live video component means the myriad props are often seen in close-up, which is an extra challenge for the Met’s Prop Master Jason Hamilton, who joins me now.  Jason, hi.  Welcome.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  So I want to know, how does this production rank in terms of the number of props?

JASON HAMILTON:  Oh this is, uh, probably the biggest show that we’ve had this season, not only this season, probably in a very, very long time.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Wow, this is like –

JASON HAMILTON:  Yeah, lots and lots of props.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  -- the Guinness Book of World Records of the Met.

JASON HAMILTON:  Uh, close to it, close to it, yes, definitely.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Okay.  How many props would you say are used, if you had to estimate?

JASON HAMILTON:  Oh we probably have, uh, three times as many props in this act alone than we do in all of let’s say Tosca.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Oh my gosh.  Sounds like hundreds.

JASON HAMILTON:  Yeah, so, yeah.  Hundreds, yeah, thousands.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Okay, now I want to know about the cars and pickup trucks.  They have a major role in this production.

JASON HAMILTON:  They do.  We have, uh, we have a pickup truck, we have a Centra.  And then we have an orange Pinto.


JASON HAMILTON:  I know, an orange Pinto.  I mean, how often do you get to say, let’s go sit at the orange Pinto and take it apart onstage, right?  Yeah.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Do you, do you have to refill the gas on them or do you roll them?

JASON HAMILTON:  Thank goodness there’s no gas, yeah.



ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Well, as we can see all around us, the crew is readying the stage for Lucia’s big wedding scene.  What are the props that you’re going to be using in the wedding scene?

JASON HAMILTON:  Well, we have some, uh, wedding cake here.  And, uh, our amazing scenic shop was able to put together, uh, half of a fake cake.  We have a real cake.  Uh, they were able to bake some, uh, lasagna for us, uh, in the scenic shop.  Uh, and some sandwiches.  Uh, the only real thing we have here are some of the cheesy puffs.


JASON HAMILTON:  Yeah, yeah.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Look at all that food.  So how do you decide –

JASON HAMILTON:  It looks delicious!

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  How do you decide what you make and what the Met purchases, and you know, how delicious is that lasagna?

JASON HAMILTON:  It, it depends on who decide – uh, who is actually going to eat what thing and, and, and who is going to just carry something, honestly.



ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And do you have your own prop shopper who goes and sources?

JASON HAMILTON:  We do.  We have an amazing prop shopper that goes and buys a lot of this stuff.  And we have an amazing, uh, shop that, that’s able to build, uh, all of the stuff for it.



ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  This is such a huge undertaking and a huge department.  Thank you, and also, congrats for pulling this all off.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It’s an amazing feat.

JASON HAMILTON:  I have a great supporting cast, so can’t do it alone.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  You sure do.  Great to talk to you.

JASON HAMILTON:  All right, great talking to you.  Thank you.

READ: Costanzo Neubauer / Toll / Throw to break

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  The Met’s Live in HD series is made possible thanks to its founding sponsor, the Neubauer Family Foundation.  Digital support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.  The Met’s Live in HD series is supported by Rolex.  Today’s performance of Lucia di Lammermoor is also being heard over the Toll Brothers Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.  We’ll be back after a break.

READ: Costanzo Ukraine Spotlight & CD Release

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Just a few days after Russia began its brutal invasion of Ukraine, the Met stepped up and launched a series of initiatives to support the Ukrainian people.  One of the most powerful of these endeavors was the Concert for Ukraine on March 14th.  This performance brought together the incomparable Met Orchestra and Chorus, and some of the leading lights in opera today, all under the baton of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.  And now, this moving concert is being released on CD for all of us to savor.  Here are a few highlights.

ROLL-IN C: Ukraine concert highlights



READ: Costanzo Ukraine Outro

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  What a remarkable performance that was.  A Concert for Ukraine will be released digitally on June 10th, and the CD will be available for pre-order the same day at  Proceeds go to UNICEF and the Red Cross to support Ukrainian relief efforts. 

INTERVIEW: Costanzo w/ Artur Ruciński

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Now let’s go back to Lucia.  I’m delighted that I get to speak with our Enrico, baritone Artur Ruciński.  Hi Artur.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  You sound amazing.

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Thank you so much.  Nice to hear that.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  No, in any setting of this opera, Enrico might be considered the villain.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  But how do you see him?

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  From the beginning, when I spoke the first time with Simon Stone, who is the Director of this piece, um, I, um, had that vision in my head, uh, how Enrico will, uh, looks like and how I will act.  Because, um, when I saw the staging and when (indiscernible) this piece, I saw him as a person who’s from the beginning broken. He is actually, uh, addicted to drugs and, um, alcohol and, uh, cigarettes.  And he’s losing his power and his gang and his mafia.  He’s losing this group.  That’s why he tries forcing Lucia to marry Arturo, who is a very rich guy.  And because of Arturo and his money, Enrico wants to get back his influences, his power in this criminal group, you know?


ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  So this is character, which, um, which I created from the beginning.  And actually, the inspiration, I would say, um, for my acting was of course from the criminal films and, uh, maybe even Putin, who is, you know, uh, represented purist evil.  So I am pure evil in this piece.  No, but I don’t care about anybody.  I am selling their lives and, uh, this is, uh, you know, my inspiration, uh, for this character.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  That’s amazing.  It’s chilling.  We can feel it coming straight through.  I mean, I have to comment.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I love the tattoos, all of them.

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Thank you, thank you.  Yeah, they are expressing my character.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Yeah, and but, so tell us, first of all, how long does it take to get them on and off?

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Well, uh, when – before the show I need 40 minutes to put on the – all the tattoos.  And then, another 40 minutes to remove them all.  And this is interesting, how we remove them.  We are using, uh, permanent, uh, the packing tape.  You know, yeah, we need to rip them off.


ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Yeah, this – there’s no other option because the – you know, they stick so strong, you know, to my body that there is no other option.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Oh my god.  That sounds pain – I just got waxed for Akhnaten, not packing tape.  Packing tape sounds worse than that.

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  I know I saw you when you were – yeah, so I have (indiscernible), actually.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Yeah, exactly.  So do they have special significance.  Do you know what they mean in your mind or –?

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Actually, you know everything, what I have on my face and, uh, on my chest or even my hands, you will see it later in the last act.  It’s expressing exactly my evil, my brutality.  Like I said, Enrico has many issues.  He’s not controlling himself.  He’s drug addicted.  So his behaviors are really explosive, brutal and out of control.  And this, this is what I want to show the audience and, uh, through this character and through my singing as well.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It comes across in the tone as much as it does in the tattoos, so –

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Yeah, yeah.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  In the next act, we will see this really dramatic confrontation –


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  -- between Enrico and Lucia.  And it’s perhaps, I would say, the pivotal scene of the opera.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Tell us what you’ll be trying to convey in that duet?

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  This is in essence what we are doing and who Enrico actually is.  So in – somehow he’s pretending a kind person to Lucia, and he’s, uh, selling her lies, of course, why he wants to do it and just for family and blah, blah, blah.  But honestly, he is exactly, uh, uh, what this character is.  I mean, I, I’m forcing her to marry this Arturo.  And, uh, with Nadine, it’s a great, uh, opportunity because we know each other for a long time. We sang at already many productions, including Lucia di Lammermoor in, uh, (indiscernible).  And because we, um, we have this special connection between us, we were able to cross kind of borders, you know, acting to each other, using violence.  And, uh, show, uh, my character and her innocent because she’s 17 years old.


ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  And what I am doing, actually, I’m abusing her physically, mentally.  And, uh, this is, uh, actually, like you mentioned, the most important scene in this and showing the real character of Enrico.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It’s so powerful, the chemistry between you two, so –

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Thank you, thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Congratulations on this extraordinary –

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Thank you so much.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  -- run of performances.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And thanks for speaking to me.  Toi, toi, toi.

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  Can I send more greetings to my family in Poland?

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Please, send them.

ARTUR RUCIŃSKI:  [SPEAKS POLISH] And glory to Ukraine, my friends.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Glory to Ukraine, what he said.



READ: Costanzo Intro to Act II

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  At the end of the first act, Lucia and Edgardo have exchanged rings and pledged their love for one another.  But as you may have guessed, their happiness will be fleeting.  Here is Act II of Lucia di Lammermoor.

TRANSITION: Cam 22 carry Sierra SL to USL Hardwood


INTERVIEW: Costanzo w/ Nadine Sierra

NADINE SIERRA:  Anthony.  Anthony.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Nadine.  My ears are ringing from that last high note.

NADINE SIERRA:  Oh thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Oh my god, it was gorgeous.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It was gorgeous.

NADINE SIERRA:  Thank you.



ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  You are a queen of social media.  Let’s face it.  You are a queen.

NADINE SIERRA:  Thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And so, we asked a few of the Met’s followers to send questions for you.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Um, so here’s what they want to know.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  @sircyr on Instagram asks, “How do you manage your stress?  Chocolate?”

NADINE SIERRA: Chocolate.  No, no.  But, um, I manage my stress by exercising.  I exercise on a regular basis, just to like, kick out all the energy or, or pressures or whatever, whatever it may be in the day.  Um, I talk to my family.


NADINE SIERRA:  Especially my mommy.  Hi mommy.  And my daddy.  And, uh, my sisters, too.  So I feel very much supported.  So sometimes when I feel really stressed, I just, I think about my family and just normal life, you know?  That’s it.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  That’s why you’re so grounded.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And it comes across on stage.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Okay, no @nat_tastic_13 also on Instagram wants to know, and this is a question that I would like to ask, too.

NADINE SIERRA:  Okay, okay, ask.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  “How did you become such a goddess?”

NADINE SIERRA:  A goddess.  I don’t know.  I, I don’t – well, I – first, I don’t think of myself as a goddess.  I, I’m just me, you know?  I’m just myself, and, and I, I, I want to always be that, just, just Nadine, um, a girl who’s raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a very, very humble family, and that’s it.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Well, you’ve got natural talent, and then you do the hard work to make it sing, too.

NADINE SIERRA:  I try, I try.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Okay.  Now let’s talk about the mad scene.  It’s coming up.

NADINE SIERRA:  Okay, it’s coming up.  Woohoo.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Which everyone’s waiting for.  And you take the spotlight and you rivet the audience for 20 minutes.

NADINE SIERRA:  Is it 20 minutes?

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It’s 20 minutes.

NADINE SIERRA:  Wow, I didn’t know.  I didn’t realize that.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  What kind of preparation does that take?

NADINE SIERRA:  I don’t know.  Just to stay calm.  You know what?  Just to stay calm.  Um, to kind of pace myself mentally through the process.


NADINE SIERRA:  Like, okay, taking the mad scene by sections.  This is this part, then the next part, then the last part.  And, uh, going with the flow, keeping it as simple as possible, honestly.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  That is the best advice.

NADINE SIERRA:  Yeah, just –

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I’m going to steal that.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Keep it simple.  Well, it is such an impressive performance.

NADINE SIERRA:  Thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I’m always in awe of you.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I adore you so much.

NADINE SIERRA:  I love you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I love you.  Can’t wait for the next scene.

NADINE SIERRA:  And you are fabulous.  Akhnaten.


NADINE SIERRA:  Akhnaten.  Unbelievable.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I’ll be listening for your mad scene.  Toi, toi.

NADINE SIERRA:  Thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Have a great time.

NADINE SIERRA:  Thanks, bye, darling.

INTERVIEW:  Costanzo w/ Maestro Riccardo Frizza

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Now, I get to speak with the man in charge of the musical forces today, our conductor Riccardo Frizza.  Ciao, Maestro.

MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  Ciao, how are you?

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I’m good.  This sounds so amazing.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And it is – this piece is a staple of the opera repertory, both at the Met and beyond.  So what is it about the music that keeps audiences captivated?

MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  Well, honestly, I think that, uh, Donizetti is a great composer, but everybody knows – what the people are realizing now is that he’s just a great dramaturg.  So, the dramaturgy of the opera keep this opera so interesting every time, so you are always focused, and so your, your attention is always there.


MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  And probably, this is one of the reasons why Lucia is one of the best operas ever.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Yeah, and, and how do you feel in this production with this modern take on the story?

MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  I think, uh, this is the – we realize that Lucia could be done in every situation, because the story is, uh, is so modern, so contemporary.  So it could work in the 17th century, in the 18th century, 19th century, in our century, too.  So I think with a good, good experience for me to place this romantic music in that contemporary setting.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Well, that’s exactly it.  And the score is such a showcase of bel canto singing.  Tell us about your extraordinary cast, and how you’ve worked with them on their big arias and all their music.

MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  Well, I, I was very lucky because I got a great cast.  So you know, the – Nadine, everybody knows she’s, uh, so talented.  She’s – I always say to her she’s born to sing, you know, probably.  And also, Javier Camarena, we did so many, many operas together, so I know them and their voices very well.  I know how to, to follow, how to let breath.  You know, that’s very important, breathing, in this repertoire.  You’d know better than me.  Always, it’s important. Also because, if you go in – over stress during a 20-minute scene, you cannot go to the end.  So the pace is very important, the right tempo, not too fast, not too slow.  So be able to breathe with them, and understand when they’re in trouble, so you can help them.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  I wish every conductor were like you.  I mean, it’s so important.

MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  But you know, this is a, this is, uh, for me it’s the, it’s the bel canto is like that because I try to put them in the best situation to sing to do the best line possible with their voice.  Every voice is different.  Every performer is treating the line differently because they have a different instrument, a different way to think.  So what’s important for me is that they can do their best in the vocal line.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Well, it makes a huge difference and we hear it onstage.  So Maestro, thank you for all you’re doing and thank you for speaking to me.

MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  Thank you.  Thank you.


MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA:  Bocca lupo.  Thank you.

READ: Costanzo Neubauer / Throw to break

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  The Met’s Live in HD Series is made possible thanks to its founding sponsor, the Neubauer Family Foundation.  Digital support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.  The Met Live in HD Series is supported by Rolex.  We’ll be back after a break.

READ: Costanzo throw to tape

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Welcome back.  Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor has an incredibly rich history with this company.  So we visited with the Met’s Director of Archives, my friend Peter Clark to learn all about it. 

ROLL-IN E: Archives feature with Peter Clark

PETER CLARK:  So Lucia di Lammermoor is the tragic opera from the bel canto period that has been played the most at The Metropolitan Opera; there've been more than 600 performances of Lucia at the Met. In fact, the second night of the very first season in 1883 was a Lucia di Lammermoor. And it’s basically a vehicle, has always been in Met history, a vehicle for a leading soprano.

The very first Lucia was named Marcella Sembrich. She was a Polish soprano and was well-known for, not only the beauty of her voice, but, uh, her technical ability to sing all of this ornamental music. About a decade later, an Australian soprano named Nellie Melba came along and was the Met’s leading Lucia. Sometimes she would sing another role like Mimi in La Bohème, and at the end she would come out and sing the mad scene from Lucia just to give the audience a little extra reward for being there. And then about a decade after her, uh, a French soprano named Lily Pons came to the Met. Lily Pons was not known at all at the time. She was beautiful and quite tiny. This is her costume right here. You can see, look at the size of that waist. And her, uh, voice was a very high voice. She sang the role of Lucia, well, she sang the mad scene from Lucia another tone higher than everybody else sang it. So the top notes were sustained high Fs. She sang the opera for 25 years at the Met and sang it more often than anybody else. She did 93 performances of Lucia. So then, interestingly, after her the next really famous Lucia was in the 1950s, and there was a complete change of how Lucia was interpreted in the kind of voice, more than that, that you hear as Lucia. And that was with the great Greek American soprano Maria Callas. She had a dark voice, a more or less dramatic soprano voice. So her Lucia was much more of the wounded woman than the fragile young girl. And it really revolutionized how we saw, not just Lucia, but all of bel canto opera. So her successor, uh, immediate successor was another Australian named Joan Sutherland and Sutherland also had a very big voice like Callas’. And I think she's the first soprano to come out in Met history with blood spattered all over her in, in the mad scene, which was quite surprising, because up until then, Lucia had always been very ladylike. She had a very white gown like Lily Pons did. Um, and Sutherland, even though she had a big voice, could do the flowery, the coloratura, vocalises, and scales that any of the light voice sopranos could do, even better than a lot of them.  So there's a reason that Lucia di Lammermoor has had over 600 performances at the Met and that it has been popular over the long run. And it's, it's both that we have had great singers doing the part, but it's also that the music is really beautiful. It's very melodic. Lucia has these melodies that beautifully portray the inner life of the characters, that beautifully portray the emotional, and, quality that the singers are singing about, and that moves the audience.

READ: Costanzo Hamlet forward promote

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  What a legacy Lucia di Lammermoor has had at the Met.  After today’s performance, the Met has just one cinema transmission left this season.  It’s the company premiere of Australian composer Brett Dean’s virtuosic take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  The opera opened last week, and it caused a sensation.  I for one can’t think of anything more daunting than adapting Hamlet for the operatic stage.  But Dean, his librettist Matthew Jocelyn, and Director Neil Armfield not only pulled it off, they triumphed.

And, of course, they had help from tenor Allan Clayton, giving an unforgettable performance as the tormented Danish prince.  And from soprano Brenda Rae, who delivers a harrowing mad scene as Ophelia.  Here’s a look at Allan and Brenda in action during the final dress rehearsal.

ROLL-IN F: Hamlet excerpt

ALLAN CLAYTON: [SINGING] To sleep, to dream.  For in that dream of death, when we’re awaked… and borne before the everlasting – The undiscovered country… from whose bourn no traveller ever returns.

BRENDA RAE:  If you your chaste treasure open… or if you lose your heart… I did love you once… I loved you not.

READ: Costanzo PSA / Fundraising / 22-23 Season

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It’s so exciting when a bold composer dares to take on a classic work like Hamlet and transform it for the opera stage.  This new piece has been astonishing audiences with its brilliantly imaginative interpretation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.  And I know audiences will feel similarly when Hamlet is shown in cinemas two weeks from today. But as compelling as opera is on the big screen, you have to experience our artform live in the opera house to get the full effect.  Nothing compares to live opera here in the house, so please, come to the Met or visit your local opera company.  Whether it’s presenting an important new opera like Hamlet or staging an audacious reinterpretation of an operatic chestnut like today’s Lucia di Lammermoor, the Met is committed to keeping opera vital and thriving. But grand opera at the highest artistic level comes at a great expense, and ticket sales, they cover just a fraction of the costs.  The Met relies greatly on the generosity of our audiences like you.  If you’re able to make a donation to the Met, please call us at 1-800-MET-OPERA or visit us at to make a contribution.  We thank you so much for your support. The Met recently announced plans for next season’s Live in HD series, and the lineup is fabulous.  We open the fall cinema season with the Met’s premiere of Cherubini’s Medea, with the always amazing Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role.  Initially, it was made famous by Maria Callas.  Medea is the first of three Met premieres on next season’s Live in HD lineup. We also have Kevin Puts’ new opera, The Hours, based on the acclaimed novel and film, with the unbeatable trio of Kelli O’Hara, Joyce DiDonato and Renée Fleming in the principle roles.  Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be on the podium.  And Yannick is also conducting the Met premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Champion, with the blazing bass baritone Ryan Speedo Green as the tormented boxer, Emile Griffith.  Four other new productions are on the Live in HD schedule next season.  Giordano’s Fedora makes a rare return in a staging by David McVicar, with the luminous soprano Sonya Yoncheva in the title role.  Star tenor Piotr Beczala sings the title role in Wagner’s Lohengrin.  In François Girard’s new production, it’s the first new Lohengrin since 1998. And two Mozart operas have back-to-back new production premieres.  First, Director Ivo van Hove’s new vision for Don Giovanni with the charismatic baritone Peter Mattei in the title role.  And then, Simon McBurney’s fantastical Die Zauberflöte with beloved soprano Erin Morley as Pamina and leading tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Tamino. The cinema season also features revivals of Verdi’s Falstaff with the great Michael Volle in the title role, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with the incomparable Lisa Davidsen as the Marschallin.  And none other than our star today, Nadine Sierra, will take on a touchstone role of the operatic repertory when she sings Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. It’s sure to be an unforgettable cinema season.  In just a few minutes, the final act of Lucia will begin.  But first, I’m joined by our Raimondo, bass baritone Christian Van Horn.

INTERVIEW: Costanzo w/ Christian Van Horn

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  CVH, how’s it going?

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  ARC, it’s going great.  Thank you.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  You sound amazing.

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  Thank you, brother.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Bravo.  What a performance.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And just on a few days’ notice, I mean, you are stepping in for an ailing colleague.  Tell us, when did you get the call and what did you think?

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  I got it Sunday night real late, actually.


CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  And, uh, they said, “Do you want to sing Tuesday night?”  And I said, “Sure.  How quickly can we do this?”  And so, they, they pulled me from Rake’s rehearsal, The Rake’s Progress rehearsal.  And then, in a couple of hours I got the production and the evening of I got on the turntable a couple of times and that was it, let’s go.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  You are such a consummate pro.  I can’t believe it.  I mean, you, uh, you’ve performed many roles here before, but never, um, never have you performed this Lucia in this kind of Rust Belt production –


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  -- of contemporary America, what kind of impact does the setting have on your performance?

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  Uh, you know, emotion is emotion and people can relate to it regardless of what time period or what setting we’re in.  So if we’re dealing with murder, if we’re dealing with heartbreak, if we’re dealing with all of these things that everybody can relate to, the setting doesn’t really matter.  Uh, the emotions are identical no matter what as far as my performance is concerned.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Well, it comes across loud and clear.  I mean, one of the things that this production really highlights is how Lucia is exploited by the men in her life.


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  And so, tell us about Raimondo.  What does he want from her?

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  Uh, I think in this production Raimondo is a bit indebted to Enrico.  And so, in a way, he kind of has to do this.  But at the same time, I think he has a tremendous amount of sympathy for her.  He doesn’t want to.  The text tells me that he, that he’s reluctant, although he’s pushing it forward, he is reluctant.  And I think, I think that’s an important balance to find.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  It’s so interesting, how you balance those two things.  So speaking of balance, you’re doing Rake’s Progress at the same time.  How do you balance Donizetti and Stravinsky?

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  It’s not easy.  You gotta turn your brain off.  You have to go into bel canto mode and go all right, let’s sing from here to as far as we can go.  With Stravinsky everything is lined up very specifically.  And so, you have to kind of like, flip that switch.

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  Well, I can’t wait to see you go far in Act III.  Christian, thank you for stepping in –


ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  -- at the 11th hour.  Bravo on your performance.

CHRISTIAN VAN HORN:  Thank you.  Thank you, Roth.  Thank you.

READ: Costanzo Intro to Act III

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO:  At the end of Act II, Lucia is wed to the wrong man, and the tragic turn of events has been set firmly in motion.  Trapped and unable to escape, Lucia takes her fate into her own hands, as we’ll see in the final devastating conclusion of Lucia di Lammermoor.