The IU Opera Theatre production of Donizetti’s "Lucia di Lammermoor" had Saturday night’s audience loudly applauding individual scenes and on their feet at the final curtain for a standing ovation. So many things about this "Lucia…" were just wonderful. The scene opened to the slow beat of drums on one of David Higgins’ richly detailed and atmospheric sets, eerie in Michael Schwandt’s lighting. Neither the atmosphere nor the musical tension ever flagged as the touching story of Lucia’s love, betrayal and murderous madness played out.
Throughout the IU Opera Theatre production conductor Imré Pallo guided orchestra and singers in pacing and in balances that showed off both the instruments and the voices. Each scene displayed the care that stage director Tito Capobianco had lavished on the production. Cast members knew where they were, why they were there and where they were going.
Tenor Alex Vicens was a passionate and lyrical gallant as the mysterious man that Lucia loves. Andrew Oakden sang with force and grace as he managed to be both brutally self-involved and yet sympathetic as the brother who tricks and forces Lucia into a political marriage. Christopher Burchett sang the part of the pivotal Chaplain. And Leah Hunt, well, Leah Hunt was Lucia di Lammermoor. She shone in the part with beautiful control of both her dramatic role and the intricacies of her vocal lines.
The final performances of the IU Opera Theatre production of Donizetti’s dramatic "Lucia di Lammermoor" take place Friday and Saturday at eight in the Musical Arts Center.