Opera review: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

This review by Clare Colvin was first published in the Sunday Express on Sunday 10 April 2016.

THE Royal Opera’s cautionary warning of “scenes of sex and violence” in Katie Mitchell’s staging of Lucia di Lammermoor may have taken into account the notoriety attracted by Mitchell’s production of Sarah Kane’s Cleansed at the National Theatre, with its scenes of rape and torture.

In the event, the booing from the amphitheatre that greeted Mitchell and her team during the curtain calls was less for the level of sex and violence than for the fussy contrivance of using a split screen stage.

This is designed to show what Lucia is doing offstage at the same time as her brother Enrico and his followers are playing the scene that Donizetti actually wrote.

The concept leads to confusion rather than clarity, and the audience’s heads turn back and forth as if at a tennis match, uncertain where to look next. Mitchell’s motive, apparently, is to deepen our understanding of Lucia’s state of mind that led to her murdering the husband that her brother had forced her to marry  .  .  .  .

To read the full review visit the Sunday Express website.