- Lucia di Lammermoor, opera
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoorby Beverly Sills
In the 1950s and '60s, during the heyday of the bel canto revival, the plum role of Donizetti's Lucia belonged first to Maria Callas, then to Joan Sutherland. But Beverly Sills also made Lucia her own, though her achievement has often been overlooked for the simple reason that her recordings have been out of print for some years. Now, however, with Deutsche Grammophon reissuing the gems of the Westminster catalogue, Sills' Lucia can take its place among the great interpretations on disc. Her voice lacks the plush depth of Sutherland and the reedy intensity of Callas, but there is a fragility and purity to Sills' instrument that suits Sir Walter Scott's heroine to a tee. The disc was recorded in 1970, when the soprano was at the peak of her career, and she reaches into the stratospheric passages with apparent ease. Most impressive, though, is her supple phrasing and vivid response to the text. When she tells us in "Regnava nel silenzio" of the spectral figure encountered on a moonlit night, for example, the eerie images are hauntingly evoked. The rest of the cast is strong: Carlo Bergonzi's elegant tenor is a perfect match for Sills' passionate, intelligent portrayal, and while Piero Cappuccilli is perhaps not sufficiently malevolent, he is vocally in fine form. Special mention must be made, too, of Thomas Schippers' conducting. From the brief opening prelude, the score's nocturnal atmosphere is superbly captured, and the London Symphony plays with conviction and refinement. The recording quality is somewhat lacking in presence, which generally flatters the voices at the expense of orchestral richness. Nevertheless, this is a Lucia to treasure, and -- along with the soprano's staggering recordings of Donizetti's "Three Queens" -- a most valuable document of Sills' artistry.
- Release Date:
- Deutsche Grammophon
Performance CreditsBeverly Sills Primary Artist
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