Lucia 2 – a guilty pleasure

I couldn’t resist going again, and I’m glad I did.  I picked up a front-row seat at the same time I got my first Salome ticket.

I never entirely take at face value the reception a piece gets at first night.  This time, on a Wednesday night, the genuine warmth of the audience’s reception was obvious with if anything more people standing at the end and longer applause.

This is familiar music – even when you don’t know the particular tune, you know the style.  That’s something about the early Romantic period, before the flavours got stronger.  It is the received pronunciation of musical language.  The orchestration is not exotic though not devoid of atmosphere.  You might say that some tunes could as well be one emotion as much as another (especially the chorus numbers and the ensembles) but I think that is deceptive.  It all fits very well together.

Robert Johnson, one of the SSO’s principal horns, has been leading the horn section of the AOBO for this and also playing for Salome while the SSO is away in China.  I mean no disrespect to the regular principal (save that, according to the orchestra’s web page, there currently isn’t one) to say that you can feel the quality.  Emma Matthews’ Lucia improves on a second viewing – only in the first part of her scene with her brother did she fall a little short on oomph, and the stops are certainly out in the big scene.

The drama is not complex and it doesn’t do to think too much about it, but it still awakes feelings of pity at the tragedy, not only for Lucia (despite rather than because of the cadenza with the flute, at least so far as the music is concerned) but also for her lover, Edgardo, sung handsomely by James Valenti, and his soulful demise.

You have to admire Salome (it’s de rigeur) but just a little guiltily I think I like and I enjoyed Lucia more.

One Response to “Lucia 2 – a guilty pleasure”

  1. Salome 3 « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] today it’s still snippets of Lucia (my guilty pleasure) that I find myself humming.  – Not that I cast my expectations of “message” so […]

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