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Review: LA Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”- Standout Albina Shagimuratova- Do not miss

 Review: LA Opera’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”

Albina Shagimuratova delivers a

A Standout Performance- 

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

LA Opera’s “Lucia Di Lammermoor” epitomizes everything that an opera should be: scenes of unrequited passion, arias between star-crossed lovers, and most importantly- a stellar, unsurpassed voice that rouses the audience at every turn.

LuciaAlbina Shagimuratova is by far the most gifted female singer to have performed on the LA Opera stage in recent memory.

Photo, Left Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia di Lammermoor, Photo Credit: Robert Millard

Singing Bel Canto Opera, particularly in a role like Lucia, is like swimming in the ocean without a life vest- the singer is completely exposed. Thankfully, Albina Shagimuratova and the entire cast of Lucia have the vocal chops to carry out their roles.

A force of nature, Albina truly carried the opera with her undeniable talent. Range, Clarity, Coloratura, Stamina. Flawlessly and exquisitely, Albina performed the difficult twenty-minute mad scene with finesse, never appearing to tire as she drew on seemingly infinite reserves of vocal capacity.

In addition to her fierce vocal talent, Albina proved a consummate actress eliciting the range of emotions particular to her character- girlish hope, defiant resistance, heartbreak, and then, chillingly, madness- a psychological break that she portrayed with beautiful sensitivity, without histrionics, but baring her heart and soul, plainly and purely.

In the first act, tenor Saimir Pirgu as Lucia’s lover Edgardo, seemed tentative in comparison to the sheer power of Albina’s voice. However, in the second act, Pirgu’s voice flourished, particularly in the poignant and dramatic last scenes. He seemed to thrive in the angst-ridden portions of the score, showcasing his considerable talent. Despite Pirgu’s initial timidity, he and Shagimuratova make a couple for whom the audience roots.

Bass James Creswell as Chaplain Raimondo delivered a particularly noteworthy performance, as the interfering religious figure who manipulates Lucia’s guilt.

The sparse set allowed the Bel Canto music to reign at the forefront. The simple, non-distracting design elements employed visuals only when absolutely central to the narrative- such as the effective use of foreshadowing in the drowning image of Lucia at the well: a haunting, Pre-Raphaelite pictorial reminiscent of Lady of Shallot. Another effective visual was the image of the moon, derived from the Latin word “Luna,” an ancient symbol of lunacy, and again, a fitting foreshadowing of Lucia’s eventual madness.

Just as the set allowed the singers to shine, so did the orchestra. As Conductor James Conlon revealed during a dress rehearsal, “With Bel Canto opera, if the orchestra is perfect, you don’t notice them. If they’re off, it’s a disaster.” His conducting was impeccable. The orchestra showcased the long lyrical lines of the singers, keeping pace with them at every turn; even the Glass Harmonica blended hauntingly and eerily with Shagimuratova during the mad scene. During passages with the Glass Harmonica, members of the audience craned their necks to peer into the Orchestra Pit, staring at the unusual instrument that emanated a supernatural sound.

Do not miss this one.

Albina Shagimuratova’s standout performance in LA Opera’s “Lucia Di Lammermoor” makes this production one that audiences will remember for years to come.

Posted by on March 22nd, 2014

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