Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Capitalizing on the early 19th-century vogue for all things Scottish, Donizetti adapted Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical novel, The Bride of Lammermoor, for the European operatic stage, offering audiences romantic intrigue and family drama adorned with his beautifully conceived and spectacularly inventive music. Australian dramatic coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland, who was instrumental in reviving the opera in 1960, was performing Lucia di Lammermoor in Florida in 1965 when she recommended a young Pavarotti as a last-minute replacement for an indisposed tenor. It started one of opera’s greatest partnerships, which gave the world numerous stage performances and a vast catalog of recordings, invariably conducted by Sutherland’s husband and operatic Svengali, Richard Bonynge. Long before The Three Tenors shot Pavarotti to global superstardom, opera lovers were reveling in his glorious lyric tenor voice, effortlessly produced and capable of melting the heart. Sutherland—La Stupenda to her adoring fans—was one of the greatest exponents of bel canto opera in modern times. This 1971 studio recording captures them both at their freshest, while Bonynge oversees everything with meticulous attention to detail and a complete feeling for the Donizetti idiom. A genuine classic.