A look back at Italian opera shows an odd fascination with Scotland. And this week's production may be where it all started. It's Rossini's La donna del lago.
Based on a poem by Sir Walter Scott, this performance of Lady of the Lake takes place at the big pond of opera, Teatro alla Scala in Milan. This opera predates Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, another Italian opera set in the moors of Scotland. It was the first of many Italian operas set in the exotic Scottish highlands. While Lucia has become a staple, La donna del lago is seldom performed, but it does contain some well known operatic higlights.
Our donna will be heard with two of the leading singers in opera today, American Joyce Di Donato and the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez.
La donna del lago deals with complicated Scottish internal division, notably the conflict between the Highland clansmen under Douglas and King James V. In the end, the King forgives his enemy and allows the betrothal of his beloved Ellen, Douglas's daughter, to his former enemy, Malcolm.
The story isn't all that important, this opera is all about the great bel canto singing, and Joyce Di Donato is in fine form in this performance from La Scala.
You can find a complete synopsis here.
Conductor - Roberto Abbado
Giacomo V - Juan Diego Flórez, tenor
Douglas D'Angus - Simon Orfila, bass
Rodrigo di Dhu - John Osborn, tenor
Elena - Joyce DiDonato, soprano
Malcolm Groeme, Daniela Barcellona, contralto
Albina - José Maria Lo Monaco, mezzo-soprano
Serano - Jaeheui Kwon, tenor
Bertram - Jihan Shin, bass
To get you in the mood, here's Joyce DiDonato singing "Fra il padre" from La donna.
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on Jul 06, 2012