maria callas – mad scene from lucia di lammermoor (donizetti)

“The character of Lucia has become an icon in opera and beyond, an archetype of the constrained woman asserting herself in society. She reappears as a touchstone for such diverse later characters as Flaubert’s adulterous Madame Bovary and the repressed Englishwomen in the novels of E.M. Forster. The insanity that overtakes and destroys Lucia, depicted in opera’s most celebrated mad scene, has especially captured the public imagination. Donizetti’s handling of this fragile woman’s state of mind remains seductively beautiful, thoroughly compelling, and deeply disturbing. Madness as explored in this opera is not merely something that happens as a plot function: it is at once a personal tragedy, a political statement, and a healing ritual.” (Commentary from HERE)

Maria Callas performs “Il dolce suono mi colpì di sua voce”, the “Mad Scene” from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti, recorded live in Florence in February 1953. Tullio Serafin conducted Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Tito Gobbi, Raffaele Arie, Valliano Natali, Maria Canali, Maggio Musical Fiorentino Orchestra & Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus.

The discussion in the comments underneath the video is quite entertaining, especially if read in light of the Anne Carson essay I posted earlier. Continue reading