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Lucia di Lammermoor
PREMIERE9/26/1835 — Teatro di San Carlo (Naples)
COMPOSERGaetano Maria Donizetti   
LIBRETTISTSalvadore Cammarano   
 
Synopsis
Act I
Scene one — The grounds
Enrico relays to Normanno that he is deeply concerned. His position as Lord Keeper of Lammermoor is a tenuous one, and the ousting of its previous owners has made a bitter enemy out of Edgardo, the last surviving heir. The political tide of Scotland alternates between Catholic and Protestant leaders, again putting his seemingly powerful situation at risk. Enrico has arranged a marriage between his sister, Lucia, and Arturo, a union that can only improve his status. Raimondo, the chaplain, cautions that she is not ready to love, citing her grief over her mother's recent death. Normanno counters that she's hardly grieving but full of ardor — she's in love with another man, one who saved her from a rushing bull. She has since seen him every day at dawn. Though the identity of the man is not known, Normanno suspects it is in fact Edgardo. Enrico is furious at the news and vows Edgardo will pay for this insult with his own blood.

Scene two — The fountain
Lucia waits with Alisa for the arrival of Edgardo. She tells her companion the mysterious lore that surrounds the fountain — it was there a Ravenswood, burning with jealousy, stabbed his beloved. She fell into the waters and remains there still. Her ghost is said to haunt the fountain and once tried to speak to Lucia. Alisa advises that only peril can follow such an experience and encourages her friend to forget Edgardo. Lucia cannot — he is her only happiness in a world filled with tears. Alisa withdraws, and Edgardo appears. In the wake of Scotland 's political turmoil he has been called to France. He plans to extend to Enrico his hand in peace and ask for her hand in return, but Lucia fears her brother's wrath. They exchange rings as a token of their secret bond, and Edgardo promises to write while he is away.

Act II
Scene one — The chamber
Several months have passed with no word from Edgardo. Lucia reluctantly has agreed to marry Arturo, and preparations are being made for the ceremony. Normanno confirms with Enrico that he has been able to suppress every one of Edgardo's letters, and in their place a forgery has been produced. When Lucia is presented with the fake letter, she faints after reading its contents — Edgardo has taken up with another woman and no longer loves her. Enrico berates his sister for pledging her faith to such a vile seducer and betraying her family's honor. Raimondo provides further evidence of Edgardo's abandonment — the chaplain has seen to it that every one of her letters reached him, yet there has been no reply until this day. Raimondo encourages Lucia to resign herself to the union.

Scene two — The reception
Wedding guests celebrate the impending nuptials. As Arturo is received, Enrico assures him of Lucia's willingness to marry and that he should not be dispelled by her sorrow, clearly the result of her mother's passing. As Lucia is presented to her bridegroom, Enrico berates her mercilessly in a series of asides. She begrudgingly signs the wedding contract, and moments later Edgardo bursts into the room. Lucia swoons and everyone is filled with shock and remorse — like a wilting rose, she hovers between life and death. Believing that Lucia still loves him, Edgardo is stunned when shown the marriage contract bearing her signature. In despair he offers his own life, but Enrico orders him out.

Act III
Scene one — The tower
Alone in the spare remains of his family's estate, Edgardo rues his dismal fate as a storm rages outside. Enrico pays a return visit, needling him with details of the wedding ceremony and the reminder that Arturo and Lucia are at this very moment consummating their wedding vows. He then challenges Edgardo to a duel, to which the latter heartily agrees — he had promised on his father's grave to avenge the family name.

Scene two — The party
The wedding festivities are interrupted by news from a badly shaken Raimondo. He heard screams from the bridal chamber and opening the door, found Arturo in a pool of blood with a wide-eyed Lucia clutching the knife that killed him. Lucia stumbles before the guests, obviously delirious, looking for Edgardo. Everyone is horrified by the tragic outcome of the day.

Scene three — The tombs
Edgardo waits for the duel's appointed hour, intending to surrender himself on Enrico's sword. He soon learns of the prior evening's calamity and is told that Lucia has gone insane. Broken by the news, Edgardo takes his own life.

Courtesy of The Minnesota Opera
MOST PRODUCED SINCE 2000
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Alternate Titles/Spellings
Lucia of Lammermoor
Lucie de Lammermoor
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