Muscat: She has sung for the title role in Donizetti’s famous opera, Lucia di Lammermoor about 150 times on the world’s greatest opera stages, and has become renowned as “The Queen of Lucia.”
I met the superstar Romanian soprano, Elena Moscu at the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) this week just before the dress rehearsal. As Moscu talked about her role as Lucia, she would take my breath away by singing a line or two in her stunningly melodious voice to illustrate the dramatic points in the opera.
Lucia and the ‘Mad Scene’
Lucia di Lammermoor is the story of a beautiful young Scottish noblewoman, who falls in love with Edgardo, the sworn enemy of her clan. When Lucia is forced to marry another man in the interests of her clan, she loses her senses and fatally stabs the groom before he can claim her. The powerfully dramatic scene that follows is one of the most famous in all of opera. Elena explained the emotions involved in Donizetti’s incomparable ‘Mad Scene.’
“You can feel Lucia’s madness in the music as it is incredibly expressive. Her madness starts when Lucia receives a fake letter supposedly from Edgardo saying he has abandoned her. No one in her family cares about Lucia’s feelings; they care only about the socio-economic concerns of the clan. But Lucia is thinking only of Edgardo, the light of her life. She is desperate to meet Edgardo and rejoice again in the beauty of their love, but realises the only place she can meet her beloved again is in Heaven... and so she wills herself to die, collapsing at the end of the scene.”
Traditionally in the ‘Mad Scene,’ Lucia appears in a white wedding gown that is violently splattered with blood; however, the new production by Teatro Carlo Felice of Genoa takes a more subtle approach.
There is no blood to horrify and distract the audience; instead Moscu conveys the drama through the eloquence of her voice, with articulate gestures and dramatic facial expressions amplifying the power of the music.
Moscu remarked that she never tires of singing Lucia because each time she discovers something new in its interpretation and by expressing feelings that are deeply moving as the young woman struggles with a 19th century masculine world dominated by her brother, who is obsessed with hatred for the man she loves—a world that neither understands Lucia nor cares to do so.
A compassionate diva
The life of a superstar opera singer is far from easy with the demands not only of the roles sung, rigorous rehearsals and arduous study, but of constant air travel while taking precious care of the voice, and adapting to varied audiences around the world.
One of the things that sustain Moscu is the power of music as therapy, lifting the spirits of those who listen and bringing joy and insight to their lives.
Moscu is an unusually compassionate diva, aware of the responsibility that comes with the gift of a wonderfully beautiful voice.
“I will never forget my debut at La Scala in 1992. I thought, ‘Here I am on the stage where Maria Callas once sang.’ I am so fortunate to have this great gift from God to give to others. My work is incredibly challenging, but I love it.”
Just how magnificent is Moscu’s voice became apparent in the dress rehearsal. She appeared on stage in a gorgeous period costume looking marvellous with abundant red hair in flowing tresses.
But of course, the world-renowned soprano’s voice outshone both her costume and the stunning sets. Although she sang comparatively lightly, saving her voice for the final performance, Moscu filled the auditorium with the exquisite sound of bel canto at its expressive best.
Performances of Lucia di Lammermoor at the ROHM will be held at 7:00 pm on January 14, 15 and 16.