It is well known that the cadenza with flute in the Mad Scene of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor was composed years after his death, yet despite its inordinate length and serious divergencies from his bel canto style, sopranos are loath to give it up for fear of disappointing audience expectations and, closer to home, accusations that they can’t sing it. It thus took an act of courage for the soprano Lisette Oropesa not to sing the cadenza, even though her mastery of it (and the role overall) are by now well established, in the Teatro alla Scala’s splendid new production in Milan (seen on April 26).

New performances bring new ways of doing things, some of which stick.

As with any cherished opera, new performances bring new ways...


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