Lucia de Lammermoor and my PLR returns
My PLR money [public lending right, paid out to authors in the UK in honour of library loans on their books] hit a dizzying three figures for the first time this year, £100 and a few pence. I've decided to take the money as a boost to creativity. This time around that meant two tickets to the ENO's Lucia de Lammermoor, with an interval drink to boot.
I've known the opera for years in the Callas and di Stefano version, but never seen it and never really known what it was about. This production (by David Alden, in English) was thrilling and terrifying. I was still quietly weeping through the interval, beautifully upset through the second half, and still so disturbed in retelling the story over dinner the next day I smashed a glass of red wine over the white tablecloth. "The blood, the blood, that's what it was like," I declaimed. "Imagine this doll-like girl, forced into a marriage she could not abide, dressed in white against the black of other others, the white smothered in the red of her new husband's blood, wrapping those dead arms around herself in the notion that these are the arms of her true beloved."
It was an astonishing performance by the American soprano Anna Christy. It's challenging enough for divas to be required to sing sitting down. Christy was hauled all over the place without missing a note or a warble, sang from her knees, from her back, even lying flat with her head hanging upside down off the edge of a table.
It was stunning through and through ... and that quintet, what fabulous theatre it provides!
Next year my new Haldane bio is added to my library earnings ... I doubt the next creative boost can beat this year's one even with the extra funds, but I look forward to trying.