Met Opera, New York, 16 October 1999

Terms of use

This page and all the pages on may generate income for the site owner based on affiliate relationships with entities including Amazon, Google, eBay and others.



Lucia di Lammermoor

Lucia di Lammermoor, the most famous and popular of Donizetti's operas, was first performed on September 26, 1835, at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The opera was based on the novel The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott. A Gothic novel with elements of historical realism, it enjoyed great success. According to Ellen H. Bleiler in the introduction to her translation of Lucia in the Dover Opera Guide and Libretto Series, the novel had become one of the best-known works of fiction in Western Europe by the time that Donizetti and his librettist Cammarano began to work with it. Cammarano and Donizetti simplified the story greatly and eliminated much of the novel's detail.

In the opera, the Ravenswood family has been dispossessed of their ancestral land. The Ashton family has taken their place. Lucia Ashton and her family's enemy Edgardo di Ravenswood have fallen in love with each other. Lucia's brother Enrico wants her to marry a powerful lord, Arturo Bucklaw. Enrico deceives Lucia with forged evidence of Edgardo's unfaithfulness to her. Lucia reluctantly signs a marriage contract with Arturo. Just as she has done so, Edgardo enters and expresses his outrage.

The marriage between Lucia and Arturo takes place. On the wedding night, Lucia, who has lost her somewhat fragile sanity, stabs Arturo in the bridal chamber. She then enters the hall where the wedding guests are assembled and sings what is probably the most famous mad scene in all opera. She collapses and later dies. When Edgardo learns of her death, he stabs himself and dies.


Donizetti re-worked Lucia di Lammermoor somewhat for a French-language version of the opera, entitled Lucie de Lammermoor.