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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Opera Returns To The Tobin Center In Dramatic Fashion

Brenda Rae as Lucia.
Ken Howard
Brenda Rae as Lucia.

Opera San Antonio returns to the Tobin Center on Thursday and Saturday nights. Their production is Lucia di Lammermoor, and Brenda Rae plays the title role. When asked what the production was about, she laughed.

“It’s all about me! Lucia di Lammermoor is a young woman, in love with a man who her family does not want her to be in love with. So that is the conflict,” she said.

It has the elements of a tragedy: Star-crossed lovers, a brother who deceives her, claiming her lover had betrayed her, and convincing her to marry someone for political expedience.

“But then her lover shows up — he’s been traveling — and he finds Lucia getting married to this other man, and he goes, ‘What are you doing?’ It’s a horrible, horrible misunderstanding and everyone’s very angry,” Rae said.

But that’s just the build-up. Things get far worse.

“Unfortunately Lucia goes absolutely crazy and murders her new husband, and then sings a lot about it!” she laughed.

Rae called it the mad scene and it is, of course, her favorite.

“The mad scene, the Lucia break down scene, is really fantastic,” she said. “I decided to focus on opera because of this kind of music. It’s called bel canto, and the mad scene is a fabulous example of this kind of music.”

Orchestrated music is provided live in collaboration with the San Antonio Symphony.

“We will have a live orchestra with us, which is so wonderful. It’s very different being able to have a live orchestra versus something that’s pre-recorded,” she said.

COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the one-act, 90-minute production.

“We’re so excited to actually produce live opera again for a live, in-person audience. It’s been a while,” Rae said.

The production will be sung in Italian, with projected English subtitles.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii