Great Scots! Regina Opera sings a Scottish tragedy • Brooklyn Paper

Great Scots! Regina Opera sings a Scottish tragedy

Tell me moor: Alexis Cregger (right) playing the title character in the Scottish tragedy “Lucia di Lammermoor,” sings about her star-crossed love to Jennie Mescon, who plays her handmaiden. The Regina Opera Company show opens on March 5.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

It’s time to get opera close and personal!

Brooklyn’s Regina Opera Company aims to draw in new fans with a swashbuckling Scottish tale of murder, betrayal, and astounding arias. The tragic love tale “Lucia di Lammermoor,” opening in March, is an ideal introduction to opera for newcomers, according to its stage manager.

“There are some sword fights and it’s all love, madness, and murder,” Linda Lehr said. “And even though they’re in a different time period, all of the things people go through in relationship are there. You’re going to find this more accessible that you think it will be.”

The lyrics of the opera, written by 19th century composer Gaetano Donizetti, are in Italian, but every line of “Lucia di Lammermoor” has been translated into English and will be projected above the stage during performances.

The production is a no-brainer for those looking to get their operatic feet wet. But visitors should not let the affordable price tag and all-volunteer lineup of performers fool them — the group is as professional as it gets, the company’s president said.

“You can call us a small or a medium-size opera, but do not call us an amateur opera company,” Francine Garber-Cohen said.

Star-crossed lovers: In Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Alexis Cregger’s character Lucia Ashton (front) is in love with a familial rival, much like in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

The company’s singers, accompanied by a 35-piece orchestra, create a night the audience will never forget, Lehr said.

“The first time you sit in a theater with an orchestra and singers performing without microphones is a pretty thrilling and visceral feeling,” she said. “The emotion is so strong in the music in this opera — it carries you along.”

Donizetti loosely based “Lucia di Lammermoor” on Sir Walter Scott’s novel “The Bride of Lammermoor,” about a woman whose love for a man from a rival family is thwarted by her ambitious brother, who wants her to marry a local lord. As Lehr describes the plot: “Nothing ends well, but there is some really cool singing in between.”

The opera features some famously challenging arias, and the cast of promising young singers and stage veterans are sure to impress.

The company will also offer two free performances before the official start of the run: a selection of opera and Broadway numbers at Vesuvio restaurant in Bay Ridge on Feb. 27, and a free preview of “Lucia di Lammermoor” on March 1 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 7:30 pm, but with a piano accompaniment instead of a full orchestra.

“Lucia di Lammermoor” at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School auditorium [5901 Sixth Ave. between 59th and 60th streets in Sunset Park, (718) 259–2772, www.reginaopera.org]. March 5–6, 12–13 at 3 pm. $26 ($21 seniors and students, $5 teens, kids free).

A cast of characters: Jealous, love-struck, and greedy men make up the male characters in Gaetano Donizetti’s opera classic “Lucia di Lammermoor,” playing at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy during the first two weekends of March.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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