Why Lucia Di Lamermoor by Opera Australia is the crazy chick you can’t help but love

Lucia Lamermoor Jessica Pratt singer murder

One of the most famous arias in the performance of Lucia Di Lamermoor was made huge thanks to its cameo in the 1997 smash hit The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis where the blue alien gave her rendition.

It was as poignant a moment in the movie as it is the on-stage production by Opera Australia in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House in 2018, only brought to life by the inimitable soprano-cum-menu’s namesake, Australian singer Jessica Pratt.

The story is that of a woman, so torn in love it drives her mad, leading to a demise that is as upsetting as it is unwarranted, highlighting the futility of what is considered ‘state of mind’ and the snarky ridiculousness of what we consider to be ‘love’.

Despite the emotional toll it no doubt takes to play the part of the fragile and quick-to-fall Lucia, Jessica Pratt loves playing the role in the production, on at the Sydney Opera House until 27 July.

Lucia Lamermoor Jessica Pratt singer

“The music is so descriptive that it really guides my emotions throughout the role, the tough part is the morning afterward when the adrenaline has left my body and I feel the pain of being thrown on the floor continuously the night before and all the tension I hold in my body during the performance,” said Jessica.

She takes it on well, working within the realms of the way Donizetti planned it all, with a uniquely contemporary take all Opera Australia’s own, that really let her talents shine.

“I find that even after all these years there is always something new to discover in Lucia and of course the life experience I bring to the role and my voice are constantly maturing so now I see things in her character differently than I did ten years ago,” said Jessica.

Lucia Lamermoor Jessica Pratt singer set

But, within the emotional turmoil of the role and the fact it drives her mad, it’s kind of refreshing to see that even in a tale so old and on a stage so open to contemporary interpretation, there is room for fun.

The performance builds-up to the moment Lucia indeed loses her mind, emerging from a room after just having committed murder; she is covered in blood, a void stare plasters her face and she shocks the room as she absent-mindedly bounces around until the moment the murder becomes much more visible.

Jessica gets to throw blood all over the stage, and she says, it’s surprisingly, not without its challenges: “I have three main aims…make it visible to the audience without making too much mess for the guys to have to clean up afterwards, don’t drip blood into the orchestra pit and try not to get it in my eyes!”

In all seriousness, though, she’s adamant that it takes a lot of work in breathing and technique offstage so that she can just concentrate on Lucia’s emotions during the mad scene. Unsurprising, really when you look at the vocal range alone, as well as the acting that’s needed to really pull-off the scene.

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Jessica Pratt does a service to the role and the production as a whole. She takes the story from the ages, stimulates it with her voice and emphasising the emotional turmoil of it all against the stark and cold use of chiaroscuro stage lighting and set work by Liz Ascroft and makes it a production for Opera Australia to bring back again and again.

See Lucia Di Lamermoor by Opera Australia at the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House until 27 July 2018. Get your tickets at the Opera Australia website.