Diana Damrau On Her Mad Journey With "Lucia di Lammermoor"
A Vision of Delirium: Diana Damrau (Photo: Rebecca Fay)
"So when did this particular journey begin? 'I saw my first Lucia performance in Vienna standing in the famous Stehplätze [standing places] for a few euros,' she tells me. 'I was a student and I went to Vienna and I got to see Edita Gruberová in Lucia. But I think I already heard the Sutherland recording and also Callas.' And the Damrau version? She’s probably more ‘Callas’ than ‘Sutherland’. But where have her ideas about the part come from? 'Lucia di Lammermoor is the most veristic of the bel canto roles,' she explains. 'The madness of Lucia makes it a real role for acting and singing. Lucia’s madness is an illness. It’s not just a vehicle for a soprano to show her skills and her technique. I talked to doctors about that. She is bipolar and you can hear that very clearly in the first aria.' The particularly modern concept of a bipolar bel canto heroine is intriguing and Damrau has clearly thought it through. 'She gets very, very happy and almost frenetic when she talks about her visions. And ill people can have visions – she’s not just the standard ‘romantic’ figure of the time. Because she is bipolar she really gets very dark and very frightened. Everything seems to be real and very dramatic to her.
She’s under great, great pressure because her mother has died and she’s in a really bad situation. This comes to its peak when she finds out her brother betrayed her – that he forced her into a political marriage and everyone around her has actually manipulated her. When Edgardo comes back and curses her and says, 'you betrayed love and you betrayed God', that’s more tension than she can take. Then the illness comes. The madness breaks out and she kills someone.'" [Source] Read Diana Damrau's tribute to Maria Callas by clicking here. You can sample Erato's new recording of Lucia di Lammermoor featuring Diana Damrau. A video of the mad scene from the recording is after the jump.