This "mafia" production is inspired by the gangster movies of the 1930’s. With the use of Projections, Erhard Rom’s set is seamlessly and cinematically transformed into the different locations of the Opera.


Cleveland Opera 2010

Photos by Eric Mull and Ruppert Bohle


"Cleveland has a real winner in this Lucia" from Cleveland Classical

May 23, 2010

Stage director Tomer Zvulun had the brilliant idea of taking Opera Cleveland's Lucia into the mob world of the 1930's. Unlike a lot of attempts to drag historical operas kicking and screaming into other eras, this one works seamlessly. Erhard Rom's effective use of scrims and projections, Robert Wierzel's provocative lighting -- sometimes warm and golden, other times harsh as Klieg lights producing ominous shadows, and Carol Bailey's fine sense of period costume -- all work in harmony to create the look and feel of a period whose themes of "violence, murder, family honor, oppressed women, ruthless men, politics, social status and vengeance" as Zvulun says in his director's notes, are as much at home in The Godfather as they are in the world of Ravenswood Castle and the Wolf's Crag. And sometimes the visual aspects of this production are as arresting as scenes in the Godfather movies. When Lucia appears in Enrico's office, the huge image of the family matriarch suddenly turns into an image of violent death. When the (enormous) doors to Lucia's bedroom are flung open in the third act, there is blood everwhere. Near the conclusion of the mad scene, Lucia disrobes and almost crosses the line from PG to R before a gangster kindly covers her with his suit jacket. it's clear that the company has a real winner in its Lucia. This Lucia was so well conceived, coordinated and executed that I left the theater completely satisfied by what I saw and heard. Bravo, Opera Cleveland. You should franchise this production.

"Opera Cleveland presents a winning new Lucia di Lammermoor" from The Plain Dealer

May 21, 2010

REVIEW Opera Cleveland To open its 2010-2011 season, the company has created a "Lucia" that is smart, compelling and stylish both in musical and theatrical terms. The action has been moved from the 18th century to the 1930s. Lucia's family is part of a crime syndicate that seeks survival by marrying the girl off to a member of another underworld group. Fiddling with matters of time and locale can wreak havoc on operatic coherence, but stage director Tomer Zvulun has come up with a through-line that adds emotional resonance without distracting from the musical focus. The gang motif adds layers of dread to a tale already oozing with violence. Projections of ominous clouds, silvery trees, newspaper clippings and story texts rub shoulders with the ghost of a bride who emerges to give Lucia the willies. It's a vividly atmospheric production played out on Erhard Rom's towering unit set of stone walls and doors and lighted by Robert Wierzel for maximum psychological effect. Next up for Opera Cleveland in September is Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers," a work that needs extra-special handling to reveal its best attributes. On the basis of the company's winning "Lucia," Bizet should thrive.

"Opera Cleveland’s Lucia Shines Bright" from

May 20, 2010

Opera Cleveland’s modernized production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” shone brightly opening night. The opera ramps things up visually with film projections across the set that flow and enrich it. One must admire the frugality and the cleverness with which Opera Cleveland has learned to operate. With a winning cast, beautiful ghost, pistols, and bloody daggers all artfully arranged, director Tomer Zvulun, set designer Erhard Rom, lighting designer Robert Wierzel, and artistic director (and conductor) Dean Williamson created a mighty and entertaining evening of opera.

"Opera Cleveland’s Sicilian Lucia" from Cool Cleveland

May 20, 2010

State Theatre Donizetti’s famous setting of Sir Walter Scott’s 18th century Scottish romance The Bride of Lammermoor moved with surprising ease to Sicily of the 1930s in last week’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor by Opera Cleveland. Scottish Lairds or Sicilian dons – there’s apparently not much difference between them when it comes to family and supposed honor. And the original words were in Italian, anyway. Director Tomer Zvulun and conductor Dean Williamson combined to keep the production moving smoothly and inevitably toward the notoriously unhappy ending. The stage set by Erhard Rom also made an easy transition from stone castle to stone villa, ably assisted by the frequently sunny lighting by Robert Wierzel. Carol Bailey’s costumes for the men were pretty much dark suits, but the women were mostly garbed in floating, light colors. Except for the white satin wedding gown, of course.