Lucia di Lammermoor - The Love Scene
I painted this about a year or so ago, adding a Beardsley fountain to a Callas photo. Apparently a good ruined fountain is rather a difficult piece of stagecraft; I know Callas once said the Metropolitan Opera set was about as romantic as an oil tanker. Personally, I've never seen a photo of this scene with a decent fountain, so I went to my Beardsley book.
I have this picture on a stainless steel 'to go' mug and a couple of tee shirts. Recently I began to think it would strike a chord with all women who have had to send a loved one overseas, so I've made it available on Zazzle.
Callas was the first to treat Lucia as a real person - a sheltered, bored, young girl whom nobody ever bothered to talk to. Naturally, she would fall for the first man to pay any real attention to her, even if he's a family enemy. This opera isn't just a coloratura showcase; it is a troubled and neglected young woman withdrawing into madness.
Nor is that just one woman's interpretation - it is evident in the dark, brooding score. Gaetano Donizetti, the composer, was almost writing from contemporary life; women still were being forced into marriages for family advantage in his own time. He certainly struck a chord, for the opera seldom goes unperformed when an appropriate singer is available.