America Welcomes Australia’s Newest Lucia

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Published: 11th April, 2018

A decade after launching her career in Italy, acclaimed Australian coloratura soprano Jessica Pratt delivers her first performances in the title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at New York’s Metropolitan Opera on April 11 and 14. She remains one of only three Australians to sing Lucia di Lammermoor at La Scala, the others being Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Joan Sutherland, who is still identified with the role in the minds of many Australians.

Since her role debut in 2007, Jessica has appeared in over 28 productions and sung Lucia more than 80 times. Prior to her role debut, Jessica’s introduction to this opera was watching her father, tenor Phil Pratt, perform in the chorus when she was a teenager.   Young Jessica was particularly enthralled by the Mad Scene and, deciding that Lucia was a role she wanted to perform, became accustomed to hurling herself onto a couch in the family home to practice Lucia’s fall!

Now the Australian-raised singer has cemented her place as one of the world’s leading exponents of Donizetti’s bloodied bride; one of the most notoriously difficult roles in the operatic canon.

Jessica notes: “I’m so excited to have the chance to perform Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera. It is a wonderful theatre with an incredible history for being one of the top houses in the world. The orchestra and chorus are phenomenal and it’s a huge honour to perform here.”

After making her Met debut in December 2016 as The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s
The Magic Flute, this marks Jessica’s second production at the revered opera house. “I was thrilled to be invited to return in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor, a role that has been central to my career. I have performed Lucia all around the world from Europe to South America to Australia and this will be my debut in the role in the United States,” she said.

“Working at The Met is extraordinary,” she notes. “I get to watch the greatest opera singers of today rehearsing and performing all week as there are so many productions being staged here.

“The other day I was practicing in my dressing room and emerged to find Placido Domingo standing by the door; he shared such kind words and said he will come to see me for my first performance! Having been supported by Placido as a young singer through Operalia, his world opera competition, the experience is made all the more special.”

On this production of Lucia, Jessica reflects: “I have collaborated with Maestro Roberto Abbado several times on various bel canto operas over the last few years and really enjoy performing with him; this will be our third Lucia together after Paris and Rome. I also revisit this beautiful production by Mary Zimmermann, which I last performed at La Scala in Milan in 2014 and am enjoying the chance to work with her again.”

Jessica returns to Australia in June/July in her Opera Australia and Sydney Opera House debut as Lucia di Lammermoor, followed by a concert performance of Bellini’s The Capulets and the Montagues for Victorian Opera in September.

2018 Australian Appearances

Opera Australia
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Sydney Opera House, Joan Sutherland Theatre
28 June – 27 July 2018

Victorian Opera
Bellini’s The Capulets and the Montagues Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
14 September 2018