First Advisor

Malde, Melissa

Second Advisor

Luedloff, Brian Clay

Document Type


Date Created



Opera encompasses a long history of substitutions and alterations in its performance tradition. This dissertation compiles and analyzes alterations made in performances of one opera, Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), since its creation in 1835. The study focuses on the standard practices of cutting, sections of tacet, interpolated material (such as cadenzas and other ornaments/embellishments), and transpositions in the performance tradition of Lucia. Although portions of this information can be found in various sources, no current resource exists that compiles the data from these sources and presents information on more recent performance practices and resources. By offering a more thorough compilation of alterations and the resulting dramatic ramifications, this dissertation provides a resource to aid in the decision-making process of conductors, directors, coaches, teachers, and musicians who contribute to the production of this opera. Primary source materials consist of the following: information obtained from personal interviews with professionals in the industry who are intimately acquainted with the opera; newspaper, magazine, and journal articles; and an analysis of existing audio and video recordings and hand-marked scores. Consequences of alterations to the score are examined. The appendices provide reference guides to cadenza resources and to cut and tacet options for Lucia, as well as transcriptions of selected interviews conducted for this study. This study indicates that the nature of alterations, as well as the popular alterations themselves, integral to Lucia's evolution may, in fact, be one of the contributing factors to the opera's enduring longevity in the repertoire.


Bel Canto, Cadenza, Cuts, Lucia, Opera, Vocal performance


243 pages

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Copyright is held by the author.