Inevitably, it was the mad scene where Zimmerman and Dessay created their best work. She was so attracted to New Mexico in general and to Santa Fe in particular that the Santa Fe Opera quickly rearranged its schedule to feature her in a new production of La sonnambula during the season.
Other controversial ideas definitely did pay off. Act I, Scene 2 in particular, the fountain in the woods, has a set of breathtaking realism, with snow falling throughout the harp solo, and some excellent lighting design to show dawn breaking and the sun gradually rising throughout the love duet.
As the story begins, Caesar and his men land in Alexandria. The opera is an audacious blend of serious, comic, romantic and adventurous elements.
Mariusz Kwiecien has emerged in recent seasons as a major baritone. His heavy lyric tenor voice struck me as one to watch, and he was pleasing on stage in scenic terms.
The crazed Lucia, having stabbed her husband to death on their wedding night, appears on the balcony to the terrified guests.
It was quite simply the most impressive and skilful acting I have seen on the operatic stage.