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Originally published Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 7:07 PM

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'Lucia di Lammermoor': The story of love and betrayal in brief

A synopsis of the story of the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor."

The Ashton and Ravenswood families have feuded bitterly for years. In Act I, Lucia's brother Enrico Ashton, threatened with ruin by political developments, sees Arturo Bucklaw as his potential savior. He plans to cement this alliance by marrying Lucia off to Arturo.

Normanno, Enrico's captain of the guard, reveals Lucia has been seen with Edgardo di Ravenswood; the two have indeed fallen in love. Enrico, furious at the news, vows revenge on his hated enemy. Edgardo, who must leave for France on a political mission, and Lucia swear eternal love and exchange rings.

Act II finds Enrico and Normanno plotting to force Lucia into marriage with Arturo. Enrico presents Lucia with a forged letter, leading her to believe Edgardo is false to his oath of fidelity.

She despairs and, robbed of her willpower, she goes through with signing the contract of marriage after Arturo arrives — at which point Edgardo, returned from France, bursts on the scene. Confronted with the signed contract, he curses her and rushes away.

In Act III, the wedding guests are celebrating, when Raimondo Bidebent, the family chaplain and Lucia's tutor, breaks in on their revels with the terrible news that Lucia has stabbed Arturo to death and has lost her mind.

She enters and gives vent to a medley of confused thoughts, at times thinking she is addressing Edgardo and is finally reunited with him. She is carried off the stage to her death.

Too late, Edgardo arrives and learns of her fate. He stabs himself and, dying, calls out to Lucia that they will be together in heaven.

Bernard Jacobson, special to The Seattle Times

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