Classical KUSC Arts Alive Blog

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Lucia di Lammermoor & The Insane Origins of the Glass Harmonica

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 3/11/2014 11:53:00 AM

Invented by Benjamin Franklin, the glass harmonica gained a reputation for making its players crazy (lead poisoning was really to blame). That made it the perfect instrument to add a certain insanity to Lucia di Lammermoor, an opera about the descent into madness by a blood-spattered bride. Here's Thomas Bloch talking about the history of the instrument and demonstrating its ethereal sound in preparation for LA Opera's production of Lucia di Lammermoor.

 

 James Conlin is the music director of LA Opera. Here he is on the history and reputation of the glass harmonica.

And here's a conversation with the opera's director Elkhanah Pulitzer (great-great granddaughter of Joseph Pulitzer). She's coming back to LA Opera after working with the company in 2008 on their community production of Judas Maccabaeus at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. As you'll hear in our chat, she's quite multi-talented.

 

photos by Susie Goodman


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