Lucia di Lammermoor
The action takes place in Scotland, the eighteenth century
Normanno, captain of the guard, leads his men in search of a mysterious intruder in the woods. Lord Enrico Ashton arrives and laments the failing of the Lammermoor fortunes, blaming, in part, his sister Lucia, who has refused to marry Lord Arturo, a man with the resources to reverse the family’s suffering. Raimondo, Lucia’s tutor, defends her, saying that it is Lucia’s grief over her mother’s recent death that keeps her from being open to Arturo’s attentions. But Normanno claims that Lucia’s coolness toward Arturo is a result of her secret romance with Edgardo of Ravenswood, Enrico’s sworn enemy. Enrico is enraged to hear of this—the families of Lammermoor and Ravenswood have long been feuding—and he swears blood revenge on his sister and Edgardo.
Later that day, Lucia and her companion, Alisa, wait at the fountain for Edgardo to arrive. Lucia relates the story of a woman who was murdered at this fountain by her jealous lover, and whose ghost Lucia has recently seen. Alisa fears that this is a bad omen and begs Lucia to give up seeing Edgardo, but Lucia refuses. Edgardo arrives and explains that he must travel to France on business. He wishes first to see Enrico to settle their differences and ask for Lucia’s hand, but she insists their relationship must remain a secret. The two swear eternal love to one another and exchange rings. As Edgardo leaves, he admonishes Lucia to remember that in the eyes of heaven they are now man and wife.
Enrico and Normanno plot to marry Lucia to Arturo. Not only have they intercepted all of the letters sent between the lovers, but they have forged a letter from Edgardo to make Lucia believe he has fallen in love with another woman. Lucia arrives, pale and distraught. Shown the letter from Edgardo, she reels at the thought that Edgardo has betrayed her. She pleads that she is still sworn to Edgardo and begs God to end her misery by striking her dead.
Arturo arrives for the wedding. Enrico warns him that Lucia might appear melancholy, but explains that she is still mourning her mother. Lucia arrives and Enrico forces her to sign a marriage contract with Arturo. Just then, Edgardo, who has returned from France because he has heard nothing from Lucia, rushes in, and is astonished to find Lucia’s wedding taking place. He draws his sword, but is restrained by Raimondo. Enrico produces the wedding contract Lucia has signed. Seeing the evidence of her betrayal, Edgardo hurls her ring at her and, cursing her, demands that she return his. Lucia collapses as he storms out.
The guests are celebrating the wedding when Raimondo enters the hall and calls a halt to the festivities. He informs the shocked guests that he found Lucia holding a knife over Arturo’s blood-spattered body. Lucia enters, seeming to hear Edgardo’s voice. She speaks to him, saying that now they can be united; she will go to heaven and wait for him there. As the guests watch in horror, she collapses.
To end their feud, Enrico had challenged Edgardo to a duel the following morning at dawn. Edgardo arrives at the chosen site—the Ravenswood tombs—planning to throw himself upon the blade of his enemy when he appears. A crowd comes near, speaking of the events in the castle. Edgardo questions them and learns Lucia is near death and calling for him. A funeral knell begins to toll; Edgardo is determined to return to the castle to see Lucia once more, but Raimondo restrains him, assuring him she is already dead. In agony Edgardo draws his dagger and stabs himself. Dying, he calls out to Lucia that God will reunite them in heaven.