Florida opera house sets new production of Lucia di Lammermoor in Westeros

Lucia di Lammermoor is a tragic Italian opera that first premiered in 1835. A new Orlando production will recast the characters as Starks, Arryns and Greyjoys.
Photograph by Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Photograph by Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO /

Here's an interesting story that may or may not involve a violation of intellectual property laws: So Lucia di Lammermoor is an Italian opera written by composer Gaetano Donizetti. It first premiered in Naples in 1835. The story involves marriage contracts, lovers torn asunder, and lots of death; it's classic opera stuff, but also a story that anyone who's ever watched Game of Thrones would feel is pretty familiar.

I guess that's how the administrators at Opera Orlando in Florida felt, because their new production of Lucia di Lammermoor — which opens this Friday, April 19 — is set in Westeros. The Opera Orlando website describes the production as "a Game of Thrones-inspired take on Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor." The synopsis specifies that the action takes place in "the North" during "the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms," which is the ancient period of Westerosi history before the Andals arrived. Someone at Opera Orlando, probably artistic director Grant Preisser, has done their homework.

Anyway, the synopsis lays out the cast of characters. There's Normanno, "head huntsman of House Stark." There's brother and sister Enrico and Lucia, who sound like they're Starks. Enrico wants to marry Lucia off to "Arturo of House Arryn," but she is in love with Edgardo, a member of "House Greyjoy of the Iron Islands," and Enrico's rival. Lucia waits for Edgardo in "the godswood."

I won't say what happens next for fear of spoiling a nearly 200-year-old opera, but clearly, it's borrowing liberally from Game of Thrones mythology, to the point where I wonder if they cleared this with George R.R. Martin or HBO? Are anybody's intellectrual property rights being violated here? I'm not sure, and it looks like there will only be two performances of this opera (this Friday and Sunday, with tickets starting at $29), so maybe it'll come and go before anybody has a chance to bring a lawsuit.

But seriously, they're going hard on the Game of Thrones references. Check out the cast in their costumes:

And lest we forget that it's supposed to be about the music, man, here's legendary opera diva Joan Sutherland signing an aria from Lucia di Lammermoor:

So is this legal? I don't know. Is it fun? Signs point to yes.

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