St. Lucy, Nunraw, Lucia di Lammermoor.
The feast of St. Lucy. December 13, has something of a resonance at Nunraw which, in the guise of the RAVENSWOOD of Walter Scott’s novel, the Bride of Lammermoor, is also celebrated in Donizetti opera, Lucia di Lammermoor.
St. Lucy is one the most popular names for centuries.
We thank God for the gifts of light and of eyesight dramatized in every aspect of the story of the martyrdom of Lucy and the traditions associated with her name. She is the patron of all those who suffer eye ailments and blindness.
Drama, music, art and poetry have recounted the moving experience suffered not only by Lucy but by those denied eyesight at birth, impaired by disease or by violence. One can easily add the feminist aspect to Lucy’s death. The martyrdom she suffered for her faith had the hallmark of male domination in the vengeance of the thwarted suitor for her marriage.
The poet John Donne was still following the old calendar when he wrote, A Nocturnal upon Saint Lucy's Day. It is interesting to note that Donne wrote his will on St Lucy's Day (December 13th) 1630. His poem 'A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy's Day, being the shortest day' concerns his despair at the death of a loved one. Donne expresses a feeling of utter negation and hopelessness, saying that "I am every dead thing...re-begot of absence, darkness, death". In that melancholy state it seems he chose to write his will on the date he had described as "Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight."
On St Lucy’s Day it is interesting to recall the Fr. Michael Sherry’s account of the Walter Scott connection. Sir Walter Scott. “It has been said that Nunraw has a strong claim to be recognised as the "Ravenswood" of Sir Walter Scott's "Bride of Lammermoor." (Trans. E L. Antiq. Vol. 1, Part V). This tradition led Lily Pons, world-famous for her interpretation of the part in Donizetti's opera, "Lucia di Lammermoor," to visit the original "Ravenswood" in June, 1948. She was much surprised to find it occupied by monks. It is known that Sir Walter Scott stayed in Gifford, while doing some of his writing, and took long walks in the vicinity of Garvald. Certainly there are points in the description of "Ravenswood" castle as "in a gorge of a pass or mountain glen ascending from the fertile plains of
Later study of the background is to be found in Wikipedia, “Synopsis -
The plot of Sir Walter Scott's original novel is based on an actual incident in the history of the Stair family. Events take place in the Lammermuirs area of Lowland Scotland, in 1669. It may be noted that while the libretto retains much of Scott's basic intrigue, it also contains very substantial changes in terms of characters and events.
The story concerns a feud between two families, the Ashtons and the Ravenswoods. When the opera begins, the Ashtons are in the ascendancy and have taken possession of