Premiered on September 26, 1835 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.Composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Libretto written by Salvatore Cammarano after Sir Walter Scott.
A feud has been raging for generations between two Scottish families, the Ashtons and the Ravenswoods. The Ashtons are in power and have taken possession of Ravenswood Castle.
Edgardo, the last surviving Ravenswood, has been living in exile at Wolf’s Crag Tower. The Ashtons, led by Enrico, have also seen better days. Political forces threaten to weaken their power and fortune. Enrico hopes to restore his family’s position by marrying his sister Lucia to the wealthy and powerful Arturo.
Enrico’s retainer is searching for an intruder. Enrico learns that Edgardo, his enemy, is that intruder and that he regularly visits Lucia at the castle. Enrico declares his hatred for the Ravenswood family and swears revenge.
Lucia is waiting for Edgardo. She tells her maid that she has seen the ghost of a young maiden near the fountains. The maid remarks that the vision is an omen that she must end her relationship with Edgardo.
Edgardo finally arrives, but must soon depart for France. Even so, he hopes to make peace with Enrico and marry Lucia. Though Lucia believes this to be impossible, they pledge their love for each other, swear a vow of marriage, and exchange rings.
Enrico’s apartments in Ravenswood Castle
The wedding of Lucia and Arturo is imminent. Lucia enters, filled with distress at having to marry a man she does not love. Using all of his means to convince her to marry Arturo, Enrico shows his sister a forged letter proving that Edgardo has a new lover. He then closes the deal by telling her he will be ruined if the wedding does not proceed.
A hall in the castle
Arturo arrives to claim Lucia as his bride. Lucia appears distant and troubled, but plans to go through with the marriage. She signs the marriage contract.
Edgardo, returning early from France, enters unexpectedly to take Lucia. In an attempt to prevent a scandal and a battle, Raimondo, the chaplain, shows Edgardo the signed marriage contract. The betrayal is too much to bear. Edgardo renounces Lucia and throws his ring to the ground.
Enrico challenges Edgardo to a duel. They plan to confront each other by the graveyard.
A hall in Ravenswood castle
The wedding guests are celebrating in the castle. Raimondo interrupts to tell them that Lucia has gone mad and has killed her bridegroom.
Lucia enters. In a delirious state, she imagines herself to be with Edgardo, happily married. She then collapses with fever.
The graveyard of the Ravenswood family
Edgardo prepares to fight and die by Enrico’s sword. He learns, instead, of Lucia’s death. Rather than live without her, he takes his own life.