L'elisir d'amore at the Royal Opera House
L'elisir d'amore is a two-act comic opera by the Italian composer Donizetti and was premiered in 1832 in Milan. The opera was written in six weeks! It is a love story reflecting on how a young farm worker Nemorino gets his girl, the farm owner Adina, despite the interest of a rival the boastful Sergeant Belcore and using a love potion put together by the dubious Doctor Dulcamara.
The opera is directed by Laurent Pelly who sets the opera in a 20th century Italian village with vans, vespers and bicycles driving about on stage outside the shabby local bar. It’s a very attractive production revived at the Royal Opera House by Daniel Dooner.
The conductor Bertrand De Billy starts rather slowly but in a very methodical manner keeps the action rolling and leaves enough gaps for the many laughs during the evening.
The artists clearly got on very well and were having a lot of fun on stage – more in the line of a romcom - which was very appropriate for this production. Three of the four main cast were Italian and they interacted with each other brilliantly.
The central female character of Adina was sung by the south African soprano Pretty Yende. Her rise to fame is somewhat of a fairy tale. She was born in a small remote town near Johannesburg and started singing in her local church choir. Her journey took her in 2009 to the young artists programme at La Scala Milan. Whilst not a huge sound her voice is very centered with a pure quality that is capable of easily hitting the highest notes and more. She clearly enjoyed the fun with the Nemorino of Ivan Magri who over the last ten years has sung tenor roles all over Europe rapidly gaining full recognition for his Italianate sounding voice.
His rival for Adina’s affection Belcore was sung by Paolo Bordogna who possess a velvety baritone sound and who’s caricature possess lots of buffo as the boastful Sergeant. He was matched in humour by the Dulcamara of the bass baritone Alex Esposito. His singing and interpretation of the role were outstanding as were his tattoos, braces and deep red suit for the act two wedding.
Overall an evening of great fun from a team of singers that clearly enjoyed every minute of this production.
With kind regards,
Sunday, 11 June 2017
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