L'elisir d'amore

Donizetti L'elisir d'amore opera to libretto by Felice Romani. Directed 2009 by Annabel Arden at Glyndebourne. Stars Ekaterina Siurina (Adina), Peter Auty (Nemorino), Alfredo Daza (Belcore), Luciano di Pasquale (Dr. Dulcamara), Eliana Pretorian (Giannetta), and James Bellorini (Dulcamara's Assistant). Maurizio Benini conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Leader Pieter Schoeman) and the Glyndebourne Chorus (Chorus Master Thomas Blunt). Designs by Lez Brotherston; lighting by Giuseppe Di Iorio; movement direction by Leah Hausman; TV direction by Robin Lough. Released 2010, this disc has 5.1 dts Master Audio. Grade: A+

Non-stop beautiful song in funny but touching drama. All the stars sound, look, and act as they should. The design moves the setting from 1830 to 1930 in an Italian village where just about everybody was dirt poor but every girl had at least one pretty dress. Clever directing gets by with one detailed, realistic, and appealing set. I think Annabel Arden spent most of her budget on letting Leah Hausman (movement director) drill the Glyndebourne Chorus, which turns in the best sung, staged, and acted performance by a chorus that I can remember. All is lovingly, warmly, closely recorded to ravish eye and ear.

The L'OperaDou jury gave this an "A-." I originally gave it an "A." I recently saw this again for the first time in two years, and I enjoyed it more than ever before! I think I was wary earlier about an "A+" for this title because there are no international superstars in the cast. Later I realized how short-sighted that attitude was and upped the grade to"A+."

This is one of the most popular operas, and seasoned opera lovers know it well. But for you newcomers, here are some screenshots:

Adina (Ekaterina Siurina) inherited one of the larger farms in the district. She works the farm, but she also has money and time for books. Here you see her reading in the window after the day's work. Nemorino (Peter Auty) is a farmhand (dressed in blue coveralls) who is trying to learn how to be an electrician. He is desperately in love with Adina:

The workers like for Adina to read to them. Here she tells them the story of Tristan and Isolde. Nemorino is intrigued by the idea of a love potion:

Suddenly a squad of soldiers appears with Sergeant Belcore (Alfredo Daza) in command. Belcore has a girl in every district, and he spots Adina right away:

Belcore's appearance has upset Nemorino terribly. Adina has some advice for him:

Another surprise visitor appears in the village:

The visitor is the quack medicine man Dr. Dulcamara (Luciano di Pasquale) with his assistant (James Bellorini):

Nemorino screws up his courage and asks Dulcamara for a love potion. Dulcamara complies in exchange for all the money in Nemorino's pocket:

And then aside:

Adina agrees to marry Belcore soon (the girl in gray leaning to hear the conversation is Giannetta, Adina's best friend as well as a gossip and instigator):

But then an order comes from the Captain:

The soldiers will leave for a new post:

Belcore presses Adina to marry immediately, and she agrees to have a wedding that evening:

Nemorino believes the love potion will start working the next day. He is beside himself with fear that Adina will marry Belcore before the potion starts working. He begs Adina to wait at least one day to marry:

Plan B is for Nemorino to drink more love potion immediately so Adina will be affected before dusk and then cancel the wedding. But Nemorino is broke. Where can he come up with money for more elixer? Belcore has an answer:

So Nemorino enlists:

In the meantime, word reaches Giannetta (Eliana Prenorian) that Nemorino's rich uncle has died and Nemorino is now rich. (Neither Nemorino nor Adina know this yet.) The village girls go crazy primping for Nemorino:

Everyone is amazed at the scene when Nemorino shows up. Nemoriro says to Dulcamara:

And sure enough, Adina starts to sort out her feelings:

This leads to "Una furtiva lagrima", one of the most famous tenor arias. The slow, contemplative, even sad verses of this aria present a sharp contrast to the almost unrelentingly energetic and cheerful nature of the rest of this opera:

Ahina buys Nemorinos enlistment contract so he doesn't have to be a soldier after all. The Sergeant gets drunk, and Dulcamera leaves town thinking he really has invented a love potion. Finally, Adina and Nemorino are together:

I guess our lovers find out the next day that Nemorino is now rich. Some people do have all the luck. If you don't already have this disc, improve your sex life now by buying it from one of the buttons below:

But first, here's the Opus Arte trailer: