Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, ENO

Although the English National Opera has been decidedly sparing with its Wagner for quite some time now, its recent track record, leaving aside a disastrous Ring, has perhaps been better than that at Covent Garden.

San Diego Opera presents an excellent Don Giovanni

On Friday February 20, 2015, San Diego Opera presented Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a production by Nicholas Muni originally seen at Cincinnati Opera.

Tosca at Chicago Lyric

In a production first seen in Houston several years ago, and now revised by its director John Caird, Puccini’s Tosca has returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago with two casts, partially different, scheduled into March of the present season.

Henri Dutilleux: Correspondances

Henri Dutilleux’s music has its devotees. I am yet to join their ranks, but had no reason to think this was not an admirable performance of his song-cycle Correspondances.

LA Opera Revives The Ghosts of Versailles

In 1980, the Metropolitan Opera commissioned composer John Corigliano to write an opera celebrating the company’s one-hundredth anniversary. It was to be ready in 1983.

La Traviata, ENO

English National Opera’s revival of Peter Konwitschny’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata had many elements in common with the production’s original outing in 2013 (The production was a co-production with Opera Graz, where it had debuted in 2011).

Idomeneo in Lyon

You might believe you could go to an opera and take in what you see at face value. But if you did that just now in Lyon you would have had no idea what was going on.

Der fliegende Holländer, Royal Opera

I wonder whether we need a new way of thinking — and talking — about operatic ‘revivals’. Perhaps the term is more meaningful when it comes to works that have been dead and buried for years, before being rediscovered by subsequent generations.

Iphigénie en Tauride in Geneva

Hopefully this brilliant new production of Iphigénie en Tauride from the Grand Théâtre de Genève will find its way to the new world now that Gluck’s masterpiece has been introduced to American audiences.

Tristan et Isolde in Toulouse

Tristan first appeared on the stage of the Théâtre du Capitole in 1928, sung in French, the same language that served its 1942 production even with Wehrmacht tanks parked in front of the opera house.

Arizona Opera presents Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Arizona Opera presented Eugene Onegin during and 1999-2000 season and again on February 1 of this year as part of the 2014-2015 season. In this country Onegin is not a crowd pleaser like La Bohème or Carmen, but its story is believable and its music melodic and memorable. Just hum the beginning of the “Polonaise” and your friends will know the music, if not where it comes from.

Ernst Krenek: Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen, Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall

Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles at the Wigmore Hall in Ernst Krenek’s Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen. Matthias Goerne has called Hanns Eisler’s Hollywooder Liederbuch the Winterreise of the 20th century. Boesch and Vignoles showed how Krenek’s Reisebuch is a journey of discovery into identity at an era of extreme social change. It is a parable, indeed, of modern times.

Anna Bolena at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new Anna Bolena, a production shared with Minnesota Opera, features a distinguished cast including several notable premieres.

San Diego Celebrates 50th Year with La Bohème

On Tuesday January 27, 2015, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme. It is the opera with which the company opened in 1965 and a work that the company has faithfully performed every five years since then.

English Pocket Opera Company: Verdi’s Macbeth

Last year we tracked Orfeo on his desperate search for his lost Euridice, through the labyrinths and studio spaces of Central St Martin’s; this year we were plunged into Macbeth’s tragic pursuit of power in the bare blackness of the CSM’s Platform Theatre.

Béla Bartók: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Béla Bartók’s only opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, composed in 1911 and based upon a libretto by the Hungarian writer Béla Balázs, was not initially a success.

Katia Kabanova in Toulon

Káťa Kabanová is, they say, Janáček's first mature opera — it comes a mere 20 years after his masterpiece, Jenůfa.

Peter Grimes in Nice

Nice’s golden winter light is not that of England’s North Sea coast. Nonetheless the Opéra de Nice’s new production of Peter Grimes did much to take us there.

Guillaume Tell in Monaco

Peasants revolt in a sea of Maserati and Ferrari’s.

LA Opera Presents Figaro 90210

Figaro 90210 is Vid Guerrerio’s modern version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo DaPonte’s 1786 opera, The Marriage of Figaro.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Giuseppe Filianoti as Nemorino and Nicole Cabell as Adina [Photo by Dan Rest courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago]
08 Mar 2010

Love Triumphs in L’Elisir d’amore at Lyric Opera of Chicago

In its current revival of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production showcases the strengths and foibles of humanity, while assuring the ultimate triumph of love.

Gaetano Donizetti: L’Elisir d’amore

Adina: Nicole Cabell; Nemorino; Giuseppe Filianoti; Nemorino: Frank Lopardo; Dulcamara: Alessandro Corbelli; Belcore: Gabriele Viviani; Giannetta: Angela Mannino. Bruno Campanella, conductor. Original Production: Giulio Chazalettes. Director: Vincent Liotta. Designer: Ulisse Santicchi. Lighting Designer: Jason Brown. Chorus Master: Donald Nally. Wigmaster and Makeup Designer: Richard Jarvie.

Above: Giuseppe Filianoti as Nemorino and Nicole Cabell as Adina [Photo by Dan Rest courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago]

 

The bright and festive staging featured, in its opening cast, Nicole Cabell and Giuseppe Filianoti as the pair Adina and Nemorino, whom love finally unites. The rival to Nemorino in his courtship of Adina, Sergeant Belcore, was sung by baritone Gabriele Viviani. Whereas both suitors of Adina are making their debut this season at Lyric Opera, the pivotal role of Doctor Dulcamara, who produces the elixir allegedly causing love, was portrayed by familiar baritone Alessandro Corbelli. The orchestra was conducted by Bruno Campanella.

In it performance of the overture the Lyric Opera Orchestra yielded a firm balance of strings and woodwinds, with the oboe and flutes especially standing out. Campanella led with tempos that allowed for motivic expression of individual segments while maintaining an overall conception of the orchestral flow. The first scene of the opera in this production is bathed in sunlight; the Lyric Opera chorus in its opening number gives the impression of a nineteenth-century village gathering. Nemorino threads his way through the crowd of peasants and townspeople in order to snag a glimpse of his beloved Adnia. She seems to be lost in her reading and, with book in hand, she ascends to an elevated balcony and seeks out space for concentration. In his first solo number, “Quanto è bella,” [“How beautiful!”] Nemorino details his infatuation with ardent lyricism. Mr Filianoti truly gave such an impression while lacing his verses with an admirable sense for legato. In his appeals to gain access to Adina’s attentions Filianoti relied, perhaps more than needed, on forte expression, a more even balance showing itself once interaction with the other performers began. During the following, parallel aria Adina reveals that the subject of her reading is the story of “Tristan and Isolde” whose boundless love was engendered by a potion. Here Ms. Cabell indicated Adina’s absorption in the tale of the magical love by, at first, an understated approach with spare use of vocal decoration. As Adina continues to muse and wishes that she knew more about the potion, a troop of soldiers enters under the direction of Sergeant Belcore. In his introductory aria he offers a token of admiration to Adina and sings of his own love being tantamount to that of a Classical or mythological model of amor. Mr. Viviani worked his way into this entrance so that his elaborate decoration was securely applied to suggest an image of self-importance by the close of his declaration. Adina does not commit herself as a result of this paean, yet Nemorino feels that he could lose any chance to win her love. By the point of the trio ending this scene all three principals had achieved a vocal and dramatic characterization of their roles and interacted well to express the hauteur of the Sergeant, the desperation of Nemorino, and the coyness of Adina. The duet which follows this exchange features the latter two characters in their first scene alone together. As Adina attempts to dissuade Nemorino from further displays of devotion, he seems willing to neglect even the fortunes of an ailing uncle. Filianoti sang graceful arching lines in his description of the unstoppable flow of the river, in order to describe the futility of trying to stay his emotions [“Chiedi al rio perchè gemente dalla balza” (“Ask of the river why it parts from its source and fountain”)]. Ms. Cabell’s voice seemed to bloom here as she matched the touching bel canto decoration of her suitor, even though her response to Nemorino essentially denied his entreaties.

In a shift suggesting the scene at the start of the opera numerous villagers collect around the cart of Dr. Dulcamara, who enters from his travels with great spectacle. Mr. Corbelli inhabits the role in all its facets convincingly. From this point until the close of the act Dulcamara’s personality and his influence have an effect on Nemorino’s hopes and behavior. At first Dulcamara brags to the villagers of selling a panacea for any possible ill. Mr. Corbelli handles the doctor’s rapid monologue with idiomatic ease, and he infuses the words with believable posture. Once the townspeople leave, Nemorino asks if a potion to induce love is also sold by the doctor. True to expectations of Dulcmara, a potion akin to Isolde’s is produced: the doctor sells Nemorino a bottle of wine and suggests that he allow a days’ time for the elixir to take effect. In the well-known duet including “Obbligato!” [“Much obliged!”] both Filianoti and Corbelli maintain and enhance their characterizations of a lovelorn youth and a self-serving charlatan. Their challenging vocal lines were delivered crisply and with sufficient independence so that each made a distinct impression while, at the same time, being caught up audibly in the sense of a progressive duet. Nemorino imbibes from the elixir as instructed and he becomes, of course, emboldened in his sense of confidence. When he next sees Adina, Nemorino seems disinterested and he declares that her emotional response will surely be kindled before long. Ironically Belcore enters and presses his suit again. In the trio which concludes Act I Adina agrees, at first, to give her consent to Belcore by the following day. When reminded of the sergeant’s imminent departure, she agrees to a marriage on this very day. Mindful of the doctor’s prediction, Nemorino is now aghast that sufficient time will not have elapsed for Adina’s love to be awakened by the potion. Accompanied by increasingly rapid tempos, all three principals in this production sailed toward the finale while communicating individual emotions as part of a larger canvas in the ensemble. The well-rehearsed chorus contributed to the picture of unexpected dilemmas at the close of the act.

At the start of Act II festivities for the wedding between Adina and Belcore have been set up. While Belcore waits for the marriage document to be signed, Adina regrets the absence of Nemorino. The crowd is entertained by a song performed in duet by Dulcamara and Adina. At this pont Ms. Cabell and Mr. Corbelli engaged in play-acting to suggest the amorous tone of the song, a skillful maneuver which enhanced the tension of love as gradually depicted here in its development. Once the notary arrives to seal the marriage, Adina finds further reason to delay her agreement. She leaves Dulcamara alone at the banquet until Nemorino appears to beg more of the elixir. Since he has no cash to buy the potion, Nemorino sells his time to the army: Belcore gives him twenty crowns in exchange for military service. In these two scenes Filianoti showed a skillful application of vocal colors, first in his exchange with Dulcamara followed by the pointed duet with the sergeant. Once the news that Nemorino’s wealthy relative has passed away is communicated by the village girl Giannetta, the youth returns under the influence of the elixir. In the role of Giannetta, Angela Mannino gave full-voiced lyrical expression to a memorable characterization. Now many of the women in the village vie for Nemorino’s attentions, as Adina must rely on her own charms to settle the emotional quandary. In their final solo numbers of the act both Filianoti and Cabell demonstrated their skills at this repertoire. “Una furtiva lagrima” [“A furtive tear”] was performed with great pathos, a superior command of legato, and an effective use of diminuendo toward the close. Ms. Cabell’s ultimate declaration of her love was sung with appropriate and well-executed decoration as well as carefully observed shifts in tempo during the course of the aria. The assembly of well-wishers provided a happy ending as Dulcamara, initiator of the elixir, departs upon having completed his task.

Salvatore Calomino

Click here for a photo gallery and other information regarding this production.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):