Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

O/MODƏRNT: Monteverdi in Historical Counterpoint

O/MODƏRNT is Swedish for ‘un/modern’. It is also the name of the festival — curated by artistic director Hugo Ticciati and held annually since 2011 at the Ulriksdal’s Palace Theatre, Confidencen — which aims to look back and celebrate the past ‘by exploring the relationships between the work of old composers and the artistic and intellectual creations of modern culture’.

Late Schumann in context - Matthias Goerne and Menahem Pressler, London

Matthias Goerne and Menahem Pressler at the Wigmore Hall, London, an intriguing recital on many levels. Goerne programmes are always imaginative, bringing out new perspectives, enhancing our appreciation of the depth and intelligence that makes Lieder such a rewarding experience. Menahem Pressler is extremely experienced as a soloist and chamber musician, but hasn't really ventured into song to the extent that other pianists, like Brendel, Eschenbach or Richter, for starters. He's not the first name that springs to mind as Lieder accompanist. Therein lay the pleasure !

Guillaume Tell, Covent Garden

It is twenty-three years since Rossini’s opera of cultural oppression, inspiring heroism and tender pathos was last seen on the Covent Garden stage, but this eagerly awaited new production of Guillaume Tell by Italian director Damiano Micheletto will be remembered more for the audience outrage and vociferous mid-performance booing that it provoked — the most persistent and strident that I have heard in this house — than for its dramatic, visual or musical impact.

Aida, Opera Holland Park

With its outrageous staging demands, you sometimes wonder why opera companies want to produce Verdi’s Aida. But the piece is about far more than pharaohs, pyramids and camels.

Death in Venice, Garsington Opera

Given the enduring resonance and impact of the magnificent visual aesthetic of Visconti’s 1971 film of Thomas Mann’s novella, opera directors might be forgiven for concluding that Britten’s Death in Venice does not warrant experimentation with period and design, and for playing safe with Edwardian elegance, sweeping Venetian vistas and stylised seascapes.

La Rondine Swoops Into St. Louis

If La Rondine (The Swallow) is a less-admired work than rest of the mature Puccini canon, you wouldn’t have known it by the lavish production now lovingly staged by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Emmeline a Stunner in Saint Louis

Few companies have championed new or neglected works quite as fervently and consistently as the industrious Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Luminous Handel in Saint Louis

For Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, “everything old is new again.”

Two Women in San Francisco

Why would an American opera company devote its resources to the premiere of an opera by an Italian composer? Furthermore a parochially Italian story?

Les Troyens in San Francisco

Berlioz’ Les Troyens is in two massive parts — La prise de Troy and Troyens à Carthage.

Dog Days at REDCAT

On Saturday evening June 13, 2015, Los Angeles Opera presented Dog Days, a new opera with music by David T. Little and a text by Royce Vavrek. In the opera adopted from a story of the same name by Judy Budnitz, thirteen-year-old Lisa tells of her family’s mental and physical disintegration resulting from the ravages of a horrendous war.

Opera Las Vegas Presents Exquisite Madama Butterfly

Audiences at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan first saw Madama Butterfly on February 17, 1904. It was not the success it is these days, and Puccini revised it before its scheduled performances in Brescia.

Yardbird, Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia is a very well-managed opera company with a great vision. Every year it presents a number of well-known “warhorse” operas, usually in the venerable Academy of Music, and a few more adventurous productions, usually in a chamber opera format suited to the smaller Pearlman Theater.

Giovanni Paisiello: Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Written in 1783, Giovanni Paisiello’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia reigned for three decades as one of Europe’s most popular operas, before being overshadowed forever by Rossini’s classic work.

Princeton Festival: Le Nozze di Figaro

The Princeton Festival has established a reputation for high-quality summer opera. In recent years works by Handel, Britten, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Wagner and Gershwin have been performed at Matthews Theater on Princeton University campus: a 1100-seat auditorium with good sight-lines though a somewhat dry and uneven acoustic.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail,
Glyndebourne

Die Entführung aus dem Serail was Mozart’s first great public success in Vienna, and it became the composer’s most oft performed opera during his lifetime.

German Lieder Is Given a Dramatic Twist by The Ensemble for the Romantic Century

The Ensemble for the Romantic Century offered a thoughtful and well-curated evening in their production of The Sorrows of Young Werther, which is part theatrical performance and part art song concert.

Hans Werner Henze: Ein Landarzt and Phaedra

This was an adventurous double bill of two ‘quasi-operas’ by Hans Werner Henze, performed by young singers who are studying on the postgraduate Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Dido and Aeneas, Spitalfields Festival

High brick walls, a cavernous space, entered via a narrow passage just off a London thoroughfare: Village Underground in Shoreditch is probably not that far removed from the venue in which Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas was first performed — whether that was Josiah Priest’s girl’s school in Chelsea or the court of Charles II or James II.

Intermezzo, Garsington Opera

Hats off to Garsington for championing once again some criminally neglected Strauss. I overheard someone there opine, ‘Of course, you can understand why it isn’t done very often.’

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Giuseppe Filianoti as Nemorino, Malcolm MacKenzie as Belcore and Tatiana Lisnic as Adina [Photo by Cory Weaver]
02 Mar 2014

San Diego Opera’s Elixir of Love

On Sunday afternoon, February 23, 2014, San Diego Opera presented The Elixir of Love in a traditional production by Stephen Lawless.

San Diego Opera’s Elixir of Love

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Giuseppe Filianoti as Nemorino, Malcolm MacKenzie as Belcore and Tatiana Lisnic as Adina

Photos by Cory Weaver

 

He told the story in an easily understandable manner and gave the singers a great deal of comedy that kept the action moving forward.

Gaetano Donizetti often wrote his operas in an amazingly short time. He and librettist Felice Romani wrote L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) in six weeks, using a translation of Eugène Scribe’s libretto for Daniel Auber’s Le Philtre, (The Potion) as a model. They made the Italian opera more romantic than its French relative with the introduction of what is now the best-known aria in the piece, “Una Furtiva Lagrima”, and the addition of a duet for Adina and Nemorino in Act I.

Donizetti must have felt a personal relationship with the character of Nemorino because a wealthy lady had once bought him out of an army contract. The opera’s premiere at the Teatro della Canobbiana in Milan on May 12, 1832, was a tremendous success and L’Elisir became the most often performed opera in Italy between 1838 and 1848. According to Operabase, it is still one of the world’s most frequently performed operas.

On Sunday afternoon, February 23, 2014, San Diego Opera presented The Elixir of Love in a traditional production by Stephen Lawless that had also been seen in Geneva and Los Angeles. He told the story in an easily understandable manner and gave the singers a great deal of comedy that kept the action moving forward. Johan Engels’ set showed the inside of a large barn with many doors that open up onto farmland growing hay and flowers. Thus, most of the action took place in the barn at the front of the stage. Engels’ artfully detailed costumes set the action firmly in the nineteenth century.

ELX_fil n chor 3268.pngGiuseppe Filianoti as Nemorino with chorus

As Nemorino, Giuseppe Filianoti was a lovable, totally unsophisticated country boy who gets into some thoroughly amusing slapstick situations. He looked adorable and proved to be a fine actor, but at this performance his intonation was a serious problem. The Adina, Tatiana Lisnic had no such drawbacks. She hit all the notes correctly while giving a passionate portrayal of the young, attractive landowner. Remember her name. She is a fine talent from whom more great performances can be expected. I hope she will soon again sing in California.

This edition of the score gave Adina’s friend Giannetta more music than usual to sing and Stephanie Weiss sang it to good advantage. Malcolm MacKenzie has a powerful baritone voice with distinctive colors and it underscored his amusing portrayal of the strutting, self-important Sergeant Belcore. Kevin Burdette was a rather different Dr. Dulcamara. Instead of the usual portly basso buffo, this patent medicine salesman was tall, lean, and always ready to run away when someone started to uncover his larcenous ways. He sang with robust tones and his fast patter was a joy to hear.

Charles Prestinari’s chorus sang with delightful harmonies as they moved in small groups to give the impression of farmers, soldiers and townspeople. American conductor Karen Kamensek, music director of Staatsoper Hanover, is a powerhouse on the podium. She opened with brisk tempi and kept the performance moving. The comedy never lagged but the singers always had the leeway they needed to be at their best. She is a fine addition to San Diego Opera and I hope they will have her back soon. Although this was not a perfect performance, it was a a good one that kept the audience interested and amused for a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Gianetta, Stephanie Weiss; Nemorino, Giuseppe Filianoti; Adina, Tatiana Lisnic; Sergeant Belcore, Malcolm MacKenzie; Dr. Dulcamara, Kevin Burdette; Conductor, Karen Kamensek; Director, Stephen Lawless; Set and Costume Design, Johan Engels; Lighting Design, Joan /sulliven-Genthe; Chorus Master Charles F. Prestinari.


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):