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Performances

Photo by Richard Brusky
01 Jul 2019

Fun, Frothy, and Frivolous: L’elisir d’amore at Las Vegas

There are a dizzying array of choices for music entertainment in Las Vegas ranging from Celine Dion and Cher to Paul McCartney and Aerosmith. Admittedly, these performers are a far cry from opera, but the point is that Las Vegas residents have many options when it comes to live music.

Fun, Frothy, and Frivolous: L’elisir d’amore at Las Vegas

A review by Michelle Latour

Photos by Richard Brusky

 

Opera Las Vegas’ recent production of Gaetano Donzetti’s L’elisir d’amore did not disappoint. From first-rate lead characters, clever staging, and a delightful women’s ensemble, this production was highly entertaining and enjoyable.

Nemorino, sung by tenor, Christopher Bozeka, established immediately his comfort and command with this role in his opening aria, “Quanto è bella,” singing with a beautiful, clear tone that was marred only slightly by balance issues between singer and orchestra.

This minor imbalance continued into Adina’s first cavatina, “Della crudele Isotta.” Soprano Cecilia Violetta López was a bit overshadowed by the orchestra during musical passages that sat mostly in middle-voice, but her creamy and glorious tone soared above the orchestra once out of her middle range. Ms. López then displayed stunning dynamic control and exquisite shaping of musical phrases, in addition to showcasing her acting chops with engaging facial expressions and pure sass throughout.

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Thankfully, the orchestral imbalance was rectified by “Come Paride vezzoso,” and was not an issue for the remainder of the opera.

A highlight of the first act was “Chiedi all’aura lusingiera,” Adina and Nemorino’s duet. Their chemistry was evident as Adina tolerated Nemorino’s desperation. Here Bozeka came into his own vocally with superb phrasing, amazing dynamic control, and a breathtaking decrescendo, all the while maintaining his puppy-like despondence.

Dulcamara, sung by bass-baritone Adelmo Guidarelli, was another high spot of the opera. With an incredibly resonant timbre and strong sense of comedy, the audience was definitely buying what this consummate salesman was promoting. Although he was not perfectly in sync with the orchestra during portions of “Udite, udite, o rustici,” he was perfect for this role.

Nemorino and Dulcamara’s duet, “Voglio dire,” was pure fun. Their voices blended amazingly well and the clever and humorous staging had everyone in the audience laughing.

The Act Two duet, “Venti scudi,” featuring Nemorino and Belcore, also deserves mention. Baritone Tobias Greenhalgh proved his strong and persuasive prowess on stage. The juxtaposition between Greenhalgh’s patter outbursts and Bozeka’s legato singing was superior.

Here kudos must be given to director, Joshua Borths, for his fresh and clever staging. This was most evident in the women’s ensemble number, “Saria possible?” They outshone their male chorus counterparts consistently, and this number was no exception. Their stage entrance by sneaking in and then all heads popping up at once, perfectly synchronized to the orchestration, was purely adorable. And the women looked like they were having a rollicking good time, especially when stuffing their bras with tissue in anticipation of winning Nemorino’s heart.

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Another standout moment for López, Guidarelli, and Borths was Adina and Dulcamara’s duet, “Io son ricco e tu sei bella.” Some of the staging required a fair amount of athleticism, which looked effortless. Here Dulcamara vindicated himself for any vocal wrong doings in Act One. His patter phrases were spot on and incredibly exciting. I could listen to that all day.

Praise here should also go to conductor, Joshua Horsch, as the orchestra was consistent and solid throughout.

A touching moment was “Una furtiva lagrima,” which was gorgeously sung by Bozeka, displaying velvety tone coupled with simple and highly effective vocal delivery. He received a well-deserved “Bravo!” from the audience.

This was followed with another stellar moment from López. Her opening fermata on “Prendi” sent shivers down my spine it was so beautiful. There were several moments during her aria, “Prendi, per mei sei libero” that could melt your heart.

Joshua Horsch, Joshua Borths, the cast, and the orchestra made this performance a breath of fresh air and pure entertainment, amidst a town bursting at the seams with glitz and glamour, star power and media frenzy over the latest dayclub opening. L’elisir d’amore was an evening of delightful singing and engaging staging, displaying a high level of artistic excellence throughout.

Michelle Latour

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