L’elisir d’amore on the radio
Back to opera on the radio with Donizetti’s romcom from ROH in Laurent Pelly ever popular production.
Adina: Lucy Crowe
Nemorino: Vittorio Grigolo
Dulcamara: Bryn Terfel
Belcore: Levente Molnár
Giannetta: Kiandra Howarth
Conductor: Daniele Rustioni | Orchestra and Chorus of the ROH
The best things in act I were the chorus and the conducting. Rustioni managed a very good balance between light and dark and kept it bouncy. Vocally, Grigolo, whom I normally don’t like, surprised me positively. He started strong, he wasn’t bad at all as the naive and romantically inclined Nemorino. On the other hand I still haven’t warmed up to Crowe, although maybe a fuller voice is a good idea for a strong woman? Belcore was all right but Molnár didn’t sound very self important. I might’ve liked a brighter, sparklier tone… Terfel is not a bass, is he? He wasn’t bad, maybe needed to be funnier…
The Nemorino/Dulcamara duet came off all right, I think Terfel needs to up his salesman act. He sounds more like Belcore than Molnár does. Maybe I need to re-asses how much I like him as an actor. But strictly vocally speaking he was very good. Grigolo was a bit forward in duets and ensembles. The choir rocked the end of Act I.
intermission interviews: interesting points made about the changing of the tenor voice during the 1830s, from the left-over (tenore di grazia) of the castrati period to the head+chest mix of later on. Grigolo’s speaking voice does sound like a (high) mezzo’s. Rustioni says clarity is essential in belcanto, every notes counts. You can run but you cannot hide 😉
If you don’t know the story, Adina, the un-romantic land owner, reads the story of Tristan and Isolde and makes fun of the stupid (eh heh) plot. Nemorino (who’s besotted with her) thinks he needs just that kind of potion to make her love him. Roll in Dulcamara, the travelling quack doc. He of course has a “love potion” (red wine) for Nemorino. Nemorino gets drunk on it. Rumour spreads that his rich uncle has conveniently died and made him his heir (somebody needs to connect us all with these rich uncles from opera). All the women in the village jump him. Nemorino thinks it’s the potion. Turns out Adina actually likes him without the help of any potion.
Grigolo did a good job acting drunk. Choir, Grigolo and Terfel continued to be good to very good. Crowe wasn’t bad just not my thing. Check out the major madness at the end of Una furtiva lagrima (hope it works and sorry about the chop at the start. I was daydreaming)1. As you can hear, the public really got the clap 😉 before it even properly ended. But the public also loved Adina’s big aria. They were really clap-happy. Can’t fault tuneful music with simple plots.
All in all it was very entertaining, I kinda wish I’d been there.
- sorry, expired file. ↩