L'elisir d'amore -- again
I went back to catch a second performance of the Met's revival of L'elisir d'amore tonight, and found it even more wonderful than opening night. It's really a great revival and I recommend that people catch the remaining performances -- you won't be disappointed.
Diana Damrau's was in much better shape than on opening night, where I found her voice surprisingly weak and thin. Tonight it was the familiar Damrau sound again -- bright, a bit brassy, but definitely a stellar, A-list lyric coloratura soprano. She also seemed to be more familiar with the production and cast, and added some funny acting bits that I don't remember on opening night.
Juan Diego Florez gave the same lovely, charming performance he gave opening night. I didn't think Nemorino would be the right role for him -- at times, he can seem aloof and stiff onstage. But he was an absolute delight as Nemorino. He showed his unsophisticated nature by some delightfully bad dancing, and with the classic unappealing "guy" habit of eating food with a knife. Although he did sound underpowered sometimes in the ensembles, in the duets and arias he sang with a beautiful sense of style. "Una furtiva lagrima" was taken at an unusually slow pace but Florez could handle it, and the fast vibrato of his voice worked to his advantage. It had the urgent throb of someone in love. The ovation he received at the end of the opera was just wonderful -- one had the feeling it wasn't just for his great performance tonight, it was also a gesture of gratitude to this tenor who since his Met debut 10 years ago has almost never cancelled, and in all the times I've seen him, never given a bad performance.
Mariusz Kweicien was hilarious as Belcore, and his baritone really is a very pleasant, smooth sound, really perfect for Mozart and bel canto operas. If there was one performer who seemed less impressive than on opening night, it was Alessandro Corbelli. He's kind of an old-school Italian character singer -- the type with almost no voice but plenty of comic timing and a mastery of patter. But tonight he seemed to have even less of a voice than usual, and seemed a bit disengaged from the whole performance as well. The schtick is only funny if performed with absolute conviction and unflagging energy. Corbelli had neither tonight.
John Copley's 1991 production washes the Met stage in a sea of pinks and pastels. I know many people find the pepto-bismol tones unbearable, but in its own way, the production works. It's traditional for Nemorino's to do their own schtick anyway, regardless of the production. But maybe it's just the eternal, ageless loveliness of Donizetti's opera that does the trick. This is an story about simple people in love, and it inspired Donizetti to write one of the most heartfelt valentines of all time. I like how both Adina and Nemorino grow up in this opera -- Adina starts out frivolous and a bit of a flirt. Nemorino is besotted and endearing but has no game. The "elixir of love" is really two people learning tricks from each other -- Nemorino learns how to play hard to get, and Adina learns to be sincere. The odd couple meet each other somewhere in the middle. Lovely opera, lovely performance.
I just got home from seeing this season's final performance of L'elisir d'amore, and I loved it! Florez gave his usual excellent performance, and even sang an encore of Una Furtiva Lagrima (the audience called for a second encore and it looked like he was going to do it; it really did! But then he announced to the audience that "Diana was waiting in the wings" and he went on with the performance). He really is a crowd pleaser, and he needed very little coaxing to sing the encore, after which he bowed and waved and blew kisses and seemed genuinely touched by the audience's appreciation. Needless to say, he got a huge ovation at the end of the opera.ReplyDelete
The entire cast was great, although Damrau's singing was drowned out at times by the other singers and the orchestra.
This performance was a lot of fun, with several laugh out loud moments, and it turned out to be one of the nicest operatic experiences I've had this season.
Unlucky to live so far away from the Met (Ohio) and unluckier even to have missed being at the Met for this performance, but hearing on the radio broadcast that one word "palpiti" among all the beautiful notes and phrases of Furtiva as sung by Florez more than compensated me, momentarily, for life's disappointments. And to hear the encore was ecstasy.ReplyDelete
Very interesting details you have observed , thanks for putting up. "L'elisir d'amore, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome."
by Arthur Ashe.