Opera superstars Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland sing the roles of Nemorino and Adina in this classic recording.
What could be better than a charming love story? Pittsburgh Opera concludes its 2017-2018 season with their April production of Gaetano Donizetti’s bel canto comedy, The Elixir of Love.
Love-sick Nemorino pines for Adina, a beautiful and wealthy woman who seems out of his league. She also appears more interested in Belcore, a handsome military officer. When traveling salesman Doctor Dulcamara arrives in town eager to sell his patented love potion, Nemorino believes his prayers have been answered. Will he win Adina’s heart?
This production moves the setting from the late 18th century to the Amalfi coast in the 1950s. Donizetti’s music remains timeless, full of rollicking choruses, beautiful arias and fast-paced patter songs.
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There are no weak links in this cast, but Mirella Freni as Adina and Sesto Bruscantini as Dulcamara are stand-outs.
Though Anna Netrebko has moved on to different repertoire, she first became a household name in the opera world in classic bel canto roles like Adina. Her vocal pairing with Rolando Villazón (Nemorino) is perfect casting. The sets and costumes of Jürgen Rose create a beautiful vision of a quaint Italian village in the 18th century.
Many opera fans believe that Nemorino was the perfect role for Luciano Pavarotti, one that showcased his vocal skills and onstage charm. It is easy to see why Kathleen Battle, equally wonderful as Adina, ultimately chooses him over Belcore.
William Ashbrook and Julian Budden share their knowledge of Donizetti’s life and work in one of the chapters. Musical examples are given and a works list is included.
Osborne’s brief overview of Elixir gives the reader information about Felice Romani’s libretto and discusses the musical structures, including the “showstopper” aria, “Una furtiva lagrima.” An interesting fact from the text: Donizetti wrote the opera in two weeks!