House detail, Limone sul Garda, Brescia, Italy. Image: Mark Tyson
A cool, sunny Autumn day in London; a warm, sunny comedy at the Royal Opera House: Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, in Laurent Pelly’s energetic production.
Lucy Crowe was an Adina with a little more bite than usual, helped by a keen comedy swagger and a plangency in her voice, which amply gave to the more thoughtful moments what may have been missing from the farcical. There was no dimming of Terfel’s ebullience in Dulcamara’s daft scenes. Levente Molnár had the Monty Python-esque physical comedy of Belcore in good measure, but could have done with a bit more vocal brilliance to match it. And Vittorio Grigolo… ah well, his puppy-dog over-acting rather suited the role of Nemorino, in fact more than I had expected. Sledgehammers and nuts had come to mind when I contemplated this casting and, indeed, we should gloss over an Una furtiva lagrima which sounded as though written by Giordani, for which Daniele Rustioni in the pit shared the blame. But, that said, his Nemorino won the house over on the basis of vocal heft and force of personality.
Rustioni seemed to me to struggle with some co-ordination between stage and pit here and there, but kept things buoyant. The orchestra played brilliantly; the chorus – on slightly muted form, I thought – framed the action with giddy excitement. The dog did its thing. The sun shone. We all went out smiling.
Notes and half-formed thoughts on three performances from the closing weeks of the Royal Opera season are still hanging around, not set down for posterity. Since posterity likes completeness (not that it ever gets it), I’d better crack on. (more…)
I can’t recall the last time I had so many cancellation notices in the run-up to an opera. First, Micaela Carosi withdrew due to pregnancy and/or, depending on how much you read into these things, being boo’d at the dress rehearsal. Given her reviews for the first run, we might not count that as too grievous a loss. Then Fabio Luisi gets a better offer and swaps Covent Garden’s Aïda for the Met’s Rheingold, in place of an ailing James Levine. And finally, a few days before the performance, Olga Borodina succumbs to a virus and withdraws to spend the night, one assumes, with a cold compress and some Vicks. (more…)