Royal Opera House revives Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore

Nov 19, 2012

Laurent Pelly's Fellini-esque version of Donizetti's comic opera is a 'sparkling success'


What you need to know
A revival of Gaetano Donizetti's popular opera L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) by celebrated French theatre and opera director Laurent Pelly has opened at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Pelly's production was first performed in 2007.

The comic melodrama was originally set in the late 18th century, but Pelly's version is set in 1950s rural Italy where an impoverished villager, Nemorino, falls in love with a wealthy, indifferent landowner Adina, and attempts to seduce her with a love potion.

Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak stars as the flirtatious Adina, with Franco-Sicilian singer Roberto Alagna in the role of the lovesick Nemorino. Runs until 7 December.

What the critics like
The evening is a sparkling success, says Michael Church in The Independent. Roberto Alagna, a fine actor and athletic comedian, is a perfect match for Aleksandra Kurzak's Adina. Donizetti's tortured little romance is "delightfully presented" and the transposition of the plot to a Fellini-esque Fifties Italy "works a treat".

Aleksandra Kurzak plays the flirt with aplomb and produces plenty of sparkling coloratura, says Neil Fisher in The Times. And Alagna makes Donizetti's music "throb and swell in just the right, utterly manipulative way".

Alagna is a fine actor and a wonderfully physical artist on stage, says Tim Ashley in The Guardian. His gauche, beguiling, yet unsentimental Nemorino is "breathtaking".

What they don't like
Rupert Christiansen in The Daily Telegraph calls it a run-of-the-mill revival. "There's nothing hugely wrong with it, but there's no sparkle." The Royal Opera House "could do better."

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