Saturday’s Met Opera Broadcast in Breckenridge will feature L’ Elisir d’Amore (“Elixir Of Love”)
February 9, 2018
Donizetti's "comedy" opera, L' Elisir d'Amore ("Elixir of Love"), will be the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast on Saturday at 10 a.m.
The staging and musical score highlight the adventures of a young poor peasant villager, Nemorino, in search of winning the love of Adina, a beautiful and wealthy landowner. Act I has Adina reading to a chorus of friends, highlighting the love potion used in the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Nemorino becomes entranced. The scene is interrupted by the sudden appearance of Army Sergeant Belcore, and his troops. Belcore flirts with Adina, making a marriage proposal to her in front of everyone.
Scene II opens in the main square with a chorus of townspeople receiving love potions ("elixirs") from Dr. Dulcamara, a traveling salesman. Nemorino buys an elixir from Dulcamara, using all the money he has in his pockets. In a drunken stupor, Nemorino agitates Adina who, in turn, accepts Belcore's marriage proposal, celebrated by a gathering of choristers.
Act II opens with Adina and Belcore's wedding festivities. During a delay in having the wedding contract signed, Nemorino continues his challenge to win Adina back. Receiving money from Belcore for enlisting in the army, Nemorino buys a second love potion from Dulcamara. This time it works. When Adina learns that Nemorino had enlisted in the army in order to gain her love, she forgoes her marriage to Belcore. As the opera comes to a close, Adina and Nemorino are seen embracing with a background chorus, including Belcore, celebrating their reunion in love. Dulcamara proclaims that his magic elixir cures all ills, as the final curtain comes down.
Reviews of this current Bartlett Sher production have been inviting. Also acclaimed were the stage sets by Michael Yeargan, along with costumes by Catherine Zuber and support from the orchestra, conducted by Venezuelan, Domingo Hindoyan.
The role of Adina is being performed by South African Pretty Yende, who "sang beautifully from the start, gaining warmth and depth in her flirtations with developing love." A review of tenor Matthew Polenzani's performance as Nemorino, was "sung with clarion tone, tracing his character's shifting moods, from love-struck clumsy confusion to puffed-up confidence." The performance of Eldebrando D'Arcangelo as the elixir salesman Dulcamara "was bluff and entertaining throughout."
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Donizetti's music composition is outstanding. High coloratura voices performed in solo arias and in duets, with support of choral ensembles and rich orchestration are uplifting experiences for all in attendance. In contrast to many 19th century operas, in which one or more of the lead roles die on sacrificial pyres or via suicide, "Elixir of Love" has a happy ending. Dulcamara, in spinning a final sales pitch, credits all of this to the love potions he had provided.
Those attending are advised to bring their own snacks and lunches for the intermission break. Beverages will be served.
Elmer Koneman lives in Breckenridge.
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