Music and Vision homepage Cadenza Programme Note Library - Programme Notes by Mike Wheeler

 

Ensemble

A Real Surprise

Celso Albelo hits Venice as Nemorino
in Donizetti's 'L'Elisir d'Amore',
by GIUSEPPE PENNISI

 

Several opera guidebooks -- such as Gustave Kobbé's The Complete Opera Book, centennial, world famous and still updated and reprinted every few years, and Gerhart von Westreman's more recent Opera Guide -- treat Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore as a comic opera or even an opera buffa. They purport that, during the decades when Donizetti and his operas were nearly forgotten, L'Elisir never left the repertory, at least in secondary or provincial Italian theatres. This was because it is pure comedy with two hilarious characters (Dulcamara and Belcore) and a gentle young couple in love (even though, almost until the end, she pretends not to be interested in the fellow) as well as a comparatively easy orchestration.

Even now L'Elisir is often staged as a pure entertainment with emphasis on Dulcamara's chattering parlando, on Belcore's swaggering, on the sweetness of Nemorino and on the tricks of Adina -- the fifth character, Giannetta, has a very minor role both musically and dramatically. Nonetheless, Romani and Donizetti referred to L'Elisir as a 'melodramma giocoso', which means a semi serious opera like Rossini's La Gazza Ladra, Paisiello's Nina Pazza per Amore, Mayr's Lodoiska or Bellini's La Sonnambula...

Copyright © 3 November 2010 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy

-------

GAETANO DONIZETTI

VENICE

ITALY

 << M&V home       Concert reviews        Israel Camerata >>

 

Music and Vision - Let us know what you think ... write to the Editor