Taking Comedy Seriously
'L'Elisir d'Amore' at Grange Park Opera,
appreciated by ROBERT HUGILL
Grange Park Opera's new production of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore was first seen last year at their offshoot at Neville Holt. Then it was sung by members of Grange Park Opera's young artists scheme. But for its incarnation on the main Grange Park stage [seen 17 June 2006] it has been re-studied by director Martin Constantine and re-cast.
Victoria Joyce as Adina and Eric Roberts as Dulcamara in 'L'Elisir d'Amore' at Grange Park Opera. Photo © 2006 Alastair Muir
Constantine's production opens in an entirely monochrome landscape. Though billed as an Italian town in the middle of nowhere, all the iconography was of a Northern English mill town in the 1950s, complete with a mill in the distance, Gilbert Scott phone box and a tea caravan. The chorus have become mill workers and Nemorino works in the tea hut.
Victoria Joyce as Adina in 'L'Elisir d'Amore' at Grange Park Opera. Photo © 2006 Alastair Muir
Constantine, and designer Lez Brotherston, neatly delineate relationships in terms of the new milieu. Colin Lee was notably successful at creating an appealingly gauche character as Nemorino. It helps that Lee has an ideal voice for this repertoire and sang Donizetti's vocal lines with beguiling freedom. As Adina, Victoria Joyce is quite a find. She threw off Adina's roulades with ease, singing with a good feeling for the style of the music. In Adina, she created a credible character without making her completely objectionable.
Copyright © 20 June 2006
Robert Hugill, London UK