Opera North's 'The Elixir of Love',
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER
Opera North has set its new production of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore (or, rather, The elixir of love, since this is David Parry's English translation) in the 1950s (Theatre Royal, Nottingham, UK, 21 February 2007). We are on the seaside terrace of the Hotel Adina, where Nemorino works as a waiter -- so to compound the opera's existing complications, he is in love with his boss. Captain Belcore and his men, sailors on this occasion, enter on motor scooters, and Belcore, practised womaniser that he is, produces a bunch of roses from the back compartment of his machine with studied nonchalance, advancing on Adina with chat-up lines at the ready.
Anna Ryberg's Adina is a bright, sparky character, singing with fresh, eager tone. She moves convincingly from gleeful mockery at the idea of a love potion (she reads her Tristan and Isolde story from a book entitled Tales of Wagner) to touching regret at realising she might actually have been in love with Nemorino all along.
Andrew Kennedy has Nemorino's gaucheness off to a tee, with a whole repertoire of nervous mannerisms. His assumption of debonair casualness after first drinking the potion is both sad and endearing. And, yes, 'Una furtiva lagrima' (here, 'I saw a teardrop glistening') brought the house down.
Copyright © 27 February 2007
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK