L’elisir d’amore 9 points
Opera by Gaetano Donizetti on a libretto by Felice Romani.
Staging: Emilio Sagi. Scenography: Enrique Bordolini. Costume designer: Renata Schussheim.
Cast: Javier Camarena (Nemorino), Nadine Sierra (Adina), Ambrogio Maestri (Doctor Dulcamara), Alfredo Daza (Belcore) and Florencia Machado (Gianetta).
Stable Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Colón. Musical direction: Evelino Pidò.
A cast of singers who, in addition to good voices, had a great theatrical performance. A staging that over a certain daring was above all colorful and imaginative. A musical direction that laboriously managed to channel the efforts of the orchestra and choir towards a common goal. An audience well disposed to astonishment and applause. When the stars come together, that satisfaction machine, not exempt from civilized morbidity, which after all is the opera, can be a wonderful spectacle. Something like that happened on Tuesday in the Colon Theater, with L’elisir d’amorethe fourth title of this lyrical season, which at its premiere had outstanding performances by the American soprano Nadine Sierra and the Mexican tenor Javier Camarena, well supported by the Italian bass Ambrogio Maestri.
And it will continue to happen for a few more days. There are still some performances of Gaetano Donizetti’s opera. Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. will be with the cast of the premiere. This Saturday and Tuesday, at 8 pm, the “Extraordinary functions” will take place, with the also highly recommended second cast, led by Oriana Favaro and Santiago Martínez.
The identity of L’elisir d’amorethat Since its premiere, in Milan in 1832, it has not ceased to captivate the lyrical middle classes. The original subtitle speaks of “melodrama giocoso”, in times when the genre had already given its best. However, a comedy of sung love rinses and a predictable ending, with some buffoonery, a bit of romanticism and quite a bit of pathos –in which, along with love and its plethora of lies, lie prevails with its possibilities–, it can be something more than what the labels say. at the end of the day there is more materialism than lewdness in this operain which although good old Nemorino and sweetheart Adina will be able to satisfy their heat after foreseeable entanglements, the big winner is Doctor Dulcamara.
The wealthy trickster, miserable to the point of eating the leftovers from the wedding banquet, shows no scruples in deceiving the unwary Nemorino, who heats up like a tin light bulb, believes everything and pays what he asks for his elixir to attract Adina. But it is a deception: the little bottle contains nothing but Bordeaux wine. For other reasons — among them that Nemorino is revealed to be the heir to a fortune — love marches towards triumph. Favored by the contingency, Dulcamara comes off well and nobody notices the scam. In the end, the choir –lyrical representation of the town– exalts him by raising banners with his image, making their own slogans of others and happily consuming the crap that the delusional sells. It is then that it is clear that L’elisir d’amore it is a bourgeois drama.
The mise-en-scène by Spaniard Emilio Sagi dilutes the village tones of the original location and transports them to the 1950s –or to the view that can be had of that time from today–. There is a square, or a schoolyard, where young people play basketball, ride bicycles and move like capering a rockabilly. The changing rooms of Renata Schussheim, colorful and measuredly extravagant, redouble that bet and end up defining a certain climate of comic pop art. The leading couple adjusted wonderfully to that climate, always on the verge of kitsch, in an ornate but agile scene, between the well-marked work of the choir and the extras. Although the character of the military man who represents Belcore is a bit out of context between so much color and youthful self-assurance, Alfredo Daza’s convincing performance put the necessary patch so that it is not so noticeable.
In a first act that is the product of a hurried librettist and a composer other than Rossini, the staging did its best. However, in that period for the exposition of the characters and their situations, which dramatically turns out to be somewhat reckless, he achieved good moments, such as the cavatina “Udite, udite, o rustici…” with which Dr. Dulcamara appears on a coupé convertible.
The second act, on the other hand, was a delight. From the moment Nemorino gambles for the love of Adina and drinks all the elixir he bought with the money he received for enlisting as a soldier in one gulp, until the redemptive kiss at the end and the popular consecration of Dulcamara, the great lyrical machine worked perfectly. To the scenic grace of the characters was added the vocal efficiency of the protagonists. In a sober and balanced performance, Sierra was sweetly fierce in the demanding aria “Prendi, per me sei libero”, to receive a standing ovation. open scene of the night.
Camarena handled his beautiful lyrical tenor voice with just the right temperament and his Nemorino was endearing. In the famous Romanza “Una furtiva lacrima” she made good music. With the support of an orchestra well dominated by Evelino asked, managed a sentimentality that did not lend itself to pathetic duplicities. For his part, Maestri composed a memorable Dulcamara, with the ruff and gesture of those great low buffoons, controlled with the malignity of a great actor and the operatic sensibility of the chosen ones. Florencia Machado also combined efficiency and presence to round off a very good Giannetta.
There was much applause, of course, for a performance that will surely be among the best of this season.