Available until: Probably 20th February at about 6pm UK time. There’s another showing on the 22nd at 6pm too.
When you think about Donizetti (if you actually know who he is, you wouldn’t believe the number of idiots who don’t), you often end up thinking about the tragic opera of Lucia di Lammermoor but Donizetti actually did loads of comedies too. This is probably his most famous one though it actually isn’t performed very often. If you go to an opera-themed concert and there’s a tenor there, there is a fair chance he’ll end up singing Una furtiva langrima (some tenors seriously need to extend their repertoire but to be fair it is a beautiful aria with technical and emotional challenges) but the other arias and ensembles aren’t nearly as well known.
This actually isn’t one of Donizetti’s best operas because it makes women look like they are only interested in men for their money and there’s no way someone like Adina would really go for Nemorino though then again it’s not like he’s got much competition. But if it has good singers it can still be fun.
Marco Armiliato is the conductor and he’s good at getting the musical jokes out of the orchestra but when the music gets romantic he really makes the most of it. Una furtiva langrima was full of emotion.
Otto Schenk’s production has lots of crowd scenes but he knows how to make the right people stand out. Jurgen Rose’s set is really nice. It’s the middle of a street with buildings on each side with fields and more houses in the distance. There are also tables, chairs, and some stairs up to the buildings stage left so the characters don’t have to be just standing around all the time. It’s really interesting because it looks really tacky stage right and really beautiful stage left. I know which side I’d want to live on.
Nemorino is played by Stephen Costello and he looks like a total geek so that’s good work from the costume department. He has quite a light voice but that’s fine for L’elisir and he doesn’t get overpowered. He’s mostly good at acting like a geek but seriously if you want to make your hero look pathetic you shouldn’t let him lift Erwin Schrott. Erwin is a tall muscular man (he was probably really hot when he was young) and he looks quite heavy so if Nemorino shows strength like that the first problem is he’s going to be less convincing as a geek (there’s no reason why a geek shouldn’t work out but they’re usually too busy with their stamp collections or their poetry or hacking into the M6 or whatever it’s called) and the second problem is all the girls are automatically going to want him if he’s that strong and the whole point is they don’t till they find out he’s rich.
Valentina Narfornita is quite a smug Adina but that’s a relevant way of playing the character and she does have a flirtatious side too. Her voice is flexible and pretty. Marco Caria has a good voice for Belcore but seriously if you’re going to pose all over the stage with flowers and your hand on your hip you’re not going to look like the kind of man who wants a girlfriend. Just saying. Not that there’s anything wrong with not fancying girls. Cal and Aashiq understand all about rating boys out of 10 and Aashiq even knows how to shop. The only annoying thing about gay guys is their refusal to date me but Cal’s my brother (adopted but that’s close enough) and I don’t want to date Aashiq, he has longer eyelashes than me and that’s just RUDE.
Erwin Schrott plays Dulcamara the scam artist and he’s a bit of a twit really. Obviously not as much of a twit as Nemorino who actually believes him, a love potion, seriously??? I do think Erwin is a good singer but he needs to stop trying to be funny and just act the role. He did a production of Figaro where he pretends to be a dog and just like WHAT??? Once my grandad picked up me, Louise and my mum from somewhere and my grandad said he watched Figaro and Figaro was a total twit (except he didn’t say twit, it had an a in) and my mum said “Oh you’re watching Erwin Schrott” like she KNEW straight away and she’s not usually that smart.
This is a good production and you should watch it.