Sunday, November 22, 2009

Elixir in Sacramento

Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, now playing at the Sacramento Opera, makes widely varying impressions, depending much on how Adina is portrayed.

On the video with Rolando Villazon she is a serious woman who sits at home in her large house and reads. At Santa Fe she was a school teacher. In Sacramento she is clearly a fast girl who is completely in character when she decides to marry Sergeant Belcore. I think it's more emotionally satisfying when she is a woman of substance.

The production places us in the Napa Valley in the 40s. It doesn't really matter where it takes place.

The cast is good. Katrina Thurman's Adina is a light-voiced coloratura. Dinyar Vania is excellent as the countrified hero Nemorino with interesting Italian phrasing.

We clearly cannot blame Verdi for the Italian opera Oom-pah-pah style he is so often criticized for. He obviously got it from Donizetti. The most prominent player in the orchestra was the bass drum and cymbals. I don't remember noticing this so much before.

If you like your comedy painted with broad strokes, you will love this.

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