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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