Director: James Robinson
Adina: Inva Mula
Nemorino: Ramón Vargas
Belcore: Giorgio Caoduro
Dr. Dulcamara: Alessandro Corbelli
This version of Donizetti's L’Elisir d’Amore from 2008 at the San Francisco Opera is completely new to me. How is this possible? We are in Napa in California before the US entrance into WWI. Uncle Sam is recruiting for the army. For people from California this completely works. Farms, wine, a rich lady farm owner. Yes. Adina and Nemorino are singing and eating ice cream. They just nibble, or we would worry.
Ramon Vargas is the perfect Nemorino, overflowing with cheerfulness.. This performance includes the greatest of all comic Italian baritones--Alessandro Corbelli. He seems like the ideal con man. This is charming and fun. This is Inva Mula's only appearance at the San Francisco Opera. She is not my favorite Adina but projects the too good for Nemorino aura required. Stylistically she is dead on.
There is an ice cream truck and a motorcycle with a side car. Belcore has boxing gloves instead of a uniform. All the young men put on military uniforms as volunteers for the war. It's fun and transfers effectively to Napa.