Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Felice Romani
Conducted by Bruno Campanella
At the Lyric Opera Chicago
Sweet melodic romantic comedy is an elixir of joy!
The more opera I see, the more enchanted I get with the art form. Prolific 19th Century composer Gaetano Donizetti (he composed 36 operas by age 34 mostly as breakneck speed) penned a sweet comic opera filled with innocent empathic characters with only love on their minds. The Elixir of Love is a two act opera filled with richly romantic, feel-good scenes amply displayed with Ulisse Santicchi’s rural Italian set and his period-perfect costumes.
Donizetti’s bouncy melodic score features bel canto (beautiful singing) arias. Nicole Cabell, as the love maidenAdina, sings her desires deftly while Gabrielle Vivani, as the blusterous Sergent Belcore, demonstrates his vocal chops. Alessandro Corbelli is the delightful Dr. Dulcamara who convinces the clueless Nemorino that he indeed has the elixir of love.
Giuseppee Filianoti sings and acts Nemorino wonderfully. While he is no Luciano Pavaretti–who played the role in 1977 at the LyricOpera–Filianoti easily wins the heart of the audience with his kindness, his innocence and his rich tenor voice. From his comic chops to his sweetness and ultimately to his angst, Filianoti emotes such emotional truth in his unforgettable aria Una Furtiva Lagrina that the audience gave him a cheering standing ovation!
The Elixir of Love is the story of a naive rural Italian villager whose love for a woman allows him to believe that an elixir will charm her into his arms despite her rejection. This is a cute, well sung opera that is light fare sure to brighten a dreary winter day. Giuseppe Filianoti is a pure good guy that we cheer for and Donizetti’s score wisps into a world of love–not a bad place to spend a few hours. The Elixir of Love is fun.
At the Lyric Opera Chicago, 20 N. Wacker, Chicago, IL, call (312) 332-2244, tickets $20 -$207,www.lyricopera.org, running time is 2 hours, 40 minutes with intermission.