Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Donizetti - L'Elisir d'Amore / Pido Alagna Gheorghiu Opera National de Lyon|
The Elixir of Love
Actors: Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Roberto Scaltriti, Simone Alaimo, Elena Dan
Director: Brian Large
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
With dazzling star turns by the real-life husband-and-wife team of soprano Angela Gheorghiu and tenor Roberto Alagna, this 1996 production of Donizetti's frothy romantic comedy L'Elisir d'amore ("The Elixir of Love") is a ... more »
You'll fall in love with this Elixir!
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 12/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elisir d'amore is one of Donizetti's most popular operas, and it's easy to see why: it's bubbly, funny, romantic, and Nemorino remains one of opera's best tenor roles. The story of the country bumpkin drinking a "love elixir" to win the heart of the town flirt contains some of Donizetti's best music, and the famous aria "Una furtiva lagrima." Nemorino was a favorite role legendary tenors such as Caruso, Gigli and di Stefano. It's been lucky on video too. There is a wonderful B&W film from 1968 with Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Scotto, and Giuseppe Taddei as Belcore. But that's a film from a live performance, and the picture quality is not very high, although the performance is of course extremely charming. For a modern video, I heartily recommend this staged performance from Lyon of Elisir with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.
Alagna and Gheorghiu in recent years have cut down their number of joint performances, and rumor has it that the husband and wife team are now separated in all but name. It's a shame, for this video shows what a great pair they could be. Of the twosome I respond more to Alagna -- his Nemorino is funny, sweet, adorably naive. His "Una furtiva lagrima" uses slightly different ornaments and cadenzas than the more "familiar" version. His voice can turn sharp on pressure, and like a lot of French tenors his voice has a metallic edge. It's a different sound than a Gigli or Pavarotti (to name two other famous Nemorinos). But Alagna sings with passion and he's one of the rare tenors who seems to have an instinctive way of shaping and phrasing the music to the better. Gheorghiu is a chillier, more cerebral singer. Her lyric voice is dusky and smoky, and she's not as perky and soubrette-ish as most Adinas. Yet somehow it seems to work.
The production is vaguely 1920-ish, but otherwise extremely traditional: Nemorino is still a sweet country bumpkin, Dulcamara a travelling quack, Belcore a blustery "studmuffin," and Adina the tart-tongued town flirt. Eveline Pido is one of today's underrated conductors: he understands ottocento operas as needing a firm incisive hand. No mindless oom-pah-pah stick beating from him.
I can't think of a drawback to this video. If you like Elisir, it's a definite keeper."
Effervescent and Delightful
John G. Gleeson Sr. | Frederic, Mi USA | 05/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw that this performance had been set in the 1920's, I nearly passed on it, because I have found that "re-setting" a work like Elisir rarely works. However, in this case, it "works" very well indeed. Elisir is a comic opera, so the stage action means more than in a serious opera (although good acting in all forms of opera obviously enhances the performance). Donizetti's score is full of memorable tunes, and there is not a dull moment in it. In this DVD, all of the principles have good stage presence, and, with one minor reservation on my part, all are first rate singers. This performance was recorded when Alagna and Gheorghiu were newlyweds, and there is certainly chemistry between them which intensifies the stage relationship between Nemorino and Adina. Both are in top vocal form here, as well. Bass, Simone Alaimo is tremendous as Dr. Dulcamara, with wonderful buffa stage presence. The staging of his "snake oil sales" technique is hilarious. Somewhat less than ideal is Roberto Scaltriti as Sgt. Belcore: his voice sounds dry and one dimensional. Maestro Pido conducts with obvious affection for the score and with sensitivity to what the singers are doing, as well. The video is excellent, and the sound is Dolby 5.1. One reviewer found that the audio soundstage was narrow, but I did not experience this in a large viewing room. I have noted in other operatic reviews that the DVD medium works superbly in bringing opera into the home, and this disc is further evidence in support of my belief. If you are an operaphile, this performance of Elisir is a "must-have". If you are curious as to whether or not opera is for you, then this would be an ideal way to find out."
Simone Alaimo (Dulcamara) steals the show
R. Nicholson | 06/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a gem! GREAT music by Donizetti; tunes that I'm continually humming to myself (because I can't sing) throughout the day. Wonderful singers: Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu in the starring roles, however the show is stolen by the performance of Simone Alaimo who does a superlative job as Doctorre Dulcamara. Talk about getting into a role: he holds absolutely nothing back....magnificent! Just see him in the duet "Quanto amore" with Angela Gheorghiu and you'll see what I mean. It'll leave you breathless.
As far as the overall production, I have seen a couple operas staged (on DVD) from the Opera National de Lyon and have not been disappointed in the results. They seem to have the knack of producing good audio and pleasing sets that are easy to look at and complement the people on stage.Brian Large handles the video and editing so you know you're going to get great camera angles.My only negative comments(and thus the loss of one star) about this otherwise wonderful production is that first, Roberto Alagna's voice came through my stereo system slightly tinny at times(maybe my system and/or the fact that I like my opera fairly loud) and second, that I could swear someone hits the wrong note at the very end of the opera. All in all an enjoyable show that I've listened to many times and just never get tired of. Absolutely worth getting."
This elixir works
Hawkeye | Tulsa, Oklahoma | 01/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have two other Elixir DVDs (Pavrotti twice, paired once with Kathleen Battle and once with Judith Blegen). They're all good, but this is my favorite. Alagna and Gheorghiu can both act as well as sing, and they work well together (they are, after all, married). When Angela tells Dr. Dulcamara that she doesn't need his elixir, the close camera work makes the reason as clear as her complexion. Dark eyes, long dark hair, and a voice that never fails-- this Romanian beauty is another reason to cheer the collapse of communism."