Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Donizetti - L'Elisir d'Amore / Esposito Machado Marrucci Canzian Schrott Muus Macerata Opera|
Actors: Valeria Esposito, Aquiles Machado, Enrico Marrucci, Erwin Schrott, Roberta Canzian
Director: Andrea Bevilacqua
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Slowly the camera roams through the narrow streets of Macerata, past the cathedral, the monuments, the library and the university, until it reaches the Arena Sferisterio. In the 1820s this was a competition venue for handb... more »
An L'Elisir as sparkling and bubbly as a glass of champagne
Toni Bernhard | Davis, CA United States | 01/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no shortage on DVD of famous opera performers pairing up to play Adina and Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore: Kathleen Battle and Luciano Pavarotti; the Alagnas (Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto); Anna Netrebko and her favorite onstage partner, Rolando Villazon. All of these productions have much to commend them, but my favorite is this one from the Arena Sferisterio in Macerata with not a single famous performer in it!
The production is brilliantly staged in a huge (5,000 seat) arena that is made intimate by putting the players and the orchestra onstage together in three-sided box that serves as a stage-within-a-stage. This also allows the performers to interact with the conductor and the orchestra, a comic device used (but not overused) to great effect throughout.
Soprano Valeria Esposito has the brightest and sweetest upper register I've ever heard. She creates a flesh and blood, strong-minded Adina. Donizetti left his soprano room to show off her coloratura skills and Esposito relishes the opportunity. In her final duet with Nemorino, she just takes off, singing "a capella" at times. She throws in several false endings, only to start singing again when Nemorino (thinking she's finished) moves in for a kiss. It's beautiful to listen to, funny to watch, and brings the house down.
As Nemorino, the Venezuelan tenor, Aquiles Machado, sings with a big sound and a big heart. His phrasing and legato in "Una furtiva lagrima" are executed beautifully, and his interpretation of this famous aria is heartbreaking. Lyrical baritone Enrico Marrucci is wonderfully pompous and conceited as Belcore. Erwin Schrott has a big and rich bass voice that contrasts perfectly with the other players. He creates a different Dr. Dulcamara than we're used to - a rather harmless hustler, more like a TV hype guy who trades on our dreams of perfect looks and perfect health. Roberta Canzian, as Giannetta, is wonderful too; perhaps an Adina-in-the-making.
It's an utterly charming and joyful production all around."
Magnificent interpretation of Donizetti
Mrs. Sunar Tjahjono | Jakarta, Indonesia | 12/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen other versions of L'elisir d'amore performances in DVD and find this particular version the most beautiful, perfect and magnificent performance of Donizetti.
The singers, soprano Esposito as the proud and indifferent but beautiful Adina, with her clear and sweet soprano voice is so enchanting and excellent, that we want to hear more of her. In this performance she is matched by tenor Machado, whose appearance is just the exact Nemorino and with his rich tenor voice make us enjoying more of the performance. There is also a most distinctive beautiful deep nuance baritone voice of Schrott performing perfectly as Doctor Dulcamara, all the combination of voices together adds to the perfection of the opera itself. This performance made Donizetti's beautiful vivacious and melodious music much more significant and enjoyable while the background and costumes represents the natural environment of a village.
I really enjoy this version compared to other versions of performances, eventhough all the performers are less wellknown."
Unsurpassed & unsurpassable
Peep | Adelaide, AUSTRALIA | 09/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am in almost wholehearted agreement with the 2 reviewers who praise this DVD, and in wholehearted DISagreement with Scott Morrison. I've been an avid opera lover for years and think I know my stuff, so have no qualms in saying that this is the only DVD I have of L'elisir d'amore, and probably the only one I ever shall acquire. I've seen a number of video performances - Pavarotti & Blegen, Pav and Battle, Angela & Roberto, Bonney & I forget the tenor - was it Winbergh? - but this one trumps them all - mainly for the singing.
Yes, the tenor is dumpy, but boy, does he have fun! He acts with his face and body, adds a higher note than we are used to hearing at the end of his first aria, a solid high C at the end of his duet with Belcore, and has great interplay with Adina.
Belcore seems very, VERY young, but apart from some slurred coloratura (he aspirates a lot of it) does a commendable job.
It's certainly a change to see a young and sexy-looking Dulcamara in this role, but Erwin Shrott is just great. His voice is rich and resonant, and I feel that those parts where the other reviewer thought he looked disinterested were just his way of acting out that particular scene. Whenever he was on stage I found my attention riveted to him.
Which brings me to the Adina. I simply cannot understand how anyone could call her performance 'dismal'. Here is a gorgeous soprano voice that just gains in strength and lustre as it ascends; moreover her coloratura technique is nothing short of staggering. I don't think she missed a note, a triplet, a flourish or a trill all night. I looked up her name - Valeria Esposito - on the net and found out that she is highly credentialled - something that didn't surprise me in the least. I've since located her in La Fille du Regiment where she is just as brilliant.
Yes, she may look older than the other principals - but the fault is that they're too young, not that she's too old! Yet she has such a gorgeously expressive face, flashing eyes and engagingly crooked teeth (!) that I couldn't have cared less if she were 20 years older. Plus she's tiny, and has a youthfully trim figure.
More music than we are used to hearing is retained in this version (another bonus!), so that we hear more of the Adina/Nemorino duet in act 1 than usual, and a number of other repeats that are generally cut. But the most staggering addition comes in Adina's cabaletta in act 2 - Il mio rigor dimentico. Listen to EVERY other soprano sing it on all other recordings (except Devia on the CD set, and she doesn't add any ornamentation), and you'll barely recognise Esposito's version. She completes one verse of it, twirls round on the spot with Nemorino, hurls out a cadenza rising to high E-flat, then goes on to sing a second, embroidered verse rising to D and a number of C's. As in The Pirates of Penzance, where Mabel's final prolonged cadenza prevents Frederic from kissing her, here Nemorino acts for all he's worth waiting for his soprano to finish - rolling his eyes, throwing up his hands, and even going and sitting down in despair. It's a sign of how brilliant Esposito is that he doesn't upstage her, and at the end she receives a roaring ovation. It really is a brilliant voice in its upper extension - in the previous aria - Prendi! -she alters most of Donizetti's cadenzas so that she can show off her notes above the high C - and I wasn't surprised when I found a download on the net where I heard her singing a live Ah non giunge! from La Sonnambula and ending with a sustained F in alt. More of this soprano, please!
The whole performance can be summed up as a joyous, bubbling experience. I've watched it a number of times, and honestly couldn't tell you what there is and is not in the way of sets and props. The singers are so skilled in their art that I'd enjoy it as a concert performance.
Bravo! Bravissiomo! This is the version to own!"
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 05/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The singing is superb in this video and I have listened to it numerous times as an audio recording. The Adina has a lovely bell-like tone, secure high notes, and a solid coloratura technique. Machado, as Nemorino, sings beautifully. His high notes are solid and thrilling and, (as one reviewer was comparing him to Pavarotti in the Met L'Elisir with Blegen), well, I must say that Machado is Sir Lawrence Olivier in comparison - he's young, cute, and although a bit chubby, he climbs under the table and piano quite easily, plus his facial expressions are entirely believeable. The Belcore has a beautiful voice and is a good actor and the Dulcamara has a surprisingly beautiful voice. All of the singers have lovely diction, including the chorus. Also, the English subtitles are very good with repetition when called for, and an accurate, almost literal translation.
Here are the negatives: The Adina looks way older than any Adina I have ever seen, although her voice sounds much younger. Her acting is a bit brash. Also, the Dulcamara is a bit young and handsome to pull off a seedy traveling salesman, plus his acting is occasionally good, and occasionally lackluster, as though he doesn't believe a word he is saying.
Then you have the sets, or lack of sets actually. There are really none to speak of - just some props. The singers are outfitted in the traditional costumes and they interact quite a bit with the orchestra. This might work for some, but to me it decreases the reality I want to feel for the story. And lets face it, you can't beat the old Met video with Dulcamara in the balloon.
You also can't beat the Alagna/Gheorghiu version for all the principles looking believeable in their roles, but this is a very nice recording of the opera - one of the best out there as far as the singing goes."