J. Luis Juarez Echenique | Mexico City | 12/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, there have been better sung Nemorinos than Rolando Villazón's: Di Stefano, Kraus, Bergonzi, even the young Alagna, but none has been better acted or more convincing as a whole. In fact his acting is so good that it's on the level of the finest Broadway standards. He moves with the grace of a ballet dancer, and quite frankly, he is a joy to watch. And last but not least his singing is quite, quite good. Netrebko looks like a million dollars, and if she is not a master belcanto soprano like Scotto, she makes a pretty, nay, gorgeous Adina. The Otto Schenck production is nice to look at and frames well Villazón restless Nemorino. The public gives a standing ovation to the tenor, and in Vienna, that is something, before that he is asked to repeat Una Furtiva Lagrima to tremendous applause. In general I enjoyed this Elisir more than the Alagna on DECCA, it has a more adorable soprano, and a star performance from Villazón. The old Scotto-Bergonzi from Florence will always be a historic document of tremendous importance."
ANOTHER STUNNING L'ELISIR
R. Olsavicky | Butler, Pa. USA | 06/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some operas live charmed lives both on DVD and CD. This is one of them. We have the Met/Pavarotti-Battle DVD and the Scotto-Bergonzi DVD. We also have several great casts on just CD and almost everyone of them presents an accurate presentation of what the composer asks for. This is not as easy as it sounds. Many Traviatas fall short of our expectations; just to name one opera that gets over recorded and not always well. Now let me be honest and say I don't always enjoy or get into much comic opera; Don Giovanni being an exception. It's really a comedy, tragedy and old fashioned morality play all rolled into one. Absurd plots and many farces just don't cut it with me. I took a risk on this DVD just to see and hear Netrebko and Villazon. I am not disappointed! This entire cast and production do Donizetti and this opera full justice. Netrebko is enchanting. Villazon is unique and special. He's almost Groucho Marx with a great voice. His entire face and body is an actor's dream come true and he can sing while being so physically flexible. His voice strikes my ear as having a little bit of Domingo and DiStefano in it. The aria "Una Furtiva Lagrima" has to be encored and is even slightly better the second time. After all his comic posturing his straight forward singing here is just a perfect contrast to all that came before. This DVD should be added to the Battle/Pavarotti and Scotto/Bergonzi if you already own them. Like I said I'm not the biggest fan of comic opera; yet, this production completely won me over. This is an enchanting evening for eye and ear with some glorious melodies by Donizetti. ENJOY!!!"
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Donizetti's enchanting comedy 'L'Elisir d'Amore' has rarely been performed with such panache and sense of fun as this beautiful evening captured during a live performance of the Otto Schenk/Jürgen Roseat production at the Vienna Staatsoper on this sparkling DVD.
Conductor Alfred Eschwé enjoys every minute of this bubbling score and the orchestra is especially sensitive to his subtle demands. The raison d'etre for creating this live recording is obviously the inimitable harmony of the leads Rolando Villazón as Nemorino and Anna Netrebko as Adina. These two handsome and talented singer/actors share a magnetism that is gracing the opera houses around the world and having seen them before only in dramatic roles on stage, it is rewarding to find they both share a flair for comedy, not only in their interaction with each other but also in their total professionalism of sharing the sense of ensemble. They are a dream match.
It is difficult to imagine a more tenderly sung 'Una furtiva lacrima' (and here the audience obviously agrees, demanding an encore!) than Villazón offers. But that is one of the highlights everyone expects. It is the manner of delivery of the entire opera that makes the Villazón/Netrebko duo work such magic. They are ably supported by the Dulcamara of Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and the Sergeant Belcore of the dependable Leo Nucci. Sets, costumes, acting, orchestral timbre and of course gorgeous singing make this an opera DVD well worth owning. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 07 "
Yet another great Elisir on video!
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 01/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Videos are strange. For instance, Madama Butterfly is one of the most popular operas of all time, yet there isn't a Butterfly video that's particularly satisfying, at least to me. But Elisir d'Amore: I have three videos (the black and white 1967 performance with Scotto and Bergonzi, the video with Alagna/Gheorghiu, and Pavarotti/Blegen), and all are delightful in their own way. This latest video is another welcome addition to my opera video collection. I think the beauty of Elisir d'Amore is its simplicity. The melodies by Donizetti are pure and pretty. The story has a delightfully rustic charm. All the characters are appealing. A Eurotrash director couldn't "mess" with this opera even if he tried. The director, Otto Schenk doesn't even try any "funny stuff." This is a 100% traditional production, very pretty and easy on the eyes. Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko have in recent years formed an artistic partnership that's increasingly rare in the opera world today. They have sung together in so many productions of different operas, and any performance featuring this "love couple" is almost guaranteed to sell out. One example is the La Traviata video from Salzburg. That being said, both Villazon and Netrebko have made some career choices that have caused puzzlement in the past couple of years. But no one would criticize this performance. Villazon has made Nemorino a trademark role, as much as di Stefano or Pavarotti. His voice is darker now, but just as liquidy and he remains a sensitive musician, wonderful at phrasing. "Una furtiva lagrima" gets an encore, and it's just as beautiful the second time. As for Netrebko, there have been accusations that she's coasted with a beautiful voice and beautiful looks, and in some roles I can understand the criticisms. The voice does tend to get unruly under pressure. But here, she's a delight. Beautiful to watch and listen to, and she and Villazon have wonderful chemistry. She's totally believable as the pretty village girl that a doof like Nemorino would love. The best thing about this video is that everyone seems to be having fun. Sometimes singers are seen breaking character and applauding or smiling. To some, this might seem unprofessional, but come on, it's Elisir d'Amore. The point is to have fun, and the video is two hours of fun."
A L'elisir for the ages.
Alan M. Silbergeld | Baltimore, MD United States | 08/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Buy this DVD! Rolando Villazon is one of the great tenors of the past 100 years, something that I feel is safe to say even though he has barely reached mid-career (the fates be willing). He is in rare voice throughout this performance and his performance and encore of Una furtiva lagrima are as fine as you will hear of this aria, even from Caruso or Gigli -- the first time he sings it as a tenore leggiero and the second time as a spinto. You can pick and choose which version you like better, but you can have both. Netrebko is outstanding as Adina. While she has her critics, I find her voice and her acting to be irresistible in general, and this role is hardly "too big" for her voice. She gives the role plenty of character, too. The rest of the cast does the buffo business very well. This is a must have performance."