The Metropolitan Opera performance of L'Elisir d'Amore is conducted by Nicola Rescigno and features Luciano Pavarotti in the title role. Donizetti's graceful melodies have long endeared his L'Elisir d'Amore to operatic aud... more »iences and performers alike. Judith Blegen, Louise Wohlafka, Luciano Pavarotti, Nicola Rescigno, Sesto Bruscantini.« less
"If, like me, you love Pavarotti but are used to seeing the older man who can hardly move, you will find it a great pleasure just to see him literally bouncing around the stage here! It's worth the price just for that cheerful sight! He is absolutely perfect as the lovestruck and touchingly gullible country bumpkin, and it's plain to see that he loves playing as well as singing this part. He perfectly portrays the suffering, the strength, and the simple dignity of Nemorino, as well as his humorous and lovable side. And he's in terrific voice here!
The rest of the cast is also excellent and the ensemble singing is absolutely fabulous. For me, there were no weak links in this performance.
The opera is staged in a traditional manner without overly elaborate or overly realistic sets. It won't be everybody's cup of tea, but I find it charming and exactly suitable to Donizetti's style. The sound and the camera work can be uneven (that's why 4 and not 5 stars) but that is, unfortunately, pretty common in these films of staged performances, and it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the show; I just adjust the volume up and down as needed.
This is the DVD to own for those times when you want to be swept away by the beauty of great opera music, but don't want to end up weeping -- yep, the hero and heroine both live to the end! Like I said at the beginning: it's simply heartwarming!"
figaro | Eugene, OR United States | 11/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although tempted to give this one five stars, I will say that although Pavarotti is definitely in better shape than we see him in later videos, some might still find him too chubby for the role and also his acting still leaves some to be desired. That aside, his singing is superb, and his acting is the best you generally get from him. I personally find him enjoyable enough for the role visually, and well, downright endearing. All the other cast members are a delight. My favorite is the late great buffo, Sesto Bruscantini - very famous in earlier decades - a once practicing lawyer, who knew over 100 opera roles. His comic timing is absolutely perfect as Dulcamara, and the Metropolitan Opera sets for this production are very engaging with Dr. Dulcamara coming down in a hot-air balloon. It's a terrific show all-around. As long as you are not a Pavarotti-hater, you will be very pleased with this DVD."
dee1153 | Shreveport, LA USA | 12/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love this one!!!
This is the role that Pavarotti most identified with and it shows. He is absolutely magnificent. From his first aria, "Quanto è bella," to "Una Furtiva Lagrima," his voice is pure perfection. Not only that, but his acting is superb and his comic timing is right on the mark. He is young, limber and energetic in this version. This opera reminds us of why he was the golden tenor of a generation and the greatest voice of the century. If I could give it 10 stars, I would. Highly, highly recommended."
Claudia N. Davidsen | Ruskin, FL | 10/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is so much fun, you just laugh out loud. Pavarotti--as other reviewers mentioned (and I paid attention)--is young and just full of it! Watching him is a delight. His acting is right on for this opera. Not quite Gomer Pyle, but along the same lines. Despite running a little pudgy even then, he moved lightly and nimbly on his feet like the soccer player he was. His face seemed to have more mobility than in later years. Listening to him was even more delightful. His voice is fresh and powerful. Not remembering the chronology off-hand, I am thinking that, by this time, he may have benefitted from Joan Sutherland's instruction on breath control. If so, he brought those skills to bear here, and his phrasing is enjoyable. (Thanks, Joan!) He remembered that he was doing comedy, and he colored his voice to great effect for laughs at all the right moments. All that comedy aside, there's a little catch in the heart in his love songs. Blegen is cute as a button. Her face is just marvelously expressive. Others may find her voice a little small. For my tastes, it is perfect for Adina. I didn't even care that I couldn't hear her low notes. She was so much fun to watch. Bruscantini is wonderful! Other reviewers have said it all. I enjoyed the visuals of this production--simply but nicely done. The first act harvest-time scenery has a kind of Fragonard look about it that complemented the muted pastels of the costumes. The costumes were non-fussy and cute. I'm very happy with this DVD."
Lovely performance of this ageless charmer
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 04/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm young enough not to have seen Pavarotti anywhere near his peak, but just old enough to have seen him, in his farewell to the Met, in 2004. He was singing Tosca. By then he could barely move, and the voice was a shadow of its former self. The Tosca (Carol Vaness) canceled after the second act. It was truth be told not a very good performance. But then in the middle of the third act, something miraculous happened. During "E lucevan" the old man's voice warmed up, and there was a moment when he floated a note, messa voce, and it carried all the way to the back of the Family Circle, and it was so pure and so beautiful that in one moment I could finally understand what Pavarotti sounded like in his prime. Thankfully, there are plenty of videos and recordings of Pavarotti that give a good picture of his voice in its prime. This video of Elisir d'Amore, filmed in 1981, is probably all in all my favorite Pavarotti video. The role of Nemorino, the lovable gullible country bumpkin, has been a favorite of many legendary tenors, from Caruso to Gigli to Bergonzi. For one, it demands no glamor on the part of the tenor -- being portly and homely is actually a plus, as it fits the role. The role also lies beautifully for the voice of a lyric tenor. No highwire moments, lots of opportunity to show off vocal beauty. Finally, the opera is a surefire hit. Its full of charm and fun and audiences just can't help but fall in love. Pavarotti in 1981 was at the height of his vocal powers. The voice is breathtakingly beautiful and pure, with an enchanting Mediterranean warmth. "Una furtiva lagrima" is predictably a huge hit, but his whole portrayal of Nemorino is endearing. He was never the best actor but what he does convey is a joy of singing that's infectious. His Nemorino is bubbly, romantic, a bit dim. Perfect. His diction is also perhaps unrivaled by any tenor -- I swore I could notate everything he sang. As Adina, the underrated Judith Blegen has a pleasingly tart voice that fits well with the role of the snooty town beauty. Unfortunately she's dressed up in a somewhat dowdy wig and dress that makes her look more matronly than necessary. I think vocally her voice isn't as beautiful as Kathleen Battle's (in the later 1991 video from the Met) and she also doesn't have the musical instincts of Renata Scotto (in a delightful 1967 video with Carlo Bergonzi). Sesto Bruscantini is hilarious (if vocally past his best) as the quack Dulcamara. The sets are nice and old-fashioned. They depict a 19th century Italian village pretty well, even if the stage of the Met is too big to be ideal to create the "little town" feel. Fortunately Elisir is well-served on video. Besides this one, there's a delightfully old-fashioned 1967 video with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Scotto, a charming video from Lyon with Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu, a video with Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko, and finally, another video with Pavarotti and Kathleen Battle, videotaped 10 years later."