It would be hard to imagine a better performance of Donizetti's comic masterpiece. If there was one role that ideally suited Luciano Pavarotti's voice and stage personality, it was Nemorino, the impoverished and not-very-b... more »right peasant who worships the village's prettiest and richest young woman from a distance, is swindled by a traveling vendor of "miracle" medicines, but wins her hand by dumb luck. The story has comedy, pathos, and a put-down of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (or at least the Tristan story) written long before Wagner composed it. Kathleen Battle is not only a wonderful singer and convincing actress; as Adina, she is pretty enough to make Nemorino's infatuation totally credible. Juan Pons struts convincingly as Belcore, Nemorino's self-important rival, and Enzo Dara is properly spectacular as Dr. Dulcamara, who sells Nemorino the magic potion guaranteed to improve his love life, or at least to get him drunk. The melodies in this opera include some of the best ever written, and James Levine, his extraordinary orchestra, and his wonderful chorus know exactly what to do with them. Everything comes together in this production to make it one of the best opera DVDs available. --Joe McLellan« less
D. J. Edwards | Cheshire, CT United States | 05/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a quartet! I think the Met or any other opera house will be hard put to equal this performance never mind surpass it. Pavarotti owns this role even now that he is retired. His easy, beautiful timber are recorded for the ages and we are indebted to Met-DGG for making it available. I was at this performance in a balcony box and never dared hope for its release since a previous performance with Judith Blegan has been available for some time. Battle is here in rapturous, glorious voice. An extremely beautiful timber, even from top to bottom, and every note in between. I cried as I watched the performance since it brought back the memories of seeing and hearing this so long ago. Pons and Dara are equally in their company. Pnns is excellent and to my way of thinking very underrated. Dara must still be singing Dulcamara somewhere if he is still alive. He sings this role to the very life. There is just no weakness in this production. Panni was supposed to have been the conductor for this matinee performance but he was ill and history fated us with the final link, Levine, to make this an historical performance. We have been blessed with a plethora of great DVDs from the Met [ Ernani, Manon Lescaut, Lucia to name but a few ] but the L'elisir here is probably their very best. The sets are wonderfully traditional and they work very well indeed. I left the theater numb, with a very sore throat and walked to the train talking to myself. My poor wife thought I had lost my mind. Its still under seat three in the third balcony box. This is an absolute must for your DVD shelf. The only time I've heard a more beautiful soprano in a live performance was Caballe at Chicago Lyric back around 1969 In Traviata. I certainly have heard many other superb sopranos, but I put Battle and Caballe in a special ranking. IF you don't enjoy this video you're either tone deaf, hate Donizetti or just don't like beautiful music sung as exquisitely as this Adina and Nemorino. Where are all your music lovers? There should be many more reviews here. Out of five stars this should have at least 10. Even if you disagree with me, this dvd deserves recognition and attention. Listen and buy!"
It's delightful, it's delicious
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 07/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a stupendous production, and the best I have seen of this comedic opera, with a superb cast and energetic pacing.
I'm not always thrilled with Pavarotti's acting ability, but here his Nemorino is marvelous, in what might be his most engaging performance on film; charming and tender, his "Una Furtiva Lagrima" is incredibly moving and full of beauty. Kathleen Battle is an exquisite Adina, youthful and capricious, and vocally stunning. Korliss Uecker is a lovely Giannetta, and Juan Pons excellent as Sergeant Belcore. Enzo Dara almost steals the show as a hilarious Doctor Dulcamara, with his chest full of bizarre medals. His comedic timing is right on target and his voice quite up to the demands of the role.The sets by Beni Montresor are ingenious and effective, and the costumes are splendid, in colors that remind one of a spring garden. The camerawork is also good, and adds to the visual interest. From the orchestra pit, James Levine masterfully keeps it all together with sparkle and zest.
This 1991 live performance from the Metropolitan Opera is terrific theater, as well as a musical treat, and one to own and enjoy repeatedly."
Kathleen Battle and Luciano Pavarotti at Their Best
Laura Williams | New York, New York | 05/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This production of L'Elisir d'Amore is the best performance of this opera available on video and one of the very best performances of the entire Metropolitan Opera Video Catalogue. As Adina, Kathleen Battle is sensational. Her voice is sublime, glowing with a ravishingly creamy, sensuous legato. Not only does she sing with technical perfection and ease, her compelling artistry is the epitome of grace and charm. Luciano Pavarotti gives his finest performance on video in his signature role of Nemorino. This role was his own personal favorite of all his roles and it shows in the warmth and charm he brings to his portrayal and his gorgeous vocalism. Battle and Pavarotti enjoy "clowning" with each other and the audience loves it. James Levine is at his best, giving an energy and excitement that makes this Bel Canto masterpiece explode with color and sparkle."
C. Hackshaw | Brooklyn, NY | 11/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is probably the greatest opera production I have ever seen. The singing is first rate quality. Everyone is in fine voice and with this being an opera buffa the singers are throughly enjoying themselves. I would recommend this as an introduction to opera for anyone and for opera fans alike get this one. Mind you there are some flaws with the overall productions like Italians flags waving around when in truth Donizetti never was around for the establishing of an Italian country so that was totally out of place. (I have noticed that the Met has this annoying habit of throwing in flags of today in opera setting of centuries ago)Also there is Pavarotti wearing a green hospital band on his hand. However, this is opera and opera is about singing and I assure you that great singing is what you get in this production. Buy it!!!! WONDERFUL!!! Bravissimo!!!!"
Worth owning, even if dated.
OperaOnline.us | Boston, MA | 07/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Originally recorded in 1992, this 2005 DVD re-release of the Kathleen Battle/Luciano Pavarotti "L'Elisir D'Amore" (The Elixir of Love) recorded live at the Met under the baton of James Levine, holds up rather well, given the dated scenery and trend toward more fit, younger performers singing romantic roles. Pavarotti was big then and he sweats up a storm when he sings. But for sheer power and enjoyment of watching a cast of talented singers at their peak, well, this DVD is eminently worth owning. The picture quality is digital, but it is taken from tape, making the clarity somewhat gauzy. But the sound quality is what may ultimately rule here - and the sound quality of this DVD is deep and rich and full, and the high point of this release, especially if you happen to be watching this production on a system equipped with an enhanced sound system. Kathleen Battle, at the height of her career, is magnificent and beautiful and when she is on stage singing, it's easy to be seduced by the wonderful, mellifluous tones that she produces. The entire cast and chorus does a superb job, making this production enjoyable. It probably doesn't hurt that Donizetti's score is easy on the ear, melodious and filled with harmony and loaded with plenty of emotion. Though dated, it is a great performance and worth owning. This review appeared at OperaOnline.us."