I don't know why previous listenings and viewings over my early years didn't impact me, but now the 19th-century Italian opera genius Donizetti has me in his thrall. From Maria Stuarda (Canadian Opera Company a couple of seasons back), to Lucia di Lammermoor (COC, then again a Met production, and the COC is doing one again this spring - can't wait), Don Pasquale and now L'elisir d'amore... I get drunk on this music for days, drive my workmates nuts whistling it (yes, I'm a whistler... strong lips... rrrrrrrRRRRRRrrrrrrrr).
says a lot for the energy and talent of University of Toronto Opera
School students that a Saturday evening performance of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore
managed to be delightful, funny and sweet, just weeks after I saw the
Met's HD live performance, which was as perfect as I could imagine.
Opera School consistently produces work that bodes well for the future
of the art form, and all on the remarkable sets of Fred Perruzza, who -
surely on a tiny budget - never fails to enchant.
The Met production boasted three of the cast from another Donizetti a couple of season's back, Don Pasquale.
Anna Netrebko (dashing and sexy in a riding habit), Mariusz Kwiecien
(as Belcore he was a handsome bully, and a potentially abusive boyfriend
for Adina) and Matthew Polenzani (breathtaking in his big aria) were
all in top form, but it was Ambrogio Maestri (oh God, what a name) as
Dulcamara (last picture) who stole the show; a perfect basso buffo with everything you could ask for in a great singing comic actor.
This just couldn't be bettered.