Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Donizetti
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: L’elisir d’amore
PERFORMER: Vincenzo La Scola, Alessandra Ruffini, Simone Alaimo, Roberto Frontali; Hungarian State Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Pier Giorgio Morandi
CATALOGUE NO: 8.660045/6
From the first high-spirited bars of its prelude to the end of its equally happy finale, there is hardly a dull moment in the score of this most engaging of romantic comic operas, except perhaps for the rather stilted tune of ‘Io son ricco’, the duet performed by Adina and Dulcamara at Adina’s betrothal party.

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There have been several excellent performances of the opera on disc, and this new one, recorded in Budapest last year, has much to recommend it, despite an occasional heaviness in the conducting, and one or two sluggish tempi imposed on the singers.

As Adina, the wealthy young landowner whom the poor farm labourer Nemorino loves, Alessandra Ruffini reveals herself to be a skilful vocalist with an individual voice and personality. The comic baritone roles of the swaggering Sergeant Belcore and the quack Doctor Dulcamara are given lively characterisations by Frontali and Alaimo respectively.

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L’elisir d’amore is really the tenor’s opera, and Vincenzo La Scola, though not the most elegant Nemorino on disc, offers an attractive voice and an ability to engage one’s sympathies in the character’s love-lorn plight, especially in his Act II aria, ‘Una furtiva lagrima’, the opera’s great moment of pure sentiment. Charles Osborne