Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Donizetti
LABELS: Glyndebourne
WORKS: L’elisir d’amore
PERFORMER: Mirella Freni, Emily Maire, Luigi Alva, Enzo Sordello, Sesto Bruscantini; Glyndebourne Chorus; Royal PO/ Carlo Felice Cillario


 L’elisir d’amore is such a good-natured and simple comedy that it is surprising that it isn’t irritating. The handful of characters contains no one you can dislike, yet the music is so beguiling that you melt early on and never re-solidify. That is emphatically true of this marvellous account from 1962, with Mirella Freni and Luigi Alva the ideal Adina and Nemorino.

You only need to look at the photos in the substantial booklet to fall in love with Freni. But everyone here is ideal, and their performances are so vivid that you feel you are seeing them. The two low buffo roles are well contrasted, Sesto Bruscantini’s grandiose quack doctor booming where Enzo Sordello’s conceited sergeant brays agreeably. 


Carlo Felice Cillario was the perfect conductor of this genre, light in touch, knowing when to slow down for a brief sentimental effect. Though not stereo, the sound is extremely good. This is among the best recordings, if not the best, ever made of this work. Michael Tanner