Donzinetti: L’elisir d’amore

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Donizetti
LABELS: Deutsche Grammophon
ALBUM TITLE: Donzinetti: L’elisir d’amore
WORKS: L’elisir d’amore
PERFORMER: Miah Persson, Rolando Villazón, Roman Trekel, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Regula Mühlemann; Balthasar-Neumann-Chor und Ensemble/Pablo Heras-Casado; dir. Rolando Villazón

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Donizetti’s charming comedy, one of the most delightful works in the repertoire, is hard to get wrong if you have four decent singers and a good conductor. So far as I know, no director has taken grave liberties with it yet, though surely one will soon. This production is by Rolando Villazón, also one of the stars of the show. He is in tolerably good voice, though nothing like he was early in his career: his voice has a hard edge, and his show-stopper ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ would be unlikely to make Adina change her heart – here the marvellous Miah Persson. Her looks and voice are equally enchanting, and she acts wonderfully well.

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The suitor who is almost successful, the boastful Belcore, is surprisingly taken by Roman Trekel. His isn’t an idiomatic performance, but it doesn’t do any harm and he acts plausibly. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo is a delight as Dulcamara, the charlatan purveyor of elixirs. Villazón makes it into a film within a play, which adds some complexity without adding much else. The conductor is an ardent period-instrument man, but I’m not sure that I would have noticed. All told this is as winning as it should be. Michael Tanner