L’elisir d’amore

May 6, 2015 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✩✩    Intoxicating talent

Church Hill Theatre: Wed 6 – Sat 9 May 2015

Edinburgh Grand Opera’s version of L’elisir d’amore is a reduced arrangement, it’s cut in places and designed to suit the intimate Church Hill Theatre. That doesn’t mean that it cuts out any of the drama.

Director Kally Lloyd-Jones makes sure it still packs a punch – even if that punch is made of wine. L’elisir d’amore is a charming little romp of a love triangle – of sorts- which EGO set in 1942 among the rural England land girls of World War II.

Luperci de Sousa and Marie Claire Breen star in L'elisir d'amore. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

Luperci de Sousa and Marie Claire Breen star in L’elisir d’amore. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

Nemorino, a simple soul, is madly in love with Adina, the feisty farm owner. But Adina wants to be the centre of everyone’s world and, despite her protestations, she wants to be adored. When ignored, she pledges to marry the arrogant Belcore, leader of the local area home guard.

In a bid to make Adina love him, Nemorino enlists the help of Dulcamara, a travelling salesman who sells him a love elixir (red wine disguised as Tristan and Isolde’s famous potion). Full of misdirection and misunderstanding, beauty and merriment ensue.

The production is cheeky and cheerful in tone. However, there is a sense that this light-heartedness in the staging is a little too indulgent to be set against the austerity of the Second World War. From the opening luxury of whiling away the hours, reclining in the sunshine lazily reading, to the salubrious wedding feast, it feels oddly miss-set.

That said though, the opera certainly engages and delights and there is no lack of talent within the cast. Each fulfils their role with the humour and charm that Gaetano Donizetti’s 1832 opera deserves.

sweet and romantic

Luperci de Sousa plays Nemorino as a shy and retiring gentle man with a delicate yearning for Adina and everything that she represents – education, sophistication and beauty. He creates a sweet and romantic character who is hard not to like. Mikhail Pavlov contrasts as Belcore, an overbearing, arrogant and smug leader who simply wants to claim his victory over the beautiful land owner. And he’ll lunge over as many crates as he has to, to get it!

Ivor Klayman as Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

Ivor Klayman as Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

Marie Claire Breen as Adina is self-assured, scornful and fickle, yet there’s something inescapable that draws everyone towards her. The standard of vocals throughout is powerful, non more so than Breen in her final aria, which is spectacular. Just as she convinces she is full of spite and jealousy, she redeems herself with a startling sense of selflessness.

The chorus of land girls are an endearing crowd – especially when they discover Nemorino’s fortune – and the home guard could have enlisted straight from Dad’s Army. However, there are places where the voices of the main cast struggle to be heard when the full ensemble sings together. It could be that the direction might benefit from further tightening or an enhanced sound focus on the principle actors’ voices.

On the whole the production is assured and entertaining, teaching once and for all that all’s fair in love and war – just perhaps not this war.

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including interval
Church Hill Theatre, 33a Morningside Road, EH10 4DR
Wednesday 6 – Saturday 9 May 2015
Evenings: 7.30 pm
Full details and tickets from: www.usherhall.co.uk/

Edinburgh Grand Opera website: http://www.edinburghgrandopera.com/

Luperci de Sousa, Mikhail Pavlov and Marie Claire Breen star in L’elisir d’amore. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

Luperci de Sousa, Mikhail Pavlov and Marie Claire Breen star in L’elisir d’amore. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

ENDS

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Your comments