This studio recording was made in 1989 coinciding with a memorable production from the Metropolitan Opera, later captured on DVD. It's a delightful performance, and a wonderful highlight of Pavarotti's later career. Kathleen Battle's sparkling soprano is a brilliant accompaniment to Pavarotti's still-ringing tone.
"Pavarotti's voice was still beautiful and pliable, his phrasing exquisite. And he loved the role of Nemorino and always seemed happy with both its comedy and pathos–he steals every scene he's in, and no one minds…Kathleen Battle sings Adina with perfect, pearl-like tone, absolute fluency and commitment, and a trill to die for…Enzo Dara is an ideal Dulcamara, just the right combination of huckster and sentimentalist, with ease in every register and with fast music."
– Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Slowly the camera roams through the narrow streets of Macerata, past the cathedral, the monuments, the library and the university, until it reaches the Arena Sferisterio. In the 1820s this was a competition venue for a handball game popular at that time. At the beginning of the twentieth century the ‘neo-classical monster’, as the stadium is disrespectfully called in the vernacular, was also discovered as an opera venue and a dazzling backdrop for the ‘Macerata Opera Festival’. The stage, which is 14.5 meters deep and 40 meters wide, is sufficiently large for all kinds of events and spectacles to be staged. At the end of July 2002 the time had come again. An audience of 5000 had gathered to listen to the new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore under the direction Saverio Marconi, conducted by Niels Muus.
It would be hard to imagine a better performance of Donizetti's comic masterpiece. If there was one role that ideally suited Luciano Pavarotti's voice and stage personality, it was Nemorino, the impoverished and not-very-bright peasant who worships the village's prettiest and richest young woman from a distance, is swindled by a traveling vendor of "miracle" medicines, but wins her hand by dumb luck. The story has comedy, pathos, and a put-down of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (or at least the Tristan story) written long before Wagner composed it.
Transposing the plot to the Italy of the 1950s, director Laurent Pelly (La Fille du Régiment in London and New York, with Natalie Dessay) offers us an absolute jewel, beautifully crafted and shot through with poetry. American Heidi Grant Murphy sings Adina, accompanied by tenor Paul Groves as Nemorino. “Doctor” Dulcamara is masterfully played by the up-front Ambrogio Maestri and Laurent Naouri‘s Belcore is delightfully repulsive. Appointed music director of the English National Opera in 2006, young British conductor Edward Gardner conducts the Paris Opera Orchestra.
Donizetti's rollicking comic opera The Elixir of Love receives a scintillating performance in this early 1970's London/Decca recording. Featuring an unbeatable cast, headed by Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti, this wonderful interpretation demonstrates singing of the highest levels of artistic integrity- definitive, passionate, lyrical, committed. The English Chamber Orchestra responds to Richard Bonynge's direction to provide sharp, colorful orchestral support, and the Ambrosian Opera Chorus' performance can only be described as brilliant.
This new Dynamic opera, Elisir d’amore was performed in Donizetti’s native city of Bergamo, during the most important world festival dedicated to the Italian composer. The opera is set in a rural environment and the action takes place in a country farm. It is a brilliant comedy with many points of contact with semi-serious operas. The choice of this subject must have been strongly influenced by the successes of Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula.
Filmed in 1981, live from the Metropolitan Opera, Luciano Pavarotti sings Nemorino in Donizetti's comic opera. This one of his Pavarotti's most famous roles and here he sings it in his prime joined by an all-star ensemble: Judith Blegen sings the role of Adina and the great comic baritone Sesto Bruscantini plays the wily Dr Dulcamara. Nicola Rescigno conducts. Kirk Browning's production is traditional and entertaining.
Frank Dunlop's witty, unvarnished view of Donizetti's country comedy, updated to the 1930s, is delightful to see, wondrous to hear. Gheorghiu and Alagna make an ideal partnership as capricious girl and shy bumpkin. They both act and sing their roles to near perfection in a staging that exposes the heart and heartlessness as much as the fun of this work.
Rolando Villazón as Nemorino exhibits a real gift for comic acting, manipulating his rubber face into dozens of hilarious poses, flawlessly turning stock comic gestures into laugh-out-loud moments, and even juggling apples with the panache of a circus performer. More important, he uses his lyric tenor to sing the part with impressive subtlety, suggesting Nemorino's desperation while singing of his love for Adina. His big show-stopper, "Una furtiva lagrima," features melting pianissimos and a breathtaking decrescendo in its final phrase. Netrebko's Adina is every bit as good, with deft acting and a lovely lyric soprano voice that makes you understand why she's the only girl for Nemorino.
This marks Rolando Villazón’s directorial debut in a dual-role: stage director and star singer (main role Nemorino) at the same time, and it is a clear WINNER. Inspired by the cartoon character Lucky Luke and the Spaghetti Western-tradition, the tenor’s staging for the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus is not only a film studio in the thirties but also a Western at the same time. Lead by the dynamic young conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, who “…conducts very singer friendly” (Online Musik Magazine). Extraordinary visual production, and one of the most memorable European operatic events of 2012.