REVIEW: Elixir of Love (Lyric Opera)

The elixir works, audience swoons!

 elixir-title

All photos by Dan Rest

Lyric Opera presents

The Elixir of Love

 

By Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by
Felice Romani
Conducted by
Bruno Campanella
Stage directed by
Giulio Chazalettes
Thru February 22nd  (more info)

By Katy Walsh

09. Gabriele Viviani, Nicole Cabell. The Elixir of Love. DBR_4986 c. Dan RestWe’ve seen it before – a guy in love (lust?) uses alcohol to overcome his shyness and catch the girl. Lyric Opera presents their own version of this scenario in The Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti. Nemorino is in love with Adina. Adina is playing the field by flirting with a touring soldier, Belcore. To win Adina’s heart, Nemorino buys an elixir from a traveling peddler, Dulcamara. The potion is actually of bottle of Bordeaux. Eager to make a little cash, Dulcamara proclaims the miracle tonic clears up the complexion, cures joint pain and makes people fall in love. Due to a series of circumstances, all the village women try to court Nemorino. Both Adina and Dulcamara are stunned to observe Nemorino’s popularity. And all ends up well in the end.

Sung in Italian with English subtitles, The Elixir of Love has the signature opera element of multiple characters singing different words simultaneously for a rich sound. Unlike many operas, this show is a light hearted romantic comedy.

To be a principal in an opera, the prerequisite is a fantastic singing voice; an ability to act is not a deal breaker. Making his Lyric Opera debut, Giuseppe Fillanoti (Nemorino) is the full entertainment package. He can sing. He can act. And he’s nice to look at. Fillanoti plays the romantic lead with innocent simplicity and comedic timing. In the show’s most familiar aria “Una furtiva lagrima” (“One furtive tear”), Fillanoti is flawless in his soulful celebration. Holding her own, Nicole Cabell (Adina) is a playful match for Fillanoti. She sings through a range of personas: light-hearted flirt to strategic game player to nervous competitor to woman in love. Although Fillanoti and Cabell are cast perfectly together, their harmonious coupling will end with their February 5th performance. Frank Lopardo (Nemorino) and Susanna Phillips (Adina) will take over the roles from February 7th thru 22nd. The rest of the cast will be featured for the entirety of the run including the wonderful performances of a cocky Belcore (Gabriele Viviani), smooth-singing salesman Dulcamara (Alessandro Corbelli), and village women leader Giannetta (Angela Mannino).

06. Act 1, The Elixir of Love. RST_2054 c. Dan Rest 11. Alessandro Corbelli, Nicole Cabell. The Elixir of Love. DBR_5233 c. Dan Rest
04. Nicole Cabell, Giuseppe Filianoti. The Elixir of Love. DBR_4630 c. Dan Rest 07. Giuseppe Filianoti, Alessandro Corbelli. The Elixir of Love. DBR_4818 c. Dan Rest

Though the cast shines, the creative design is lackluster. The costumes and set of The Elixir of Love are stagnant. Having anticipated the theatrical spectacle as is the Lyric Opera style, it’s a little disappointing. But as a consolation, LO does bring out a live horse on stage pulling the peddler’s wagon, though – because of the massive stage – the horse blends in with the 50+ villagers chorus. (I can’t help but question how Lyric gets a horse inside the Civic Opera House and where does it stand between scenes. As classy as the Lyric is, I like to imagine that the horse has his own dressing room equipped with the best carrots and saddle soap.)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, The Elixir of Love is the perfect date opera. It’s a romantic comedy that has a happy ending. This is not always the case in real life or on the opera stage, so enjoy it while you can.

 

Rating: ★★★½

 

03. Nicole Cabell, Giuseppe Filianoti. The Elixir of Love. DBR_4609 c. Dan Rest 15. Alessandro Corbelli. The Elixir of Love. RST_1172 c. Dan Rest 13. Giuseppe Filianoti. The Elixir of Love. RST_1022 c. Dan Rest

Elixir Cast and Creative Team

Nicole Cabell

Adina
Nicole Cabell
Jan. 23–Feb. 5

Susanna Phillips

Adina
Susanna Phillips
Feb. 7–22

Giuseppe Filianoti

Nemorino
Giuseppe Filianoti*
Jan. 23–Feb. 5

Frank Lopardo

Nemorino
Frank Lopardo
Feb. 7–22

Alessandro Corbelli

Dulcamara
Alessandro Corbelli

Gabriele Viviani

Belcore
Gabriele Viviani*

Angela Mannino
Giannetta
Angela Mannino

Bruno Campanella

Conductor 
Bruno Campanella

Giulio Chazalettes

Original Production
Giulio Chazalettes

Vincent Liotta

Director
Vincent Liotta

Ulisse Santicchi

Designer
Ulisse Santicchi

Jason Brown

Lighting Designer
Jason Brown*

Nally

Chorus Master
Donald Nally

Jarvie

Wigmaster and Makeup Designer
Richard Jarvie

 

 


A man of many words, Roger says story:  romantic comedy, dialog: funny and singing:  fantastico!

WAITING FOR THE SHOW

Pre pre-show, I tried to make reservations at The Pedersen Room…for all my remaining season performances. It’s booked! Kudos to the Lyric and its successful inaugural dining initiative! We decide to eat at the no reservations required and less expensive option, Florian Bistro on the third floor. This is a dining option for performance ticket holders only. It’s my third dining experience and Roger’s first. I order up my elixir of choice, a nice Malbec and Roger opts for coffee. We split the salmon special and duck breast salad. I’m happy to note the servers now carry hand held ordering communicators. (I had an efficiency issue with a server for “The Merry Widow”). The food arrives at our table quickly. The salmon wrapped in a puff pastry is a little fishy for me although I have a love-hate relationship with that particular fish. The salad has duck breast medallions on top of greens. With the special, we also receive two macaroons with a heavy almond taste… love them! This being my third experience, I can strongly say the meals are fast food fine. The customer service is amazingly courteous and efficient. Obviously under the power of the elixir, I allow Roger to express his opinion on the Florian Bistro too. Rogers says location:  convenient, food:  decent and ambience:  charming-ish.

One Response

  1. […] Check out the rest of the review at Chicago Theater Blog. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: