A Revival of the Liceu’s Well-Known L’elisir Has Its Ups and Downs


Donizetti, L’elisir d’amore: Liceu Chorus and Orchestra / Ramón Tebar (conductor), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 9.1.2018. (JMI)


L’elisir d’amore © A. Bofill


Nemorino – Pavol Breslik
Adina – Jessica Pratt
Dulcamara – Roberto de Candia
Belcore – Paolo Bordogna
Giannetta – Mercedes Gancedo


Director – Mario Gas
Sets and Costumes – Marcelo Grande
Lighting – Quico Gutiérrez

The Liceu opened the 2018 season with a revival of the frequently staged Mario Gas production of L’elisir d’amore. The performance was well received despite a somewhat uneven cast and a musical direction that also had its ups and downs. I have reviewed it several times since the premiere 20 years ago, and my opinion is unchanged. (review)

Conductor Ramón Tebar is highly in demand in Spain now. Scarcely two weeks have passed between the final performance of his Don Carlo in Valencia and the first one of L’elisir in Barcelona, ​​a very short time if one takes into account the Christmas festivities in between. Perhaps this explains why his conducting fell short of what one expects from him. The first act was noisy and flat, and there was a lack of coordination between pit and stage. Things improved in the last scenes of the second act, but it didn’t exactly leave one with a sweet taste, given what one expects from him. Neither the orchestra nor the chorus were particularly convincing.

Nemorino was sung by tenor Pavol Breslik, who did well in the role. He is not an exceptional artist, but he is well suited to the part, and he sang with gusto the always anticipated ‘Una furtiva lagrima’.

The performance of soprano Jessica Pratt did not go beyond correct in Act I, and her voice sometimes seemed too small for this house. But she improved in the second act and was completely convincing in her duet with Dulcamara. She shone in a special way in the main scene with Nemorino, and demonstrated outstanding agility

Roberto de Candia was a good interpreter of Dulcamara in terms both of singing and acting. Today he is a guarantee of consistency in these buffo characters. Baritone Paolo Bordogna was better as an actor than a singer in the part of Belcore, while Mercedes Gancedo did well as Giannetta.

The biggest applause was for Jessica Pratt.

José M. Irurzun

Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! The Piccadilly Chamber Music Series in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! I Musicanti’s Alexandra and the Russians at St Johns Smith Square in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • UPDATED! SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS CHOOSE THEIR ‘BEST OF 2017’ __________________________________
  • NEW! Dénes Várjon Talks to Sebastian Smallshaw About Budapest’s Kamara.hu __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Russian Ballet Icons Gala at the London Coliseum on 25 February __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H