Amore on the Beach

SpainSpain Donizetti: L’Elisir d’Amore, Orchestra and Chorus Teatro Real, Marc Piollet/Vicente Alberola (conductors), Teatro Real, Madrid, 6, 8 and 9.12.2013 (JMI).


Nemorino: Celso Albelo/Ismael Jordi/Antonio Poli
Adina: Nino Machaidze/Camilla Tilling/Eleonora Buratto
Dulcamara: Erwin Schrott/Paolo Bordogna
Belcore: Fabio Capitanucci/José Carbó
Giannetta: Ruth Rosique/Mariangela Sicilia


Production: Teatro Real in co-production with Valencia’s Palau de Les Arts
Direction: Damiano Michieletto
Sets: Paolo Fantin
Costumes: Silvia Aymonino
Lighting: Alessandro Carletti

This stage production by Damiano Michieletto had its premiere at Valencia’s Palau de Les Arts in March 2011. Here is my review. When I saw the production in Valencia I wrote that it would benefit from some changes in future revivals, and there have been a few but not enough. In the first of the three casts Nemorino did not sing “Furtiva Lagrima” on the roof of Adina’s bar, which I thought made more sense. But in the other two casts, Nemorino was again back on the roof as if he were a chimney sweep. I also thought that Ducamara was rather excessive on stage; I found out that this was not exactly Michieletto’s decission but rather to a large extent the initiative of the interpreter. If Erwin Schrott was a Dulcamara in search of easy laughs, Paolo Bordogna was even more so in the alternate cast.

It should be noted that transposing the action to a beach does not present contradictions between what we see and what we hear.

The principal conductor was Marc Piollet whose work was strong, and better than the conducting of Omer Meir Wellber in Valencia. He was also much better than Vicente Alberola whose reading on 8 December was purely routine. The orchestra was not at the high level that one expects from them, but the choir was as good as usual.

Celso Albelo has become one of the best interpreters of Nemorino. His tenor has gained in size, and while maintaining the elegance in his singing together with his  great top notes, he is now also an accomplished actor. He sang with gusto, particularly at his most anticipated aria. In the second cast Nemorino was Ismael Jordi, whose performance was not fully convincing. The score presents no problems for him and he is always an excellent singer, but a more attractive timbre is needed for Nemorino. Antonio Poli can be a good Fenton, as he has proved in different theatres, but he is not mature enough for Nemorino, a role that needs more than a pure light tenor.

Nino Machaidze has become despite her youth (30) one of the most sought-after sopranos of today. She has many good qualities, but I have never found her soprano too attactive, especially above the passage. Her performance was a little disappointing, less spontaneous than on other occasions. I noticed some sigAns  of vocal fatigue at the top that did not exist a few months ago when I saw her as Fiorilla at Liceu, and it is rather odd in a young singer. Eleonora Buratto started below my expectations, but she improved dramatically as the performance went on. I thought she was the best of the three Adinas. Camilla Tilling was a weak Adina, her soprano several sizes smaller than needed for this role in a big house.

To repeat what I wrote about Erwin Schrott’s performance in Valencia at the premiere of this production: I found his Dulcamara disappointing. Apart from the pure conception of the role, Schrott was continually overacting on stage and – even worse – determined to prove that he has a huge voice, always singing with open sounds. Paolo Bordogna was the charlatan in the second cast. Obviously, his voice does not have the quality or extent of Erwin Schrott’s, and his performance was not convincing either. He was always looking for affectations of dubious taste and finished his performance as a transvestite. I realize that the public did not share my opinions about them since both were greeted with enthusiasm.

Fabio Capitanucci was a disappointing Belcore and a shadow of his former self. His baritone is now smaller in size and the high register is too thin and tight. José Carbó was a rather modest Belcore with a pleasant voice.

Ruth Rosique and Mariangela Sicilia were excellent Giannettas. In this production the role has more relevance than usual on stage.

José Mª Irurzun


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