L’Elisir d’Amore - Glyndebourne on Tour

MICHAEL DRAKE Norwich Theatre Royal

MICHAEL DRAKE

Norwich Theatre Royal

The visits of the company are always keenly anticipated and this week there is the added bonus of the refurbished theatre in which to enjoy their productions.

The theatre itself is hardly recognisable and I leave it to others to comment on that. Suffice it for me to say that the watching is done in much more comfort and the listening improved by the new sound enhancement system.


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But to the opera - a new production by Annabel Arden - and one not seen in Norwich for many years. It is one with a fairly improbable adaptation in storyline but Donizetti's music is just delightful under the direction of Thomas Blunt.

Making her British stage debut was soprano Adriana Kucerova as former peasant girl and now rich farmer, Adina with Peter Auty, the still peasant lad, Nemorino. Both are entirely suited to their parts - she, always smiling and a clear soprano with the flightiness of her character in her voice; he, the romantic (if not in character) tenor, gullible but charming.

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Enter the handsome army Sergeant Belcore (Massimo Cavalletti) an expansive and persuasive baritone together with the travelling quack Doctor Dulcamara (Luciano di Pasquale) offering our “hero” the elixir of love - and making himself a pile with the bogus potion.

Donizetti's tunes are often quite similar but all were sung with great clarity and meaning and often, no little humour for this production had many lighter moments and was always precisely choreographed.

And the elixir? While cheap Bordeaux wine did the trick, the whole evening in this first night of our “new” Theatre Royal deserved a good Champagne.

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