Magazine article Opera Canada

Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore Is a Quick Moving Combination of Comedy. (Canada: Montreal; Opera in Review)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore Is a Quick Moving Combination of Comedy. (Canada: Montreal; Opera in Review)

Article excerpt

Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore is a quick-moving combination of comedy, color and bel canto that should never fail. Somehow the Opera de Montreal production unveiled in Place des Arts contrived to fail in nearly every respect. The problems began as soon as the curtain rose, not on 19th-century Italy but on 19th-century Louisiana. Sergeant Belcore's troops arrived in vaguely Confederate garb, and when Dr. Dulcamara appeared in the town square, he disembarked from a small time steamboat. Only white folks in this deep-south port!

One might have tolerated such incoherence had the sets been pretty enough, but the two-dimensional proscenium of foliage had a high-school look about it. Nor was the musical impression consistent with the standards of a major house. Yannick Nezet-Seguin, leading his Orchestre Metropolitain, took the overture at a dull andante, and thereafter settled for what often sounded like 80 percent of the appropriate tempo. In one case, he was apparently forced to keep it slow, thanks to the inability of bass-baritone Thomas Hammons (Dulcamara) to move his famous patter aria beyond first gear. …

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