Annabel Arden’s production of L’elisir d’amore returns to Glyndebourne, this time as a vehicle for two emerging singers Benedetta Torre and Sehoon Moon.
A glow suffuses Lez Brotherston’s village square set, backed by an imposing shuttered manor house. Ben Glassberg captures warmth and excitement from the opening bars of the Overture. For L'elisir d'amore much rests on the natural grace of the music and the charm of the protagonists Adina and Nemorino. The story is at once an allegory and a gentle satire on the great fabled love story of Tristan and Isolde and the efficacy of love potions.
Nemorino is desperately in love with Adina, who is out of his reach in every way. Moon delivers Nemorino’s opening aria with pathos, and Torre captures Adina’s coolness convincingly. A band of soldiers appears with Sergeant Belcore who made an immediate play for Adina. Nemorino is horrified. Matthew Durcan as Belcore swaggers convincingly.
Act Two introduces Dulcamara, the quack doctor with his fake medicine, which he passes to Nemorino as a love potion. Misha Kiria and Maxime Nouirissat pack a real punch with comic movement and slapstick – some of it should be X-rated!
As Nemorino’s luck begins to turn he is entrusted with one of the most glorious tenor arias, ‘Una furtiva lagrima’. Moon’s performance is entrancing, his breath-control faultless.
The comic and poignant twists and turns of love and fate are superbly brought to life in Arden’s production. The female chorus, enhanced by Carrie-Ann Williams’s Giannetta, also deserves a mention for their vivid and characterful contribution.