One hell of an Elixir

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Music

At the New York City Opera tonight.

Met Opera House

State Theater

SYB got us tickets to tonight’s performance of Gaetano Donizetti‘s L’Elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love). Sir Jonathan Miller’s new production — shared between the New York City and Royal Swedish Operas — is another of the director’s signature updates; Miller transplants the action in this Elixir from a 19th century Italian village to a 1950s high desert truck stop. The young hero, Nemorino (John Tessier), is transformed from a local villager to the town mechanic, donning the occasional cowboy hat. The local beauty for whom he pines is Adina (Anna Skibinsky in her company debut), who runs the roadside diner emblazoned with her name. Nemorino’s rival in love, the pompous soldier Belcore (Paulo Szot), is clad in Korean War-era Army fatigues; Dulcamara (Jan Opalach), who sells the titular elixir — actually, as he informs us in an aside: Robitussin — becomes the proverbial snake-oil salesman in his shiny blazer. The rest of the cast was outfitted in fitted floral dresses, jeans, leather jackets, pompadours and curler-set hair; at one point, a massive, flashy-finned Chevy convertible rolled onto the stage.

Our view from the first ring:

Orchestra Pit

I’d enjoyed these whimsical, contemporary touches in the past. J and I attended Miller’s Mikado several years back, which was reset in an Edwardian English seaside resort; his Rigoletto played like a Mafia drama, unfolding in 1950’s Little Italy. (“La donna รจ mobile” blared on a jukebox.)

The performers sang in the original Italian, hamming up the action pretty admirably (taking a break only for the tenor showpiece “Una furtiva lagrima), but the biggest laughs were elicited by the updated supertitles: lots of “dames,” “dolls” and “Daddy-O”s. To explain the legend of the elixir: “There was this chick named Isolde, and Tristan went ape over her.”

SYB noted that it was most fun he’d ever had at The Opera. Not for purists, though.


Met Opera House

There's 1 comment so far ... One hell of an Elixir

November 10, 2006

Most. Fun. Opera. Ever.

Go for it ...