L'Elsir D'Amore is in the top 3 of Donizetti's operas, Lucia Di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale taking the other two spots. It is hugely charming with beautiful music, some of the loveliest that Donizetti ever wrote actually. It is an opera very well served on DVD, one of the rare instances where I don't dislike any of the DVD productions I have seen of the opera. And I certainly do not dislike this production. The sets are minimal and the orchestra being situated in a way that is reminiscent of a concert performance, which may not be the most ideal approach for some. However, neither of these are a hindrance, because despite how it may seem it actually doesn't feel like a concert performance at all, it's basically any performance of the opera on stage but in a different layout. I liked what was done with the interaction between the orchestra and performers, it was a lot of fun and actually gave the different layout a good purpose for being so. The costumes are very attractive, and the staging has all the sparkle, charm and delicious fun that you'd expect from a performance of L'Elsir D'Amore. The production is outstanding musically, the orchestra play stylishly and attractively, the chorus are lively and sing with vitality and bright beauty and the conducting keeps things moving splendidly. Valeria Esposito was a really pleasant surprise, my favourite Adina on DVD actually, her voice is bright and agile and she has Adina's shrewish charm down pat. Acquiles Machado mayn't be your idea of Nemorino physically, but the fact that he sings beautifully(the best I've heard him actually) and seems so natural on stage more than make up for things. Erwin Schrott is very funny as Dulcamara and possesses a rich yet nuanced bass-baritone. Roberta Canzian is a lovely Gianetta. Enrico Marrucci is too young for Belcore and fluffs the colouratura elements of the vocal line quite badly, but I do like the lyricism of his voice and he is a hearty and appropriately pompous actor so he is hardly a disaster. All in all, highly recommended, excellent entertainment indeed. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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