I have seen this Pelly production at Covent Garden, with Diana Damrau in the role of Adina, and it is truly delightful. Heidi Grant Murphy does not have much history, as far as I can tell, as a bel canto singer, but, although her voice is not a strong one, she acts her part very well. You simply cannot imagine a more appealing Nemorino than Paul Groves, though he is no Pavarotti (probably just as well, for Pavarotti would have drowned out poor Adina). Laurent Naouri is his usual zany self as Belcore - very funny and with just the right voice for the part. Ambrogio Maestri has a gorgeous bass-baritone instrument, and sings and acts his heart out as the naughty doctor, Dulcamara. Edward Gardner conducts with zest - and some beautiful mid-aria/duet tempo variations in more set pieces than one. The chorus too are superb, and Aleksandra Zamojska makes a lovely Giannetta, a gossipy bespectacled maid of uncertain years. By the end of the performance initial queasinesses have disappeared and the audience can sit back and truly enjoy this delightful production. All in all a huge success.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderfully entertaining!26 April 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a Laurent Pelly production and that means everyone gets a workout in this very animated and vivacious L'Elisir! Heidi Grant Murphy is fantastic as Adina and in this production, you catch on right away that she really does care for Nemorino. But once he makes her mad, look out! Paul Groves is excellent as Nemorino, perhaps a little over the top in expression; his singing is fantastic, the big aria Una Furtiva Lagrima, had me yelling, "Bravo!" Laurent Naouri is a show stealer as Belcore. I don't think I've ever seen a better rendition of Belcore than the one Naouri gives here! And that's saying a lot because I've seen them all! He's suave and hilarious. Ambrosio Maestri is Dulcamara and he doesn't miss a beat either.
This is really a great show, with an excellent cast and chorus and perfect orchestral accompaniment. You will not be disappointed in this production!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good Performance ...8 Jan. 2014
John G. Gleeson Sr.
- Published on Amazon.com
But there are better.
Elisir is one of those perfect little operatic gems that seem to accumulate on my opera shelves. Like Boheme, Don Pasquae, Manon and a few others, I want to see and hear how "new" singers and a different stage director do with a work with which I am most familiar.In this case the results are quite enjoyable.
This is an HD recording of a performance that took place in June of 2006 and the quality of the disc, visually and sonically is excellent.
Heidi Grant Murphy is new to me, as is tenor Paul Groves. Grant has been singing for about 25 years, and while some folks might comment on her age (as Adina), she sounds fresh and her ability to negotiate both the tessatura and the vocal gymnastics of the role are unquestionable. Groves, who, according to the recent issue of Opera News, sang Parsifal recently in Chicago, is an intelligent artist who creates a bumbling Nemorino who is immediately likeable. While the voice does what it needs to, it lacks that Italianate ingredient that I find essential for the role.
Laurent Naouri is a wonderful Belcore, in the main because the man can really act as well as sing. (I am looking forward to the forthcoming release of Tales of Hoffman with Naouri as the villains.
On the other hand, Ambrogio Maestri is disappointing as Dulcamara. I suspect that his extreme girth required him to spend so much of his on stage time seated, and while vocally he is exceptional, when compared to Ildebrando D'Arcangelo in the Virgin Classics version, he falls flat.
I generally like what Laurent Pelly does with staging and I do so here: there is lots going on, and the chorus members all interact extremely well to maintain a lot of stage action.
But if the budget can only handle one Elisir, the Virgin Classics release with Netrebko, Villazon and Nucci (in addition to d"Arcangelo) is the best of the several alternatives one has, gentle reader. It rocks! And if your budget can handle two, take a look at the TDK version with Esposito, Machado and Schrott. It's excellent (and still available new for under $10.00!!)
Still, if you're like me, this is a very nice Elisir to have on the shelf to play from time to time as a contrast to the others.