Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Paperwhite Shop now Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

56
4.5 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2011
Donizetti's brilliant comedy "L'elisir d'amore", tells the story of Nemorino (Rolando Villazon), a simple and poor youth. He is madly in love with Adina (Anna Netrebko) a wealthy land owner, who does not respond to his feelings, but enjoys his attention to her. The pompous and immodest, Sergeant Belcore (Leo Nucci) arrives and asks Adina to marry him and she says that she will think it over.

Afraid that she will accept, Nemorino seeks the help of the fraud Dulcamara (Ildebrando D' Arcangelo), who is pretending to be a doctor. Nemorino asks him if he has a love potion, so that Adina would fall in love with him. Dulcamara gives him a bottle and tells Nemorino that the effects of the potion will happen in one day. However, the potion is in fact wine, which creates hilarious consequences and the end of the opera results in a excellent and cheerful conclution for all of the characters.

Dulcamara was played wonderfully, by bass Ildebrando D' Arcangelo, his voice powerful, accompanied with great acting, bringing the humor of the role perfectly. The Barcarolle "Io son ricco e tu sei bella" sung with Netrebko, was brilliant. Leo Nucci was equally great as Sergeant Belcore, with splendid singing and acting skills.

Rolando Villazon was exceptional, acting brilliantly funny, with hilarious, exaggerated facial expressions. His voice was astounding, singing the role perfectly, especially the famous aria "Una furtiva lagrima". His rendition of it was so beautiful, that the audience demanded an encore and the second time was even more incredible then the first.

Anna Netrebko was sublime, with excellent stage presence. Her beautiful voice was fantastic, having great technique and a wonderfully delicate, light tone when it came to singing the high notes. With her astounding range, she managed to swiftly change into different emotions, having everything that makes a brilliant bel canto singer. The aria that she sung which struck me the most, was the beautiful "Prendi, per me sei libero", her voice sounding exquisite.

The chemistry between Villazon and Netrebko was brilliant, their voices perfectly matched, sounding divine. It is very rare that you see something like that and this really helps the whole flow of the opera, creating a brilliant atmosphere, a real joy to watch and hear.

Accompanied by a phenomenal orchestra and choir, with fantastic singers, this production is perfect, bringing Donizetti's astounding music to life and I definitely recommend purchasing this opera.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2010
This is one of the most performed operas owing to it's delightful music and comic plot. It is very suitable as an introduction to opera or as a first buy for anyone intrigued by his TV appearances and wanting to enjoy an opera starring superstar tenor Rolando Villazon. Rolando Villazon is Nemorino, a poor young Italian peasant, who is in love with Adina, played by superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, a beautiful landowner who torments Nemorino with her indifference. The twists and turns in the plot allow for comic and intensely romantic arias. Utterly beguiling, Rolando is sensational in this part. As Pavarotti observed 'Nemorino is half comic, half sad, just like life. He is also a simple country boy, yet he is not stupid'. We sense Nemorino's unhappiness and his goodness and he has our sympathy from the start in his quest to win his beloved's favour with the Elixir of Love.

Rolando brings the house down with 'Una Furtiva Lagrima' one of the most famous and often-excerpted arias in all of opera and his encore is, unbelievably, even more amazing. I love the pretty stage set and costumes, it's a wonderful treat of an opera production. Rolando is to perform this opera again shortly on stage. Viva Villazon!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This recording of L'Elisir d'Amore was made in 2005 at the Vienna State Opera. This is quite a small theatre and this has an impact on the production which is rather more intimate in feel than is often the case with larger venues.

The production is firmly traditional with completely believable costumes and set. The chorus have quite a large vocal and dramatic role in this opera so they need to be actively participative both collectively and individually. This is achieved very well throughout this performance.

The two star roles of Adina and Nemorino dominate this opera and feature Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon at a fairly early stage in their respective careers when both have the freshness of youth on their side. It is quite clear from numerous glances and more obvious interactions that they seem to have a special empathy with each other and this makes a huge difference to the veracity of the performance and to the viewers' enjoyment as the story unfolds on the stage. Both are in fine voice too and the stand-out aria is the touching `Una furtiva lagrima' sung most affectingly by Villazon and which leads to prolonged demands for an encore from the highly enthusiastic audience. They are suitably rewarded and their renewed applause almost stops the show! Netrebko is by no means over-shadowed by this however as her immediately preceding aria `Quanto amore!' is of the same calibre.

Leo Nucci as Belcore is clearly no more the young man as described by Adina but he has a twinkle in the eye which cannot be missed and obviously enjoys playing his role opposite the very attractive and nimble Netrebko. This genuine attraction has the effect of encouraging Nucci to shed years and to bring out some of the most vibrant acting I have ever seen from him. His voice is still in very good shape so he makes a good character part. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as the wily Dulcamara also clearly relishes his role in much the same sort of way as Nucci and he is really very amusing as well as being vocally excellent.

Humour and amusement are strong features of this production and much of this stems from the very vibrant interactions between the above mentioned members of the cast and this is quite in addition to the humour built into the script. There are many, seemingly improvised, moments of humour sometimes verging on the slapstick such as Villazon tripping and bumping into things in a bumbling manner, his skilful turn of juggling with 3 apples (he was a circus performer at one time), Netrebko closing his mouth opened in astonishment plus many more small instances of natural good humour.

The orchestra under Alfred Eschwe is on good form and the on-stage trumpeter, Konrad Monsberger, is a nice visual touch.

The camera work is able to draw the viewer into the action very well and the imaging is crisp with good colour throughout. The sound is good but microphone placing produces moments of reduced volume from the solo singers as they move slightly out of optimum range. The effect is actually more realistic in the crowd scenes for example where the chorus is more powerfully projected compared to the more recessed balance of the soloists. I would not wish to make too much of this as I personally prefer this than the more even, but totally fake effect, of the radio mikes now becoming regrettably more commonplace. The sound is presented in DD 5.1, DTS 5.1 and stereo.

This is a most enjoyable production and performance absolutely bubbling with vivacity. The cast interactions on stage seem to be very specially combined and this extra sizzle is very much appreciated by the enthusiastic audience. The whole effect is enhanced by the more intimate nature of the relatively small theatre. I would expect purchasers of this disc to derive great pleasure from it on repeat viewings and therefore it seems reasonable to suggest that this is very much a 5 star product despite the few instances of slightly recessed solo voices.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2014
The setting is, for me, distracting and fragmented. I'd rather just listen to the cd. Rolando's facial gymnastics are quite painful. It's hard to believe any girl would fall for such a character as is portrayed. Love his voice nevertheless and Miah Persson is a delight to see and hear. She sings and acts well and not overly dramatic. The whole thing makes me want to see a more traditional production.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2010
L'Elisir d'Amore was first produced in 1832. It was an immediate success and has never been out of the repertoire since, even in the first half of the twentieth century when bel canto operas were deeply unfashionable.

It is not difficult to explain its success. This is the sunniest of all comedies - even the thwarted lover doesn't seem at all upset at the end. And, as you would expect with Donizetti, it is simply bursting with good tunes, including what is beyond question the finest aria ever written for the tenor voice. I would like to think that this opera is very high on the list of must-haves for all except the haters of bel canto.

So, what of this performance? Let's start by dealing with the relatively minor faults.

Firstly there is the question of continuity. This might seem an odd thing to mention, but it looks as if this DVD was compiled from at least two performances. The flaws are not serious, but although I don't go looking for this sort of thing I noticed them straight away and there really ought to have been more care taken over editing. If this sort of thing really upsets you then perhaps this performance isn't for you (which would be a pity).

Some would consider the casting of Leo Nucci as Sergeant Belcore to be a mistake. After all, there can be little doubt that Donizetti would have envisioned him as a young buck, whereas Nucci was over 60 when this recording was made. But he is a vastly experienced performer, and he plays the character as an something of an old roué. To my mind he is completely successful in this characterisation.

Some other reviewers have doubts about Ildebrando d'Archangelo as Dr Dulcamara. I think he's ok, but would concede that this is the one and only case where the Alagna/Gheorghiou performance has the edge on this one. Their Dulcamara is much more flashy, which suites the role well.

Now for the really good things, of which there are loads. The sets and costumes are, I think, mid-19th century which isn't perhaps quite what the composer intended, but they look great and even a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist like me was impressed with them. Anna Netrubko makes a very pretty Adina who can sing and act as well. So, of the main characters, that just leaves Nemorino.

In my review of the Florez/Dessay "Fille du Regiment" I commented that it was as if Natalie Dessay had been born to play Marie. I could say the same about Rolando Villazon and Nemorino. Ignore any other reviewers who say he overacts: this is an outstanding, committed, utterly believable performance, funny or touching as the situation demands. And he sings pretty well, as well!

Three quarters of the way through the second act the lights are dimmed and the solitary figure of Nemorino is highlighted. Everyone knows what is coming and you could hear the proverbial pin drop as the bassoon starts the introduction to "Una furtiva lagrima". A good rendition of this aria will not save a poor performance of the opera, but a bad one will be a huge disappointment in an otherwise good performance.

How does Villazon cope? I think it can best be summed up by saying that whilst you may just possibly hear it sung better (Pavarotti comes to mind) you will never, ever, experience a better performance. Not that Villazon doesn't sing it beautifully; he does. But more than that, he puts his whole heart and soul into it in a way which is truly electrifying. The audience (and we are always conscious that this is a live performance) do not stint their approval.

The only thing I haven't mentioned is the chorus and they are pretty good as well.

This DVD contains a most useful "extra" in which the main characters introduce themselves. This is followed by a brief introduction from Alfred Eschwé, the conductor, who concludes his remarks with the comment which forms the title to this review.

Subject to my slight reservations about d'Archangelo as Dulcamara this performance knocks spots off the Alagna/Gheorghiou DVD of this opera. Others have praised it but I thought Alagna seemed uninvolved and the whole thing felt studio-bound and charmless.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2007
Some friends loaned me this super DVD, and I enjoyed it so much I went and got my own copy. It was my first experience of Netrebko and Villazon and I was really impressed. It was obvious from their great performance the two of them each complimented the other, and this came across clearly in the various exchanges they had in the Opera. It was a treat to see Villazon juggling 3 apples whilst singing! It is so refreshing these days to see excellent singers who are also physically attractive, and I thoroughly recommend this recording of this light hearted and very tuneful opera.
I must also mention Leo Nucci's performance. He is a versatile and competent performer, and he comes over very well in L'Elisir D'Amore
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2012
I approached this performance with a certain apprehension, as I did not like Netrebko's 'Don Pasquale' at all. From the very first I was heartened. Both Villazon and Netrebko sing their hearts out: this is a truly wonderful account, and beautifully conducted too. Both Dulcemara ("Bitter-sweet")and Belcore ("Beautiful-Heart") are also superbly sung. Some of Netrebko's ad libitum variations on the written line are inspired: she comes across as truly a bel canto singer in this telling respect. Villazon strikes me as the undoubted hero here: his voice is so mellow, unlike those of many feted tenors. He portrays Nemorino ("Little Nobody")as a genuinely likeable buffoon, exactly as Donizetti and his librettist intended. Who could dream that a manic depressive could write such joyous music? He may have been known in his time as Dozinetti ("dozens of notes"), but there is no note-spinning in this piece: it is sheer magic from beginning to end - and I have no doubt that this is the DVD to own, Kathleen Battle and Lucio Pavarotti notwithstanding. Idiomatically Eschwe's account is on the same level as Hendricks's CD version conducted by Gabriele Ferro. Bravo!!
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2014
For opera virgins I cannot do better than to reference the pithy summary contained within the " Good Opera Guide" by Dennis Forman which is a must read book......

This is the most lovable of comic operas. The characters are not cardboard cut-outs but believable real people - we feel for the main male character ( Nemorino ) in his unswerving devotion to the brassy Adina whom we come to love. One of our most famous conductors defined a good tune as one that enters the ear with facility and quits the memory with difficulty. If this was applied to all, not just Italian, operas this one would emerge as a clear winner, a little miracle, pure enjoyment from overture to curtain call.

As an amateur but very experienced opera enthusiast I can thoroughly recommend this performance which is wonderfully sung and , in particular, acted. There is a priceless moment when Nemorino sung by Rolando Villazon successfully juggles three small balls in the air much to the seemingly, ie genuine, amazement of Adina ( Anna Netrebko - superb as normal ) who applauds.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2014
I like this opera. I somehow like Villazón production, even if it's a bit weird. I like most singers (Persson, Villazón, D'Arcangelo, Mühlemann) and mostly I love Miah Persson's Adina.
But the Blu-Ray sound is awful. The opera, the production, the singers deserve a much better sound mix, color, depth. Sometimes singers are badly drowned out by the orchestra. For some singers (namely sopranos) sound is squeezed into a narrow frequency band, with very unpleasant effect. Maybe microphones didn't work well, or sound settings were off. What happened ?
The result is really poor... too bad, really too bad!

PS: not sure my previous review is still online...
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 12 February 2015
I love opera and watch a couple of operas on video each week and own several hundred opera DVDs and Blu-rays.

I bought this without reading reviews, as almost everything that Deutsche Grammophon have released on Blu-ray so far has been outstanding (eg Il Trovatore with Netrebko and Domingo is exceptional).

Unfortunately, this release is the probably the worst thing I have seen (either live or recorded).

Singing: 3 stars. The singing isn't terrible but it isn't great either. Villazón's voice is not in peak shape and he needs a bit more control. Persson is a bit shrill and not the most pleasant singer to listen to. Although D'Arcangelo is excellent.

Sound: 1 star. The sound is horrible! The sound is muffled, the balance keeps changing, and the Deutsche Grammophon engineers should be embarrassed by this release.

Production: 1 star. Villazón directed the production and it is awful. The opera takes place on the set of a Western film. Villazón mentions in the accompanying documentary that he unashamedly uses cliche and slap stick. That's fine, but to me the result is incredibly daggy, stupid, and not at all funny. Villazón prances around the stage like a buffoon - perhaps this suits the character - but it is indulgent and unfocused. I got the impression from watching the documentary that Villazón's exuberance borders on the manic - and the result in mish-mash of ideas and gimmicks. It has the strange distinction of being on the one hand excruciating to watch, but also very boring.

Video Direction: 1 star. The filmed footage is interspersed with footage of a black and white 'silent' film that Villazón made for the production. It is ugly and distracting.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.