After an absence of almost twenty years The Elixir of Love is back at the Paris Opera in a crazy version by Laurent Pelly.
The plot is simple but effective: a shy, naive young peasant buys a love philtre from a quack – all he gets, in fact, is a flask of wine – in order to win the heart of the girl he is in love with; in the end, and with no help from the philtre, she will realise that she loves him too. Add to this a sparkling musical language and marvellously inspired melodies – including the legendary “Una Furtiva Lagrima” – and you have the authentic masterpiece Donizetti turned out in just two weeks.
Transposing the plot to the Italy of the 1950s, director Laurent Pelly (La Fille du Régiment in London and New York, with Natalie Dessay) offers us an absolute jewel, beautifully crafted and shot through with poetry.
American Heidi Grant Murphy sings Adina, accompanied by tenor Paul Groves as Nemorino. “Doctor” Dulcamara is masterfully played by the up-front Ambrogio Maestri and Laurent Naouri’s Belcore is delightfully repulsive.
Appointed music director of the English National Opera in 2006, young British conductor Edward Gardner conducts the Paris Opera Orchestra.
‘’French director Laurent Pelly’s staging of Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment for Covent Garden was the outstanding hit of last season, one of the freshest, sharpestproductions for years. He has triumphed again with a delicious new L’elisir d’amore, set in a Lambretta-riding, Fellini-esque 1950s Italy, with industrial-sized haystack and pony-tailed girls in tea-frocks.‘’