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Glyndebourne - L'Elisir d'amore review: music to forget the chilliest of December nights

PUBLISHED: 15:58 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:58 04 December 2019

Glyndeboure L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti. Picture: Mike Hoban/Glyndebourne Productions

Glyndeboure L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti. Picture: Mike Hoban/Glyndebourne Productions

Glyndebourne Productions Ltd.

Director Annabel Arden's L'Elisir D'Amore swaps the rebellions of the 1830's for the rise of fascism in the 1940's. But this still ends up being more of a nostalgia trip than a political statement.

Donizetti's comedy has been a great favourite in the Glyndebourne repertoire since its premiere in 2007. The Italy it depicts is charmingly rose-tinted.

Guiseppe Di Iorio's lighting design bathes the stage in sunshine as local peasant Nemorino sings of his despair. He's fallen for wealthy Adina, but she's out of his league.

On her side, it's not exactly love at first sight. So when some soldiers stray into town, she accepts a marriage proposal straight away, despite the scary looking black shirt.

Poor Nemorino (the name means nobody) seems fated to love and lose.

But that all changes when a love potion falls into his hands. It's only Bordeaux - but the courage it lends him is enough to inspire some pretty nifty singing.

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His chances with Adina grow stronger scene by scene, but the real pivot is the famous aria Una Furtiva Lagrima. It's heart-breakingly gorgeous, and in this production Sehoon Moon gives it such lyricism that he sinks the auditorium in a deep, appreciative silence.

Frustratingly, in character terms it doesn't quite pay off. If this is his chance to fire up his machismo and seize the day, his heart just doesn't seem in it.

Benedetta Torre as Adina could also do with a bit more heat. Hers is a finely judged performance, but this is a love story in Italian vein. It would be nice to see some more passion. Her voice, however, is divine.

The two leads must contend with some serious scene stealing from the clowns, who run away with much of the show. Misha Kiria as Dr Dulcamara and his able assistant, Maxime Nourissat, have everyone in stitches.

Under the direction of Aidan Oliver, the chorus are on fine form, too. Ben Glassberg, conducting in the pit, brings out the warmth in the score. This is music to forget the chilliest of December nights.

- Glyndebourne L'Elisir d'amore will also run at Norwich Theatre Royal on December 5

- Tickets are available for £10 - £58 from their website

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