5 stars The Daily Express
4 stars The Guardian, The Independent
‘a hugely engaging performance’ The Guardian
‘the truly outstanding performance was given by the American tenor Stephen Costello.’ The Daily Express
'...this production provides an elixir of pure joy.’ The Daily Express
‘But undoubtedly the star of the show is soprano Danielle de Niese... Her voice has become more substantial, and she sings Donizetti’s music with immaculate style. With her perfectly articulated bel canto vocalism blending into her overall acting performance, this interpretation represents a further step in the development of a remarkable artist, who lights up the stage with every gesture. She enjoys a well deserved triumph.’ The Stage
‘Paolo Gavanelli is a marvellously larger-than-life Dulcamara. The chorus was in enthusiastic fettle; and Enrique Mazzola’s conducting of the London Philharmonic bounded along with grace and suppleness.’ The Independent
Shy, penniless Nemorino is hopelessly in love with the beautiful Adina, but she has eyes only for the vain, swaggering Sergeant Belcore. Tables (and heads) are turned, however, when the ‘world famous’ Doctor Dulcamara rolls into town and sells the gullible Nemorino a bottle of his patent miracle cure. Can Dulcamara really have stumbled upon the legendary elixir of love?
Set in an idyllic vision of a southern Italian village square, Annabel Arden’s staging wittily distils the essence of Donizetti’s most intoxicating comedy into a vintage blend of sparkling high spirits and heart-warming sentiment.
The Spanish-born maestro Enrique Mazzola, who first conducted this production in 2007 for Glyndebourne on Tour, returns to conduct a brand-new cast led by the acclaimed young American lyric tenor Stephen Costello as the lovelorn Nemorino and Danielle de Niese as the seemingly unattainable Adina. Also making their Festival debuts as Belcore and Dulcamara are rising young Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov and celebrated Italian baritone Paolo Gavanelli.
A revival of the 2007 Glyndebourne on Tour production
Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
This revival is sponsored by The Monument Trust.
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Setting: A 19th-century Italian village
The harvesters are resting from their labours while the landowner Adina reads a book. The peasant Nemorino admires Adina – so learned, so lovely, yet so uninterested in him. Adina bursts out laughing and is asked to explain. Mockingly, she relates how Tristan and Isolde were brought together by a love-potion.
To the sound of a drum, a troop of soldiers marches in, led by the handsome Sergeant Belcore, who promptly presents Adina with flowers as proof of his affection. He asks her when she will marry him; she defers the decision while Nemorino laments his shyness.
Left alone with Adina, Nemorino presses his suit. She palms him off; he would do better to visit his uncle, who is seriously ill. She is capricious, she tells him, and will never settle down. He is the opposite, he responds, and can think of no one but her.
To great tantara, the quack Dr Dulcamara arrives and starts selling his beauty treatments and cures for ailments. Nemorino asks if he has Queen Isolde’s love-potion. Yes, indeed, replies Dulcamara – and sells him a bottle of plonk that will take, he says, a day to work.
Nemorino drinks it and, feeling an immediate effect, tries its influence on Adina; he feels sure that she will be his within 24 hours.
Belcore enters, reinstating his claims. To spite the newly confident Nemorino, Adina agrees to marry Belcore in six days. Nemorino is exultant. But suddenly a despatch arrives ordering the soldiers away the following morning. Adina agrees to bring the marriage forward to that very day.
Nemorino pleads with her to wait one day longer, but to no avail. As the preparations begin, he is in despair.
Dinner interval of approximately 85 minutes
The wedding celebrations are in full swing, though Adina is annoyed that Nemorino has not shown up to witness them. The notary arrives – but still no sign of Nemorino. Finally he enters, disconsolate, and appeals to Dulcamara to give him something that will make him immediately beloved. Dulcamara, who intends to leave within half an hour, offers another bottle, but Nemorino has no money to pay for it.
Belcore wanders in, wondering why Adina is now delaying the marriage formalities until the evening. He finds Nemorino desperate for money, and reminds him that he can earn 20 scudi – cash, on the spot – by joining the army. Nemorino signs up and, grabbing the money, goes in search of Dulcamara.
Meanwhile news is sweeping the village of the death of Nemorino’s uncle, who has left him a fortune. Suddenly, all the village girls are after him – which he puts down to the effect of the love-potion.
Dulcamara explains to the mystified Adina that the love-potion is clearly working for the poor, rejected lad. Feeling guilty, Adina vows to win his love back through other means.
Alone, Nemorino ponders the single tear he has seen in Adina’s eye. She must love him after all!
Adina approaches him shyly. He must not leave the village. She herself has bought back his army papers, and gives them to him. If she does not love him, he tells her, he would rather die a soldier – and promptly gives them back. Finally, she admits her feelings.
Belcore, finding them together, consoles himself with the thought of the thousands of other women in the world. The villagers wave goodbye to Dulcamara, who drives off to conquer new markets.
Words: George Hall
Conductor Enrique Mazzola
Director Annabel Arden
Designer Lez Brotherston
Lighting designer Giuseppe di Iorio
Movement director Leah Hausman
Adina Danielle de Niese
Nemorino Leonardo Capalbo
Belcore Rodion Pogossov
Dulcamara Paolo Gavanelli
Giannetta Manuela Bisceglie
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