[Met Performance] CID:189060
L'Elisir d'Amore {90} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/30/1961.


Metropolitan Opera House
October 30, 1961

Donizetti-F. Romani

Adina...................Roberta Peters
Nemorino................Dino Formichini
Belcore.................Mario Sereni
Dr. Dulcamara...........Fernando Corena
Giannetta...............Dorothy Coulter

Conductor...............Fausto Cleva

Director................Nathaniel Merrill
Designer................Robert O'Hearn
Choreographer...........Todd Bolender

L'Elisir d'Amore received seven performances this season.

Review of Ronald Eyer in the Herald Tribune

"L'Elisir d'Amore" (The Elixir of Love), isn't much of an opera, but it's a wingding of a show if you are in a mood for pretty girls, wooden soldiers, brass bands and balloon descensions (who ever heard of a balloon descension except in "The Wizard of Oz" and "Around the World in 80 Days?).

But that's the way it is in Nathaniel Merrill's infinitely wise and witty production of the Donizetti opera unveiled last season and brought back for the first time this season last night.

The wit and wisdom of the production still are there, but the performance got lost somewhere in the wings. Probably owing to under-rehearsal, there was no pace, little precision and not a whisper of that central driving force that calls the signals, describes each participant's exact parabola and, by careful calculation, creates that wonderful gossamer of spontaneous fun and frolic that is one of the most solemn operations in the theatrical profession.

One hesitates to blame Maestro Cleva, who is a diminutive drill master of mighty proportions, but he must be held accountable at least for lethargic tempos. For the rest, all the parts were there but they just didn't mesh. The next performance probably will be a beauty.

Nothing, however, could prevent Roberta Peters from being prettily fetching as Adina nor from singing her florid coloratura passages with what seemed to be a new-found freedom of execution, even though there was an unwonted metallic edginess in the voice.

Dino Formichini, the happily soused Nemorino, is neither vocally nor temperamentally a buffo tenor. He is a straight lyric who does a fine Rodolfo. Yet he qualified somehow as the hapless, helpless clod who bought Dr. Dulcamara's impotent, and probably indigestible, Bordeaux and proved that it could be an elixir capable of winning the girl. He was working against natural odds.

Fernando Corena, our No. 1 operatic comedian, was badly served by the lack of pace that made many of his points pointless, but such is his style that he could not be put out of countenance, and he came off virtually unscathed. Mario Sereni was a powerful-lunged, if somewhat routine, Sergeant Belcore. Dorothy Coulter was dainty and charming as Giannetta.

The choreography of Todd Bolender enlivened the slack moments colorfully, and Robert O'Hearn's sets and costumes still looked fresh as a daisy.

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