[Met Performance] CID:204440
L'Elisir d'Amore {97} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/12/1965.


Metropolitan Opera House
November 12, 1965

Donizetti-F. Romani

Adina...................Mirella Freni
Nemorino................Nicolai Gedda
Belcore.................Mario Sereni
Dr. Dulcamara...........Fernando Corena
Giannetta...............Joy Clements

Conductor...............Thomas Schippers

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

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

Review of Louis Biancolli in the World-Telegram

Donizetti's 'L'Elisir' a Joy

After four nights of operatic mayhem and malady. the Metropolitan was a house of
chuckles last night.

The reason was the return of Donizetti's sparkling and bubbling comic opera, 'L'Elisir d'amore." The enjoyment on stage and in the pit was such that it set off one large epidemic of joy.

Let's first give credit to Thomas Schippers for conducting a. performance that preserved the suave grace of Donizetti's melody and caught the effervescent quality of his comedy.

The production as a whole was of that caliber. Where Donizetti wrote in the great tradition of Bel Canto, the singers were first, last and always, artists; where there was latitude for fun, they were creatures of farce.

It is some time since I heard such merriment at the Met as accompanied the descent by balloon of Doctor Dulcamara. The fact that Fernando Corena was the potion-vending quack should give you some idea of the state of last night's audience.

I've heard Corena sing better. The tone seemed thick and foggy in places, and his throat tightened noticeably at least once. Possibly a slight cold. It really didn't matter. The man's mastery of buffo style was inimitable.

The darling of the evening - and by now the toast of New York - was little Mirella Freni. She sang and phrased like the angel she is. Being Italian and being Mirella Freni made her an irresistible Adina.

For a while, 1 was worried about the new charmer's low and middle range. The top tones soared like birds of all sizes and colors. But there was a thin, tissue-like fuzz down. Most of it dispersed later.

She is an adorable creature, however, wholly unselfconscious, and I welcome her with open arms and ears. I could sympathize with the badly smitten Nemorino last night. I, too, would have purchased Dulcamara's elixir.

The village pumpkin was beautifully sung by the gifted and handsome Nicolai Gedda. The only trouble was that in the pre-potion stage, Gedda was just too handsome to look the part of a Nudnick. How do you laugh at a prince?

What a master of Bel Canto he is! And only the morning before I heard him sublimely rehearsing Massenet's "Werther" in Robert Lawrence's concert version at Carnegie Hall, something I shall say more about next week.

It is a pleasure to add one last word of commendation for Mario Sereni, who has always struck me as a first-class artist and singer. His Sergeant Belcore was one more proof of the man's superiority.

Incidentally, somebody is always dancing at the Met these days. "L'Elisir" is no exception. I have no objection. Dance is a kind of silent music, as music is a kind of audible dance. Better that than a stage full of statues.

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