Gaetano Donizetti - L'Elisir D'Amore (2005) [DVD9 NTSC]
Video: 4:3 NTSC
Audio: PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: Italian(original language), English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese
# Actors: Luciano Pavarotti, Kathleen Battle, Juan Pons, Enzo Dara, James Levine
# Directors: John Copley
# Number of discs: 1
# Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
# DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) is an opera by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. It is a melodramma giocoso in two acts. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto, after Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel-François-Esprit Auber's Le philtre (1831).
L'elisir d'amore is one of the most frequently performed of all Donizetti's operas, and there are a number of recordings. It appears as number 20 on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America. It contains the popular aria "Una furtiva lagrima," one of the most famous and often-excerpted arias in all of opera.
It would be hard to imagine a better performance of Donizetti's comic masterpiece. If there was one role that ideally suited Luciano Pavarotti's voice and stage personality, it was Nemorino, the impoverished and not-very-bright peasant who worships the village's prettiest and richest young woman from a distance, is swindled by a traveling vendor of "miracle" medicines, but wins her hand by dumb luck. The story has comedy, pathos, and a put-down of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (or at least the Tristan story) written long before Wagner composed it.
Kathleen Battle is not only a wonderful singer and convincing actress; as Adina, she is pretty enough to make Nemorino's infatuation totally credible. Juan Pons struts convincingly as Belcore, Nemorino's self-important rival, and Enzo Dara is properly spectacular as Dr. Dulcamara, who sells Nemorino the magic potion guaranteed to improve his love life, or at least to get him drunk. The melodies in this opera include some of the best ever written, and James Levine, his extraordinary orchestra, and his wonderful chorus know exactly what to do with them. Everything comes together in this production to make it one of the best opera DVDs available. --Joe McLellan