Since its first showing in 2007, Annabel Arden’s staging of Donizetti’s heart-warming romcom L’Elisir d’Amore (The Love Potion) has become a welcome fixture in the Glyndebourne repertoire.
Once again, it sends audiences home with a smile on their faces – though some of them may well have shed a tear, too, at the pathos of ordinary guy Nemorino’s hopeless falling for upmarket Adina, whose rejection of him eventually turns into acceptance as it dawns on her that he is, after all, quite the nicest young man in the village.
Arden has balanced the piece’s opposing elements astutely, while the individual characterisations are well-nigh faultless, founded, as they must be, on secure and vital vocalism.
Benedetta Torre’s Adina maintains some acerbity until her belated realisation that she loves Sehoon Moon’s ideally acted, sensitively sung Nemorino, his last-act aria Una Furtiva Lagrima an absolute winner.
Matthew Durkan is the bumptious solider Belcore, who places too much reliance on his manly charms before getting his comeuppance. Misha Kiria milks the huge possibilities of snake-oil salesman Dr Dulcamara in the classic manner – brilliantly aided and abetted by Maxime Nourissat as his silent but highly visible assistant.
Whether local villagers or soldiers, the chorus members tune their individual performances perfectly while being musically on the ball (Aidan Oliver is the company’s chorus director). The orchestra is neat and nifty.
Altogether good news is Glyndebourne on Tour’s principal conductor Ben Glassberg, commencing his tenure with this show. The result is unfailingly lively, with a particular sensitivity to light and shade within Donizetti’s effortlessly charming score.