Friday, 28 March 2008
DVD: Enjoyable L´Elisir d´Amore with Netrebko/Villazon from Vienna
L´Elisir d´Amore. Vienna State Opera 2005. Production: Otto Schenk. Cast: Rolando Villazón (Nemorino), Anna Netrebko (Adina), Ildebrando d´Arcangelo (Dulcamara), Leo Nucci (Belcore). Conductor: Alfred Eschwé. Further information here.
And the story of how a shy country boy (Villazón) gains the necessary confidence to win his beloved (Netrebko) after having purchased a (fake, obviously) love potion from a con-man (d´Arcangelo) is actually quite well-suited to be put on stage, even today - funny and touching, but avoiding the ridiculous.
The main selling point of this DVD obviously is Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón. And, though nobody may live up to the hype surrounding these two, they show in this DVD that all this hype indeed does not come out of nothing, both convincing with a high-quality performances vocally as well as dramatically.
First, Nemorino is an ideal role for Rolando Villazón in every way. He simply is that clumsy, shy and naive village boy, believing that a fake love potion will get him his Adina. 5 minutes applause after his big aria Nella Furtiva Lacrima even resulted in an encore. And justly so, the lyrical part bringing out maximal expressivity in his voice, without pushing it to the limit. Though his acting does in some ways remind of Mr. Bean, he genuinely seems to be in his right element here. So does Anna Netrebko with her lofty, though warm Adina.
Also Ildebrando d´Arcangelo (as the potion-seller Dulcamara) and Leo Nucci (as Nemorino´s rival Belcore) are very convincing, although they probably would have been even more convincing had they switched roles, leaving the younger, and quite handsome d´Arcangelo to play Villazon´s rival.
Do not expect this DVD to profoundly change your life or to provide new insights into the remotest corners of the human mind. But do expect to be splendidly entertained for two hours.
Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón:
The bottom line (scale of 1-5,3=average):
Anna Netrebko: 5
Rolando Villazón: 5
Ildebrando d´Arcangelo: 5
Leo Nucci: 4-5
Schenks staging: 4
Overall impression: 5