Small picture of Donizetti




 Donizetti's  The Elixir of Love

English National Opera, London, February/March 2010

Photographs by Tristram Kenton, courtesy of English National Opera


The Team

Adina - Sarah Tynan

Nemorino - John Tessier

Sergeant Belcore - David Kempster

Dr Dulcamara - Andrew Shore


Conductor: Pablo Heras-Casado

Director: Jonathan Miller

Designer: Isabella Bywater

Lighting Designer: Hans Åke Sjöquist

Translation: Kelley Rourke


Jonathan Miller's staging on Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore for English National Opera proved a public and critical success, even if not with same the impact as his Rigoletto of some years ago.  The setting was updated to a small town in the US in the 1950's in a production originally created for the Royal Swedish Opera and with scenery and costumes provided by New York City Opera.

Adina owns a diner and Nemorino is her mechanic. Dulcamara drives on in  his Cadillac and Belcore is an army Sergeant just passing through.   Rather neatly, Isabella Bywater's single set rotated so that the interior and two outer sides could be used for different scenes.   

Tim Ashley in The Guardian thought that "the shift works rather well, since it allows Miller to explore the work's dark undertow without forcing it", although some, such as Barry Millington in the London Evening Standard, wasn't sure that it threw much new light on the opera.  There was praise for Kelley Rourke's new translation from Anna Picard in The Independent on Sunday, but getting the singers to use an American accent did not really work. The singers were often praised, particularly the Dulcamara of Andrew Shore, but they were sometimes felt to be overwhelmed by the "vigourously bouncy" (Neil Fisher in The Times) orchestra in what is, in any case, not the most sympathetic of acoustics.

Both John Tessier and his understudy were unavailable on at least two nights, which led to Edgardas Montvidas being drafted in but singing in Italian (he sang in last year's Scottish Opera production).  In fact, the juxtaposition of Italian and English was used to advantage by Andrew Shore who sang in Italian when with Montvidas but in English otherwise and with the occasional English interjection by Montvidas that all added to the fun.





Nemorino and Dulcamara



Seargeant Belcore with Nemorino on the left



Getting ready for Adina's wedding to Belcore



Adina and Dulcamara



Adina, Nemorino and the chorus with Dulcamara about to drive off into the sunset




Page initially published in  2010