Friday, April 19, 2013

Preview: There's something about the opening of Act II of Donizetti's "Elixir of Love"

Leo Nucci (Sgt. Belcore), Ildebrando d'Arcangelo (Dr. Dulcamara), Inna Los (Giannetta), and Anna Netrebko (Adina) in the opening of Act II of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore, conducted by Alfred Eschwé and directed by Otto Schenk, at the Vienna State Opera, April 2005 (we have Italian-English texts below)

by Ken

Donizetti's magical Elixir of Love would be amply worth our attention even if it didn't contain one of the most memorable of tenor arias. We already heard a bunch of fine performances of "Una furtiva lagrima in the December 2011 post "The old minor-to-major switcheroo as practiced by Schubert, Mahler, and Donizetti" (and the preview), but there's a reason why I'm adding this performance.

DONIZETTI: L'Elisir d'amore: Act II, Aria, Nemorino,
"Una furtiva lagrima" ("A furtive tear")

A furtive tear
welled up in her eye.
Those carefree girls
she seemed to envy.
Why should I look any further?
She loves me, yes, she loves me.
I can see it, I can see it.

To feel for just one moment
the beating of her dear heart!
To blend my sighs
for a little with hers!
Heavens, I could die;
I ask for nothing more.
I could die of love.
-- English translation by Kenneth Chalmers

Nicolai Gedda (t), Nemorino; Rome Opera Orchestra, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, cond. EMI, recorded August 1966

L'Elisir would also be more than worth our time even if it didn't have this particular Act II opening, which we're going to hear as performed in the same recording of the opera.

Act II opening, Chorus, "Cantiamo, cantiam"("Let's sing, let's sing"); Duo, Dulcamara-Adina, "Io son rico, tu sei bella" ("I'm rich, you're beautiful")

Mario Sereni (b), Sgt. Belcore; Renato Capecchi (b), Dr. Dulcamara; Angela Arena (s), Giannetta; Mirella Freni (s), Adina; Rome Opera Orchestra, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, cond. EMI, recorded August 1966


And I'll try to explain in this week's Sunday Classics post.

[Wrong! In fact, the subject wasn't resumed until a "re-preview" the following week, "Enter Donizetti's phony-elixir-seller, Dr. Dulcamara."]

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