The Elixir of Love
by Gaetano Donizetti
with a new English libretto and stage direction by Tom Boyd
Orchestra conducted by William Bell
BINGHAM HALL, CIRENCESTER 27, 28 February - PLAYHOUSE, CHELTENHAM 4,5,7 & 8 March
CLICK ABOVE to watch SGT. BELCORE choose the fairest (Come paride) - - - CLICK ABOVE to hear ADINA tell the legend of Tristan and Isolde, ACT I
cast provides a potent mix...Tom Boyd's production works a
treat... twice as witty as Gilbert and Sullivan...should
have you chuckling all the way home...William Bell handles
the musical side with his customary panache and the singing
is superb..." GLOUCESTERSHIRE
ECHO, 3 March 2003 "Super
singing...William Bell conducts a lively account of
Donizettis sparkling, tuneful score. Tom Boyds
libretto fits the music like a glove... a very entertaining
TIMES , 7 March 2003 "Yet
another sumptuous Bel Canto production ... a vintage of the
highest quality... Tom Boyds lyrics (are) witty and
inventive. Elixir was, in several peoples
opinion, the best Bel Canto production yet...(and) this is
WILTS. & GLOUCESTERSHIRE STANDARD , 1 March 2003
here to read full reviews)
"Strong cast provides a potent mix...Tom Boyd's production works a treat... twice as witty as Gilbert and Sullivan...should have you chuckling all the way home...William Bell handles the musical side with his customary panache and the singing is superb..." GLOUCESTERSHIRE ECHO, 3 March 2003
"Super singing...William Bell conducts a lively account of Donizettis sparkling, tuneful score. Tom Boyds libretto fits the music like a glove... a very entertaining production" OXFORD TIMES , 7 March 2003
"Yet another sumptuous Bel Canto production ... a vintage of the highest quality... Tom Boyds lyrics (are) witty and inventive. Elixir was, in several peoples opinion, the best Bel Canto production yet...(and) this is some compliment. WILTS. & GLOUCESTERSHIRE STANDARD , 1 March 2003 (click here to read full reviews)
Adina - Amanda Boyd Bailey
Nemorino - Philip OBrien
Doctor Dulcamara - Stephen Wells
Sergeant Belcore - Paul Sheehan
Giannetta - Susan Black
Gelsomina - Pippa Meekings
CLICK ABOVE to hear Nemorino's opening aria "What a beauty!" (Quanto è bella) xxand to watch Dr Dulcamara and Adina sing "Barcarolle for two voices" x
CLICK ABOVE to watch Sgt. Belcore enlist Nemorino in the army, and Adina's discovery of the reason for it from Dr Dulcamara
TOM BOYD'S new ELIXIR OF LOVE libretto available from BEL CANTO OPERA for £5.00 ($10.00 US) + P & P
TOM BOYD'S version of The Elixir of Love was produced by STANLEY OPERA at the Hinckley Concordia Theatre from 9 - 12 April, 2008
SCENES FROM THE BEL CANTO OPERA PRODUCTION
bel giorno, Signorina, all the worlds at Bar Adina
when the spring is in the air, and the blood begins to surge
with that old primeval urge ADINA: Youre
a nice honest young man, Nemorino, but you have zabaione for
brains. Youve got the wrong sow by the ear. Im
not the girl for you. Sgt. BELCORE:
For me, making love and drinking are lifes
overriding pleasures. I take them in equal measures - no
bounds to what Id consume ADINA: I wish
that Nemorino was here to grieve in gloom. CLICK
HERE to see and hear the saucy party-piece duet by Dr
Dulcamara and Adina at the wedding
(Barcarolle for two voices) All
photographs by Roger Phillips http://www.rogerphillipsphotos.com
BELCORE: Like the tale of handsome Paris, whose happy
duty was to judge beauty, Ill not fail to choose
the fairest and award her this sumptuous bouquet. Paris
only gave an apple, (you can buy six for a lira), but
these flowers were considerably dearer, which reflects my
generous side, and shows how Id provide for a
DULCAMARA: I have here testimonials in praise of what
Ive done. Heres one from a Bavarian, a male
octogenarian, who bought my primal water, then sired a
baby daughter by Charlotte, whos a starlet, and has
just turned twenty-one! And since then he has sired
another daughter and a son! The water that hes
taken is certain to awaken the slumbering libido of old
men in search of fun!
DULCAMARA: Then be off, you lucky fellow, by tomorrow
youll feel mellow - but the most important bonus is
what else the drink will do: from the country or the
city, every girl whos young and pretty will
perceive you as Adonis and will throw themselves at
Dear Sergeant, youre so gallant - your tactics so
persuasive. Sgt. BELCORE: My quarry has a talent
to stall and be evasive. ADINA: But if youre
perservering, youll subjugate your prey. Sgt.
BELCORE: Ah, what you say is cheering. ADINA:
March on, and you will win the day!
BELCORE: If you go near her tomorrow morning, I hate
to comtemplate what Id do! So sling your hook, boy!
This is a warning: if you were sober, Id murder
& GUESTS: Lets drink to all those gathered here
in such congeniality - Heres to your hospitality!
God bless the bride and groom!
It must remain a secret - keep it under wraps! Now
Nemorinos rich as Croesus...he may be seeking a
wife, perhaps! But its a secret...dont spread
Who can testify better than I that the Elixir of Love
is guaranteed 100 percent effective!
VILLAGERS: Che bel giorno, Signorina, all the worlds at Bar Adina when the spring is in the air, and the blood begins to surge with that old primeval urge
ADINA: Youre a nice honest young man, Nemorino, but you have zabaione for brains. Youve got the wrong sow by the ear. Im not the girl for you.
Sgt. BELCORE: For me, making love and drinking are lifes overriding pleasures. I take them in equal measures - no bounds to what Id consume
ADINA: I wish that Nemorino was here to grieve in gloom.
CLICK HERE to see and hear the saucy party-piece duet by Dr Dulcamara and Adina at the wedding banquet (Barcarolle for two voices)
All photographs by Roger Phillips http://www.rogerphillipsphotos.com
CLICK ABOVE to see and hear Giannetta' s gossip with the ladies xxxxxxxx CLICK ABOVE to hear Dr Dulcamara's sales pitch
THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE ECHO - 3 March, 2003
Strong cast provides a potent mix
What is a chap to do when the object of his affection spurns his advances? Nemorino, the unlikely hero of Donizettis comic masterpiece, is desperate until he meets a smooth-talking quack doctor ready to exploit every situation to his advantage.
In his top hat and fancy waistcoat, Stephen Wells is a larger than life conman ably supported by Pippa Meekings as his oddball assistant, Gelsomina. Philip OBrien as the endearingly effete Nemorino melted everyones heart with his singing of A Furtive Tear. His rival, Sergeant Belcore, played by Paul Sheehan, proves less endearing. Not content with stealing Nemorinos sweetheart, he also enlists him into the army for a pittance. Amanda Boyd Bailey tops the strong cast of principals with her portrayal of the coquettish heroine Adina, who eventually discovers that Nemorinos feelings for her are completely sincere.
Set near Trieste on the eve of World War One, Tom Boyds production works a treat. William Bell handles the musical side with his customary panache and the singing is superb.
Twice as witty as Gilbert and Sullivan and with an endless flow of ear-catching tunes, this Elixir may not work wonders for your love life, but should have you chuckling all the way home. This sparkling production of Donizettis romantic comedy by Cotswold-based Bel Canto Opera is directed by Tom Boyd and the orchestra is conducted by musical director William Bell.
THE OXFORD TIMES - 7 March, 2003
"For ladies of certain age", sings Dr Dulcamara seductively, "with bottoms growing bigger, this potion made from thyme and sage, restores your girlish figure." But for waiter Nemorino, its a case of trying to land a girl in the first place. Dulcamara has just the thing - the elixir of love: "Its just plonk! Cheap Lambrusco!" the good doctor reveals in an aside to the audience. Unnecessary explanation - we had already seen the special elixir label being hastily slapped on to a wine bottle.
This delightful detail is typical of Bel Cantos production. Bel Canto was founded in 1989 by William Bell, who is still very much around: here he conducts a lively account of Donizettis sparkling, tuneful score. The company has another major asset too: Tom Boyd, who not only acts as stage director, but also provides a new English translation for each opera. His Elixir libretto fits the music like a glove.
And what an effect that Lambrusco has had. Poor Nemorino - he begins the evening nervously twisting his waiters order pad, but now he radiates confidence: "Hour by hour, shell love me more". Philip OBriens acting skills make sure that we genuinely feel for Nemorino, and dont just dismiss him as a gullible loser. Vocally, he sounds under a spot of strain at the top of voice, but maybe thats stress, caused by the effort necessary to woo Amanda Boyd Baileys Adina - shes as cool as a cucumber one minute, wickedly teasing the next. This is a beautifully controlled and sung performance. Booming clean over Adinas head is Paul Sheehans splendidly bone-headed Sergeant Belcore. No doubt about it, the way to attract a girl is to begin by addressing her like a raw recruit on the parade ground, this Belcore has plainly decided. And as for Dr Dulcamara, Stephen Wells presents him most convincingly as a thoroughly slippery eel.
I saw Elixir in the charming Edwardian surroundings of the Bingham Hall, Cirencester - appropriate too, for the colourful set and costumes place the opera just before 1914. The Bingham has a lively accoustic, however, and the spirited chorus could have done with spitting out their consonents a little more rigorously on opening night. But this was a blip in a very entertaining production.
THE WILTS & GLOUCESTERSHIRE STANDARD - 1 March 2003
Love story will leave you feeling good
The Elixir of Love is a comedy that actually makes people laugh. The plot centres around the apparently hopeless love of Nemorino, a wimpish and guileless servant, for his haughty and flirtatious employer, Adina. When Adina decides to bestow her favours on the womanising Sergeant Belcore, Nemorino is mortified. He finds unlikely succour in a 'love potion' provided by the travelling charlatan, Dr Dulcamara. The potion is, in fact, the Italian plonk, Lambrusco, but it seems to Nemorino that it has enabled him to win Adina's heart. So all ends happily. The lovers look forward to marital bliss, Belcore goes off to look for other women, Duncamara goes off to look for other fools and the audience goes off with a large dose of 'the feel good factor'.
But the feel good factor was also produced by yet another sumptuous Bel Canto production as the company turned this alleged Lambrusco of the operatic world into a vintage of the highest quality. As with all recent Bel Canto productions, four professionals were drafted in to play the principals who are carefully delineated and revolve round the moral centre point of effete goodness that is Nemorino - Adina the flighty and faithless female, Belcore the womanising sergeant and Dulcamara, the duplicitous, self-seeking charlatan. The singers, who are all on the threshold of their careers, realised the comic tensions in the relationships with great skill and conviction.
Amanda Boyd Bailey as Adina was spellbinding. Her beautiful clear soprano voice and commanding stage presence underlined the impression made during her Bel Canto debut as Martha in 2002. Stephen Wells, who also made a triumphant debut in Martha, was superb as Dr Dulcamara, his acting talents complementing his rich baritone as it effortlessly - and audibly - delivered Tom Boyd's lyrics. The naïve and inadequate Nemorino was played by Philip O'Brien, though there was nothing inadequate about his performance. His beautiful tenor harmonised perfectly with Miss Boyd Bailey and his rendering of the opera's best known aria, A Furtive Tear, was the highlight of a production that was full of highlights. Paul Sheehan as Belcore provided another counterpoint to Nemorino, his powerful voice and expansive presence dominating whenever he was on stage, and Pippa Meekings made a lithe and convincing sorcerer's apprentice. Special mention must go to Sue Black who has moved from lead roles to supporting roles, to choral roles to backstage roles. From scene stealer to scene shifter, Sue is a real team player.
The choral work was as ever melodic, the choreography lively and imaginative, the set colourful and Tom Boyd's lyrics witty and inventive. Under Tom's stage direction and William Bell's musical direction, Elixir was, in several people's opinion, the best Bel Canto production yet. As I maintained after several of their recent productions that they would find it difficult to get any better, this is some compliment.