* Notes *
The new production of L'elisir d'amore at San Francisco Opera is quite winning. Adapted from a co-production with Opera Colorado, Boston Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre and Fort Worth Opera, here the setting was moved to a small town in the Napa Valley during World War I. James Robinson's direction was strong, and all of the acting was convincing and even funny. The set, from Allen Moyer, is simple without being stark, and has no large moving parts. Perhaps a change of scenery between acts would have been nice, but nonetheless, the gazebo used is versitile enough for all the scenes. Martin Pakledinaz used a pastel palette for the costumes, for the most part they were lovely, though the print of Adina's second costume did not read well from afar. Paul Palazzo's lighting was unobstrusive, there might have been one mishap as far as the lights, just as Giannetta and the female chorus come onstage for Act II Scene 4, the transition from a full lights to something more dim was not smooth.
Bruno Campanella took the overture a bit sluggishly, and though orchestra sounded in tune and together with each other, they were somewhat slow. The chorus did a splendid job, as usual. As for the soloists, they fit their roles well. Ji Young Yang (Giannetta) sang effortlessly, and was especially good in Act II. Alessandro Corbelli was a hilarious Dulcamara, his parlando is crisp, though he was a bit faster than the orchestra a few times. Giorgio Caoduro was likewise very good at the physical humor required for this opera, his Belcore was suitably full of himself. Caoduro's voice is pleasant and somewhat husky. Inva Mula's debut was impressive, her voice has good volume and can be quite beautiful. She does have moments of shrillness, at times her control is not completely perfect. Her Adina played off of Ramón Vargas' Nemorino very well, both moved well. Vargas sounded absolutely lovely, his "Una furtiva lagrima" was gorgeous.
* Tattling *
The audience was somewhat sparse and there were very few late-comers. Some whispering was noted in Act I, but the beginning of Act II was worse, at least for me, as a rather uncouth couple sat near where I was standing in Row ZZ. Not only did they talk during the music, the female half of the couple opened her phone and read a text message. At least they were silent when hushed.