Merola Opera Program's Elixir (Thursday)
Merola Opera Program's Elixir (Saturday)

Merola Opera Program's Elixir (Friday)

Valentina Fleer as Adina, with Janai Orman, Colleen Brooks, & Renée Rapier; photo by Kristen Loken * Notes *
The second performance of the Merola Opera Program's L'elisir d'Amore was last night, with different leads. The orchestra still was not precisely together, but again the space in Cowell is challenging. The chorus looked like they were having fun.

It certainly was fascinating to watch the same choreography on different bodies, the characterizations were rather different. Abigail Santos Villalobos was a saucy Giannetta, her volume was good, and her voice is very pretty. Sidney Outlaw's Dulcamara was amusing, his eyebrows are expressive and read well from a considerable distance. Ao Li was a scamp as Belcore, and his voice has a lovely richness to it.

Unfortunately, our Nemorino, Alexander Lewis, was ill. He coughed a few times in Act I, and clearly was trying his best to keep it together. His voice does have a lovely warmth, and his acting is strong. Lewis did not make it through Act II and Daniel Montenegro took over after a brief announcement from Mark Morash. Valentina Fleer sang Adina with a pure, clean tone. Her "Prendi, per me sei libero" was keen and effective.

Though the production is cute and fun, the concept behind it is baffling. If the characters are supposed to be rehearsing a play called "Elixir," why should Nemorino want a love potion from Dulcamara in real life? Nemorino might be simple, but this does not seem well-motivated or sensible.

* Tattling *
The audience was, for the most, part quiet and attentive. I was seated in the last row of the front section, and was pleased to not have to remove my hat. The person in H 2 brought his son who did not look older than 7 or 8. The child had his ear-buds in for most of the performance, and occasionally covered his ears so that he could better play the video game he had on a small portable device. More distracting was the rather loud hearing aid that emitted high-pitches all evening long.