BWW Reviews: ALO Introduced Austin to Up-And-Coming Opera Stars with ELIXIR OF LOVE
Rounding out the cast are Kelly Markgraf, Sara Gartland, and Rene Barbera, all of whom make their Austin Lyric Opera debut with this production. Markgraf is sensationally funny as Sergeant Belcore. His booming baritone voice will give you goosebumps, but the physicality of his performance is even more memorable. Tall and handsome, Markgraf has the look of a soldier who is not only cocky enough to propose to Adina upon their first meeting but arrogant enough to expect an immediate answer. Having his men follow him around with mirrors and breath sprays also allows Markgraff several opportunities to show off his comedic gifts.
And then there are Gartland and Barbera. I could write all of my thoughts on how sensational they are, but that would take several days, and sadly the production will close before I'd be able to finish. So I'll say this. Gartland and Barbera are stars. You just don't know about them yet. The beautiful Gartland is a joy to watch as Adina. There's a power and intensity behind her soprano voice at times and a gentility to it at others. Her versatility as a performer extends to her acting abilities. Her Adina is playful, independent, and sometimes wilful, but always believable. And as Nemorino, Barbera is a revelation. The thirty year old performer makes everything look so easy, and his voice is so electric that I was surprised that his aria "Una furtiva lagrima" did not receive a standing ovation at the performance I attended. Barbera gives the role his all. Whether the moment calls for him to be a lovesick puppy or a joyous drunk, every choice Barbera makes is perfect.
Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one 15 minute intermission.
THE ELIXIR OF LOVE, produced by Austin Lyric Opera, plays The Long Center for the Performing Arts at 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin, 78704 now thru Sunday, May 4th. Performances are Saturday, May 3rd at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 4th at 3pm. Tickets are $24-$200. For tickets and information, please visit www.austinlyricopera.org