BWW Review: Taking an ELIXIR OF LOVE with Orlando Philharmonic
Just in time for the dreaded Valentine's Day is Orlando Philharmonic's Opera program ELIXIR OF LOVE. This was my first trip to see Orlando Philharmonic. I was not disappointed and glad I found this local gem.
ELIXIR OF LOVE is an operatic rom-com that tells a pretty basic story of a man, Nemorino, who decides to purchase a love potion to woo the beautiful Adina. Adina doesn't give Nemorino the time of day and chooses to marry the handsome Belcore. A magic elixir sold by con man Dr. Dulcamara is said to make Nemorino desirable, but of course it is only wine. The opera titled L'elisir d'amore in Italian is performed in two acts and fairly easy to follow.
Billy Davenport as Nemorino is nerdy lovable. This tenor voice turns heads the moment he begins to sing. Aside from being an overly gullible peasant, I do not see why the town dislikes Nemorino. But then again, it's opera and high drama reigns supreme. All baritones make me swoon. Tobias Greenhalgh as Belcore is arrogant, suave and reminded me a lot of Beauty and the Beast's Gaston. Greenhalgh's voice is definitely swoon worthy. Though different characters both Davenport and Greenhalgh fit their roles well.
Opposite these men was Ariadne Greif as the sassy Adina. Greif's voice soars and trills though arias. She tells the story through all of her body language. In fact all of the lead performers fit their roles well. I love the trios and full company numbers because they showcased the talent of interpreting story despite the complex rhythms.
Don't expect much in terms of costumes or sets. At one point there were word props on stage; however, the stage is set too low to see. I suspect that a new home will give the Orlando Philharmonic the home that it deserves. Orlando Philharmonic's opera series is currently based out of The Plaza Live, it will move to the Dr. Phillips Centers' Steinmetz Hall in 2020 or when it is complete. The Plaza Live is a nice space and the acoustics are not terrible, but it still has a grungy feel to it that doesn't quite fit the pomp that the Orlando Philharmonic deserves.
Conducted by Eric Jacobsen, ELIXIR OF LOVE is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Reading the text, which hangs above the stage, comes second nature quickly. The last show is February 5th. For tickets and more information visit www.orlandophil.org.
Correction: ELIXIR OF LOVE was the last official opera from the Orlando Philharmonic. Opera Orlando provided the chorus for the production. For the 2017/2018 season, Opera Orlando will produce all staged productions moving forward.
Photo credit: Orlando Philharmonic