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Subject: Charmless Elisir
From: Charles Handelman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Charles Handelman <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 16 Aug 1998 14:31:19 -0400
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     I have had the Lyon Elisir for awhile and saw it once,but forgot a
lot,so wanted to give it another try. I feel the same now as i seemed to
recall I did at first..it is CHARMLESS for the most part,and i blame
Signore Alagna for that. I love his Romeo and his Don carlo but he just
does not have the ability to exude the kind of genuine charm and "lilt"
that is so essential in this delicious role.The "rollypollies" like
Bergonzi and Luciano do so much more....Alagna also has that kind of
"sharpness of tone" that does not work well in this music;for
example,phrases like "De miei sospiri non si stanchi" in the duet with
Adina in act one or the AWFUL alternate version of the Una Furtiva,taken at
almost double-time tempo,for for nothing. He looks adorable,but he does not
seem to be able to make the role "work" so as to make us chuckle and feel
he is lovable and sympathetic. I really find him totally dullsville in this
opera.
 Madame Gheorghiu's voice blooms at the top;otherwise it is decent but
nothing special,and she also does not penetrate the charming character of
Adina;she should listen to Bidu Sayao for some lessons in how to get more
out of the charm of the role.
  Alaimo sings the best Dulcamara around;I was quite taken by his ability
to take the fast patter sections so cleanly,especially since the conductor
really took those sections at a very brisk tempo.As a former Dulcamara,I
know how hard it is..but he still might be a bit funnier.(See under Corena)
  I loved Scaltriti above all the others;he does tend to sing out the side
of his mouth,but as long as it comes out,I am impressed.He is a tall dude
with a superb gift for the stage and i think he should go far.
   I did not find the invention of "Madame Dulcamara" especially funny,with
that marjorie main character. This is my favorite comic work,and I waited
very long to laugh..until Alagna took a curtain call on a bicycle..Now,THAT
was cute!
  Over all,not very special.The Alagnas are a talented pair,but not in
comic opera so it seems.They are better off as tragic lovers and maybe they
need to watch a bit more of the Honeymooners.      as ever Charlie

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