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Elisir d’Amore/Glyndebourne

Although not a massive cricket lover I was caught up in the national fervour of the Ashes.

We followed on the radio TMS driving to Glyndebourne and on arrival I found a quiet bench and listened to the drama on my portable radio.

Fortunately England got the job done some 20 minutes before the curtain went up on Gaetano Donizetti’s  light opera.

Donizetti wrote some 700 operas – perhaps because you only received one payment for each. In an age of no copyright many operas were taken from well-known literary works – in this case Philtre by Scribe.

The story is simple: Nemonino, a peasant, falls for the more intelligent Adena – first seen reading Tristram and Isolde.

In order to claim her he utilises a magic potion acquired from the preposterous charlatan Dolcemara.  Nemomino is thwarted by the Soldier Sergeant Belcore who proposes to Adnea on the spot and is accepted.

Disappointed by Nemomino’s indifference, she postpones the wedding and – after Nemomino inherits a large inheritance -agrees to marry him.

It’s a tuneful melodious opera, only lasting two hours, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Adena was played by Narcis Williams, a black soprano.

She certainly had the looks as well as a graceful figure but I thought her voice lacked richness.

Dolcemara was well played by Girolami – illustrating how much acting has improved in opera.

Glyndebourne attracts a traditional middle class audience – not unlike those who patronise Wimbledon – but do not necessarily follow tennis globally.

Recently a certain unwelcome wokeishness had intruded in the productions.

Dress code of white tuxedo is observed, although a younger generation is more casual. The gardens are glorious and a picnic is the best way to enjoy them.

At £245 a ticket it’s not a cheap experience but it is a memorable one.

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About Michael Stuart

After university, Michael spent twelve years working for MELODY MAKER before going freelance. He claims to keep doing it because it is all he knows. More Posts