The night was not my prime purpose coming to Vienna – as the flight departs in the afternoon, and I already had some issue with sudden delays and almost missed performance, this time I decided to take precautions and go on the previous day, which luckily coincided with short working day before our Independence day celebration. According to the opera house schedule, it seems that there are only two performances of L’elisir with this particular cast planned – and it made choice quite easy, as seeing Vittorio Grigolo in one of his signature roles will be fun for sure. In addition, there is also Erwin Schrott as Dulcamara, so it promised to be a night to enjoy Donizetti!
My seat happened to be very close to the stage on 1st rang, and it may have influenced my perception of the orchestral performance and overall balance of the ensemble. Also, the viewpoint was partially obstructed by the ledge, but as the set and production itself have been seen on Livestream before, it was not critical.
The production and scenography are traditional, the set stays the same for both acts. The set shows signs of tiredness, while energy and enthusiasm of the cast provide it with liveliness.
In the beginning, I was a bit concerned as Adina (Andrea Carroll) was covered by the orchestra and her voice was completely lost when chorus joined. Gradually, seems she warmed up and sounded very good in the second part of the performance. It was a pleasure to discover that she has nice, clear lyrical soprano, and her top notes are crystalline clear and ringing without any unpleasant metallic overtone.
It was also role debut for Nemorino – Vittorio Grigolo has performed Rodolfo in Vienna a few years ago. After his success in London and New York as Nemorino, I believe he had to be very confident about his capability from the first note, while his intro was a bit tame, full force was switched on quite quickly.
Even if I like Grigolo’s voice, some of his mannerism on stage makes me frown, especially when raising on his toes taking high note, or overexerting in rolling eyes, – a little acting coaching might help here. Nevertheless, his full devotion to the role and character deserves high praise, – loved how he has grown over time both vocally (a lot of well-thought piani instead of full force) and dramatically.
Another joy of the night was Erwin Schrott as Dulcamara – have not seen him in a while, and was happy to see that his voice has kept that special rounded sound in the lower register and his acting just grown into a natural comedian. If some criticism needs to be added, then only some unalignment between his Dulcmara and the orchestra pit, – at times the impression was that he as not been present at any rehearsals, or, alternatively, Guillermo García Calvo suddenly decided to change the tempi and kept doing so just for Schrott. Nevertheless, his acting as always, was superb, to overcome ven such mishaps.
Orhan Yildiz as Belcore delivered sound and engaging performance, would be interested to see him more in other performances.
In overall, quite a nice evening in anticipation of the night to follow, regardless of tiring day and travel hassle. Vienna as always before Christmas is beautiful and welcoming and tempting to come back very soon again.
Conductor Guillermo García Calvo
Produced by Otto Schenk
Set and costume design by Jürgen Rose
Adina Andrea Carroll
Nemorino Vittorio Grigolo
Belcore Orhan Yildiz
Doktor Dulcamara Erwin Schrott