14 February 2015

L'Elisir D'Amore at Normansfield Theatre was delightful

A careful look at the poster will reveal that it is for a performance in 2013 but I could not find the one for this year online (I do have a paper copy of it) so this will have to do.

This was familiar territory in several ways. I had been to Normansfield Theatre a few times, had seen Villa in Canto there before and had seen the full opera at Glyndebourne. That was all good territory so it made perfect sense to combine all three in one evening.

The weather was kind this time and it was a pleasant and reasonably long walk there. I timed it to get to the theatre around 7pm, for a 7:30 start, and I was not far off. But I was still to late to get a close seat in the front row but there was a front row seat in the centre a little further from the stage and so I went for that. That proved to be a brilliant decision as the view was excellent especially after I moved my chair a little, which I was able to do as there was nobody behind me.

Having bagged my seat with my coat, as is the customer there, I went to the downstairs bar for a beer, as is my custom. As always, I justified this on the grounds that it was more money for the charity.

L'Elisir D'Amore was presented the way that I had seen them do opera before with a narrator taking us to certain scenes in the story and then moving to the piano to play the music for the singers who came on to play that scene.

This approach has a lot going for it,  there is no need to read a programme or sur titles during the performance, the boring bits can be skipped and what is left is the heart of both the story and the music.

L'Elisir D'Amore is a light opera that almost follows George Bernard Shaw's rule that opera is when a tenor and a soprano want to make love, but are prevented by a baritone. The slight difference in this case is that the soprano is initially reluctant and so the tenor tries the elixir of love in some desperation, while the baritone relies on his army uniform. In the end money solves the problem.

The semi-staging was very effective with the cast making full use of all of the space, including the seating area and the stage. They also roped some of the audience in at times, e.g. to hold on to a hat. All these little touches added to the fun of the evening.

Another thing that helped the evening on was the glass of Prosecco that I had in the interval.

But the thing that helped the evening the most was the music and the singing. All of the small cast were excellent and L'Elisir D'Amore was littered with good tunes.

This was yet another splendid evening of good music well presented at the Normansfield Theatre.

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