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Donizetti: l'Elisir d'Amore / Levine, Battle, Pavarotti, Dara

Donizetti / Battle / Pavarotti / Mooc / Levine
Release Date: 05/10/2005 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000405009  
Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Luciano PavarottiEnzo DaraJuan PonsKathleen Battle,   ... 
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera ChorusMetropolitan Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This wonderful performance, taken from the stage of the Met in 1992 (and probably with a fix-up session or two), is a grand remembrance of two great singers who have since collapsed in different ways. Pavarotti already was uncomfortably fat when this was taped, but neither his breath nor his physical movements had been badly affected--that happened a mere two or three years later. At 57, the voice was still beautiful and pliable, his phrasing exquisite. And he loved the role of Nemorino and always seemed happy with both its comedy and pathos--he steals every scene he's in, and no one minds. (The Met recorded another L'elisir with him in 1981, and he is marginally better in every way--and at least 75 pounds lighter and therefore more agile Read more on stage; but that performance is currently unavailable.)

Kathleen Battle sings Adina with perfect, pearl-like tone, absolute fluency and commitment, and a trill to die for. Just a few years later she imploded emotionally and was fired from the Met for "unprofessional actions ... profoundly detrimental to artistic collaboration." Oh well. Juan Pons is a suitably blustery Belcore, but he lacks the low notes for the part and smudges the few runs the role requires. Enzo Dara is an ideal Dulcamara, just the right combination of huckster and sentimentalist, with ease in every register and with fast music. Korliss Uecker's Gianetta is lovely, and the Met Orchestra and Chorus are terrific under James Levine's perky leadership.

The direction by John Copley is entertaining, with just a few too many cute dance steps for the soldiers, but an otherwise fine sense of comedy, and Beni Montresor's cotton-candy sets and costumes delight the eye in an unrealistic sort of way. The picture format is 4:3 and is bright and clear without being brilliant, the audio choices are PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1, and Dolby Digital 5.1, and subtitles are available in Italian, German, English, Spanish, French, and Chinese. Universal has released a L'elisir with Gheorghiu and Alagna that is terrific, but if it's Pavarotti and Battle you want--and why not?--this will please you immensely.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

L'Elisir d'Amore by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Enzo Dara (Baritone), Juan Pons (Baritone),
Kathleen Battle (Soprano), Korliss Uecker (Soprano)
Conductor:  James Levine
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1991 
Venue:  Metropolitan Opera House, New York 
Language: Italian 

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