THERE can be few nights out more life affirming than a trip to see this wonderful opera.
Call it ‘Love Drug – the Musical’ and sing it in English and it would be packing out the West End for months on end for this comic creation by Italian maestro Gaetano Donizetti is a two hour lesson in musical perfection.
First performed to a rapturous welcome 177 years ago, this version by the Welsh National Opera fast forwards the action to a 1950s Italian Riviera of flowing skirts, shades and head scarfs in a revival of their hit production of four years ago.
Navy captain Belcore (Simon Thorpe) rolls up on his Lambretta, his bouquet for the lovely Adina (Camilla Roberts) cunningly concealed in his scooter’s rear cowling.
And indeed this production puts more emphasis on the comic touches, forcing a wonderful cast to act as much as sing.
Neal Davies in particular turned Dulcamara into a brilliantly funny showman while Roberts never missed a note despite at one stage taking a slip on the stairs.
However it was the performance of Irishman Robin Tritschler, a last minute stand in for Wynne Davies’s Nemorino, that really stood out.
Despite at times being underpowered, he absolutely nailed the remonza ‘Una furtive lagrima’ and justifiably brought the house down at curtain call.
Donizetti’s score is a joy to hear and the Orchestra of the WNO, under the baton of Rory MacDonald, were in top form too making this a truly joyful occasion.