Opera Scotland

Elisir d'amore 1984Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Elixir of Love

Scottish Opera's 1983/84 season at the Theatre Royal opened with a new Death in Venice, followed before Christmas by Idomeneo (also new), and revivals of The Golden Cockerel and Hansel and Gretel. In the New Year, the season continued with revivals of L'elisir d'amore, La bohème and L'Egisto, before a final new production, Turandot, opened. There was also a short tour of the medium-scale theatres with a double bill of early one-act farces by Rossini, The Marriage Contract and The Silken Ladder. The autumn saw a further handful of performances of the recent Jonathan Miller Magic Flute, while the second half of December featured a two-week run of a musical, My Fair Lady.

Graham Vick first directed The Elixir of Love as an early part of the Opera-Go-Round programme in 1978. The small and medium scale performances had been very successful in what was at the time an unusual updating. It took five years for the concept to reach the Theatre Royal stage, by which time it had expanded significantly, and was sung in Italian. The centre of attention was undoubtedly Dulcamara's transport, a wonderful post-war Topolino saloon car, supplied for the occasion by Fiat. For the festivities in the second act, its headlamps combined with the strings of lights, powered apparently from its battery, and with the lively onstage village band, to create a superbly cheerful Italianate atmosphere.

This staging featured Bill McCue in fine form, as a black-marketeering Dulcamara, with young Una Buchanan leading the chorus. The three guests were all favourites making welcome returns to the company. Brent Ellis had made a great impression as Rigoletto and Ashton, and it was good to see him in a comedy. Likewise with Ashley Putnam - the Lucia from 1981 had a lovely light touch as Adina. Best of all was Ryland Davies, one of the most distinguished actors among the lyric tenors of his generation. Nemorino was a role he had sung at the start of his career, in the first ever Glyndebourne Tour of 1967. However since then, apart from a run at Covent Garden a decade later, it had not featured much in his career. He was an absolute natural in the part, with a beautifully lyrical delivery, touchingly acted, and with no exaggeration in the drunken scenes. The conductor was the company's Chorus Director, Ian Robertson, who was soon to move away - he spent most of his career in a similar role at the San Francisco Opera.

Performance Cast

Nemorino a young peasant

Ryland Davies (Exc May 3, 18)

Gordon Christie (May 3, 18)

Adina a wealthy farm owner

Ashley Putnam (Jan; Feb 3)

Rosa Mannion (Feb 8, 10; May)

Belcore a sergeant

Brent Ellis (Jan, Feb)

Alan Oke (May)

Dulcamara a quack doctor

William McCue

Giannetta a peasant girl

Una Buchanan

Performance DatesElisir d'amore 1984

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

18 Jan, 19.15 21 Jan, 14.15 24 Jan, 19.15 26 Jan, 19.15 28 Jan, 19.15 3 Feb, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

8 Feb, 19.15 10 Feb, 19.15

Empire Theatre, Liverpool | Liverpool

1 May, 19.15 3 May, 19.15

Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

18 May, 19.15

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