Utah Opera’s Elixir of Love

The last evening performance of Utah Opera‘s Elixir of Love was last night and they are ending the production with a bang.  With a colorful set design and spring-like feel, the cast was clearly enjoying themselves throughout the performance of Donizetti’s famous opera.  The story follows a young man, Nemorino, who is in love with the beautiful Adina, who teases him for his affection.  Out of desperation, Nemorino is tricked into buying a love potion that is actually wine but suddenly his luck begins to change.  (Read the whole synopsis on Wikipedia here.)

I usually attend opening night and could tell that the jittery nerves typical of the first performance had long disappeared and the cast was singing their best.  Most notably, soprano Anya Matanovic gave an absolute knock-out performance as Adina from the first moment on stage to the last note she sang.  She carried the entire performance with her beautiful singing and was clearly the star.

Tenor Aaron Blake, a very familiar face to Utah Opera (he was formerly a Utah Opera Resident Artist), did better than I have ever seen him before in his portrayal of Nemorino.  He sang the famous aria Una Furtiva Lagrima so beautifully tender and full of emotion that it had me smiling in my seat.  Other members of the cast, especially bass Rod Nelman, were often hard to hear.

Aaron Blake, Rod Nelman and Anya Matanovic in Utah Opera’s The Elixir of Love. (Photo via SLTribune.)

The Elixir of Love is another example of how well Utah Opera does with the opera buffa/comedy genre, as I mentioned in my post on their previous opera Rigoletto.  The performers have perfected the art of subtle humor without taking away from the music.  The audience went from bursting with laughter to being awed by the budding love story between Adina and Nemorino.

The last chance to catch the Elixir of Love is Sunday at 2 pm.  Then the last opera of Utah Opera’s season is Of Mice and Men, starting on May 5.  After that we’ll have to wait until October for the 2013 season, which is full of great operas, including one of my favorites, the Magic Flute.

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