L’Elisir D’Amore (DVD)

The picture may be black and white, the setting may be extremely foreign, the performers trained in a different way, but the emotion and spirit of L’Elisir D’Amore is shown brilliantly by this Video Artists International release. Fully fifty years have passed since this performance and over one hundred seventy since Donizetti wrote L’Elisir D’Amore, and nothing has been shown to be dated or otherwise weak. While there may be minor issues with the video quality on this release (9 minutes of the film have been lost during the entrance of Dulcamara, while the original Japanese subtitles are still present), they do not decrease the enjoyment that individuals will have with this performance.

Regardless of the different scenery and visual facets of the performers here, there is still some part of me that privileges the audio over the visual; it is with this way of experiencing L’Elisir D’Amore that individuals can take a different context home, after already experiencing the opera the way it was intended. VAI has also ensured that fans all over the world will be able to experience this DVD; there is a lack of regional coding, while the subtitles that are present include English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese. I would live to see if there are other recorded performances from this time period and from this venue (the Tokyo Takarazuka Hall), to gain a little more sense of what was happening in this scene.

In much the same way, I would personally love to see if VAI could bring out some of the conductor (Alberto Erede’s) other work from this time; this period (1958 to 1962) saw eir as the musical director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Regardless of what comes in the future from VAI, the fact is that this performance of Donizetti’s classic L’Elisir D’Amore is one of the best that I have had the chance to view, either live or on video. If you fancy yourself a fan of opera, your next purchase should be this DVD.

Rating: 8.5/10

L’Elisir D’Amore (DVD) / 2009 VAI / 107 Minutes / http://www.vaimusic.com

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